India’s Kingfisher Airlines exercised options on another 15 ATR 72-500s yesterday during French President Jacques Chirac’s official visit to the subcontinent. The estimated $270 million deal included options on another 20 airplanes and increased to 35 the number of ATR 72s on which Kingfisher has placed firm orders.
Singapore Air Show » February 21, 2006
Much in evidence here at the Asian Aerospace show this week are the four competitors for the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s basic/primary trainer competition: the Aermacchi M-311, Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, Pilatus PC-21 and the Raytheon T-6B. The presence of these aircraft in Singapore coincides with the latest evaluation by the RSAF following earlier flights at the manufacturers’ test sites.
Airbus has established a new venture in Dubai to oversee its commercial activities in countries covered by the Gulf Co-operation Council countries plus Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria and Yemen, as well as Gaza and the West Bank.
Continuing to reduce its reliance on oil exports through diversification, Dubai is backing a $15 billion plan to establish an aviation manufacturing and services industry to add to its portfolio. Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) will oversee six subsidiary companies that in turn are expected to address 14 related industry segments.
Dassault is working on a significant performance improvement for its Falcon 7X business jet, currently in flight tests. On the eve of the Asian Aerospace show, the French-based manufacturer told Aviation International News how the new range target– 6,000 nm instead of 5,700 nm miles–could be reached. Dassault engineers have designed winglets, a modified vertical tailplane and an additional fuel tank.
The world’s aerospace industry is now having to decide whether to follow the Asian Aerospace show brand up to Hong Kong or whether to stay loyal to Singapore and support the new Changi International Air Show.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is showing its top-of-the-line F-16D Block 52+ fighter for the first time at Asian Aerospace, in the static park. This two-seat aircraft is optimized for long-range and low-level strike missions, and with its various lumps and bumps, must be the ugliest F-16 version of all time. In fact, the aircraft is externally identical to the F-16I Sufa (Storm) version now operated by the Israeli Air Force.
Exactly 300 days into a 2,500-hour flight-test program, the Airbus A380 very-large airliner (VLA) is here at Asian Aerospace 2006 as the European manufacturer celebrates the maiden flight of a fourth example (S/N007). The latest aircraft flew two days ago.
The concern of some watchers is just what the end game is for China’s more than 15-year drive to modernize its defense industrial base. Part of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) goal is to keep generating revenue with the type of foreign arms sales that made so much money for it in the 1980s.
For the better part of the last 20 years an increasing number of defense policy makers and military analysts assumed that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was gradually replacing the Soviet Union (and later Russia) as the single largest potential adversary that the U.S. and other Western aligned nations would have to face in the 21st century.