After four months of intense negotiation, a deal for the sale of Hawker Beechcraft to Superior Aviation Beijing collapsed October 18 with an announcement by HBC that the parties could not come to terms and it would proceed with the stand-alone plan of reorganization.
Flight-testing of the Lockheed Martin F-35 is ahead of the 2012 plan, and software development is making up lost ground, now standing at two months behind schedule. Steve O’Bryan, Lockheed Martin’s v-p for F-35 program integration and business development, told a meeting in London sponsored by The Air League that the F-35B STOVL version that the UK will buy is 40 percent ahead on flights and test points. Of the nine million lines of software code in the aircraft, 87 percent is now in flight test, with another 6 percent in laboratory tests.
Iraq has agreed to acquire 28 Aero Vodochody L-159 advanced trainer/light attack aircraft from the Czech Republic, the two countries announced on October 15.
Honeywell has been asked to quote for the supply of 270 F125IN turbofan engines to replace the twin Rolls-Royce Adour Mk 821s on India’s 125-strong fleet of Jaguar strike aircraft. The F125IN is 600 pounds lighter than the Adour and is expected to enable 25-percent-shorter hot-and-high takeoffs. India’s Jaguars have become overweight and underpowered as a result of avionics and systems upgrades.
The Russian defense ministry has decided to modernize the air force’s surviving MiG-25 spyplanes for service until 2020. The venerable aircraft will receive a modern navigation suite based on Glonass receivers and laser gyroscopes; digital photo and video cameras; and a new “radio-technical reconnaissance complex.” The latter will include a new side-looking radar for surface surveillance and various communications and electronic intelligence-gathering systems.
The $1.79 billion deal for Superior Aviation Beijing to acquire bankrupt Hawker Beechcraft has been scrapped, the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer announced this morning. As a result, Hawker Beechcraft now plans to emerge from bankruptcy protection in the spring as a standalone company focusing on its turboprop, piston, special-mission and trainer/attack aircraft, as well as parts, maintenance, repairs and refurbishment businesses. The company’s Hawker business jet lines will likely be sold–in whole or individually–or shut down, it added.
Eurocopter plans to design a fly-by-wire (FBW) control system for light helicopters, according to a job offer the company published yesterday. The manufacturer is looking for an engineer who would initially be tasked with writing specifications for the FBW system, which seems to indicate the entry into service of such a rotorcraft would take place after that of the still-under-wraps X4. A Dauphin medium-twin replacement, the fly-by-wire X4 is planned to enter into service in 2020.
GE Honda Aero Engines completed water-ingestion testing last week on the HF120 engine that powers Honda Aircraft’s HondaJet. The tests were done in one of GE’s Peebles, Ohio test cells.
“2012 has been an extremely productive year,” said GE Honda Aero president Terry Sharp. The HF120 passed the ice slab test in August 2011 after failing it in February 2011, due to fan blade tip deformation causing a reduction in required thrust, according to executive v-p Masahiko Izumi. “We decided to make a small design change” to the fan blade tips, he said.
The FAA granted type certification last Friday for the Sikorsky S-76D medium-twin helicopter, a protracted program that was launched in 2006. Deliveries, which were originally slated to start in late 2010, are now planned to begin later this quarter, as the backlog is “approaching half a billion dollars.”
According to Sikorsky Global Helicopters vice president Ed Beyer, “The S-76D will offer a higher cruise speed than its predecessors, coupled with more efficient fuel burn, making the S-76 more productive than ever.” Deliveries of the original S-76 began in 1979.
The proposed 60-40 merger of EADS and BAE Systems was called off after management in both companies miscalculated the reaction of governments and shareholders. Paris and Berlin proved unwilling to give up their stakes in EADS, or reduce them to a degree that was acceptable to the two merging companies, to London, and (perhaps) to Washington.