Airbus has raised its sales target for 2013 to 700 airliners after surpassing its target of 650 for last year with gross orders for 914 airplanes and a net order count of 833 after cancellations. But the European airframer has acknowledged that it is especially eager to get sales of its A380 widebody back on track after logging orders for only nine of the superjumbos in 2012.
The latest application for the DB-110 reconnaissance pod is on display at the UTC Aerospace Systems stand (1854). Ten examples of the dual-band, high-resolution system have been sold to the Royal Saudi Air Force and can be flown on the RSAF’s existing F-15S Strike Eagles, as well as its new, yet-to-be-delivered fleet of F-15SA jets. The DB-110 has already been sold to nine air forces operating F-16s. These include the Pakistan Air Force, whose commander showed imagery from the system during his presentation to the Air Chiefs’ Conference here Saturday.
Facing an uncertain budget environment in the coming months, the U.S. Air Force will nevertheless continue developing a new long-range strike bomber (LRS-B) capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear weapons. “Long term, we’re committed to the long-range strike bomber. We’re going to try to keep programs like that on track,” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said.
Korea has chosen the AgustaWestland AW159 over the Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk as its new maritime operational helicopter. The contract for eight aircraft is the first export order for the new-generation aircraft, which is entering service with the British Army and Royal Navy. The Korean Navy already operates about 20 Super Lynx helicopters, the predecessor to the naval version of the AW159.
General Dynamics and Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi signed a letter of intent to jointly offer a pilot training system built around Alenia Aermacchi’s M-346 advanced jet trainer for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X jet trainer replacement program. The partnership is the second industrial team to announce its pursuit of the T-X program after the team of BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman, which is offering the Hawk AJT (advanced jet trainer).
The U.S. Army selected five companies to compete for future small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) requirements under an indefinite-quantity, indefinite-delivery (IDIQ) contract valued at up to $248 million. Contracts were awarded to AeroVironment of Monrovia, Calif.; Elbit Systems of America in Fort Worth; Lockheed Martin in Owego, N.Y., and two small Gainesville, Fla., companies–Altavian and Innovative Automation Technologies.
The first AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter assembled in Russia flew last month, Helivert, a joint venture between AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters, announced Tuesday. The 37-minute maiden sortie took place on December 19 at Russian Helicopters’ “National Helicopter Building Center” in Tomilino, near Moscow.
The EASA has certified the Turbomeca Arriel 2E turboshaft; it will power the Eurocopter EC145T2, currently still undergoing certification flight-testing. The 950-shp (takeoff power) engine is scheduled to enter service by year-end. The Arriel 2E, an upgrade of the Arriel 1E2, benefits from a new axial compressor and new blade material. Time between overhaul is also improved, at 4,000 hours initially and a target 6,000 hours “at maturity.”
To help build sales momentum as it prepares to emerge from bankruptcy protection, Hawker Beechcraft is offering a free upgrade to the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics suite for customers who purchase a King Air 250 or 350i by February 28. The Fusion system features touchscreen primary and multifunction flight displays, as well as wireless updates of all flight-related databases and wireless downloading of maintenance information. According to Hawker Beechcraft, the upgrade also comes standard with synthetic vision and a graphical flight management system.
Airbus surpassed its delivery target in 2012 with a final tally of 588 aircraft for 89 customers (a rise of 10 percent over 2011). In press conference held at its Toulouse, France, headquarters on January 17, the European airframer also reported that it had exceeded its own orders target for last year by logging gross orders for 914 aircraft.