As India’s Ministry of Defense awaits a response from the Italian government on alleged irregularities in the award of a contract for 12 AgustaWestland AW101 VIP transport helicopters, the fallout from this affair may scupper the much larger reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter (RSH) program. The Eurocopter AS550C3 Fennec and Kamov Ka-226T are the final contenders for the 197-aircraft RSH program, which has already been delayed.
A senior U.S. Air Force commander has opened the door to joint coalition operations with the stealthy F-22 Raptor fighter. Speaking at the International Fighter Conference organized in London by IQPC, Maj. Gen. Larry Wells, commander of the Ninth Air Force, said “We need our partners to get involved with the F-22 in exercises.”
Russian Aircraft MiG (RAC MiG) demonstrated new MiGs being built at its aircraft manufacturing plant in Lukhovitsy near Moscow, when a group of Russian members of Parliament from the defense committee inspected the plant together with a group of journalists. The members of Parliament said they want to ensure that the MiG company continues to be one of the major suppliers to the Russian armed forces. They voiced concern that the proportion of MiGs in the Russian air force inventory has reduced over the past few years.
Bombardier Aerospace’s third-quarter revenues were flat at $2.3 billion year-over-year, but pre-tax profits at the Canadian aircraft manufacturer slipped by $6 million, to $123 million. Meanwhile, net deliveries of both regional airliners and business jets stood at 57 aircraft in the quarter, down from 68 a year ago. However, it added net orders for 83 aircraft and built a book-to-bill ratio of 1.5:1, compared with net orders for 34 aircraft during the same period last year.
Citing its intention to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as the standalone Beechcraft Corp., Hawker Beechcraft notified employees yesterday that it will begin the process of closing Hawker Beechcraft Services facilities in Little Rock, Ark.; Mesa, Ariz.; and San Antonio. The Wichita-based OEM also affirmed that approximately 240 employees will be affected at these locations.
Eurocopter announced today that Starlite Aviation is the launch customer for the new AS332C1e Super Puma medium-twin helicopter, a shorter-fuselage version that observers see as the manufacturer’s response to low-cost alternatives from Russia. The contract calls for two of the new helicopters to be delivered by the end of next year, following FAA and EASA certification. Starlite also has options for another two helicopters.
Offshore operator Bristow “entered into an agreement” yesterday to order 10 Sikorsky S-92 medium-twin helicopters and secured options for another 16. The move emerges as the operator is keeping 16 Eurocopter Super Pumas on the ground, following two controlled ditchings that affected the EC225 type in just six months. Both ditchings were caused by a failure of the main gearbox.
Bombardier has appointed Flying Colours of Peterborough, Ontario, and its subsidiary JetCorp Technical Services of St. Louis as authorized service facilities (ASF) for its Learjet and Challenger business jets. Flying Colours is known for its new green Challenger 850 completions as a Bombardier- authorized completion center.
Bombardier’s new CSeries CS100 will not fly until at least the end of next June, roughly six months later than the most recent target, according to the latest schedule published by the Canadian airframe maker. If all goes according to the latest plans, the smaller of the two-member narrowbody family will consequently enter service in the middle of 2014.
Lease Corporation International (LCI) has assigned several of the new-generation AgustaWestland helicopters that it ordered in February this year and expects initial deliveries to begin early next year. The company, which already has a diverse airliner leasing portofolio, is planning to place fresh orders with other rotorcraft manufacturers, according to CEO Mike Platt.