An extremely positive outlook for the commercial aerospace industry is driving strong mergers and acquisitions activity, according to Michael Richter, managing director of the aerospace and defense group at financial advisor and asset manager Lazard.
Lockheed Martin CEO-in-waiting Christopher Kubasik says the company is committed to righting ongoing problems with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which has doubled in unit cost and slipped in schedule by six years until full-rate production, now slated for 2019. Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said the government is responsible for $672 million of the $1 billion-plus cost overrun from the program’s first four low-rate initial production (LRIP) contracts.
Eurocopter’s X3 compound helicopter prototype began its U.S. demonstration tour at the company’s Grand Prairie, Texas campus yesterday. The X3 first flew in 2010 and can reach speeds in excess of 230 knots. Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling said the company is “well positioned to bring this type of helicopter to market in the next 10 years.”
Fans of Lockheed Martin have a chance to win a ride on an historic Lockheed C-121C Super Constellation at the upcoming Farnborough International Airshow (July 9 to 15). Five lucky winners will have a seat on the airplane, when it makes a celebratory flight from the UK’s Farnborough Airport on the morning of July 10.
Kim Smith, representing the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST), said the group, “wants to reduce helicopter accidents 80 percent by 2016.” IHST released a sub-committee report last week, calling on the entire helicopter industry for help in achieving this goal. After analyzing 523 accidents that occurred in 2000, 2001 and 2006, IHST found that single-engine turbine helicopters accounted for half the accidents analyzed, while multi-engine turbines represented another 10 percent. The remainder were piston-powered rotorcraft.
Farnborough International Airshow organizers are promising that both the static and flying displays for the 2012 air show will be as full as ever. Behind the scenes the display roster is fully booked, but airframers have yet to give clearance for all the aircraft to be publicly confirmed.
Boeing has flown the Phantom Eye high-altitude long-endurance (Hale) unmanned aircraft system powered by liquid hydrogen (LH2). The 150-foot-wingspan, all-composite aircraft flew for 28 minutes from the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB in Southern California on June 1, reaching an altitude of slightly more than 4,000 feet. “This flight puts Boeing on a path to accomplish another aerospace first–four days of unrefueled, autonomous flight,” said Boeing Phantom Works president Darryl Davis.
A machinists strike at the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics plant in Fort Worth, Texas, which manufactures the F-16 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, has stretched into a seventh week, with no sign of an end. Demonstrations were also reported at the Naval Air Station in Patuxent River, Md., where union members are also employed, and at Lockheed Martin’s corporate headquarters in Bethesda, Md.
Bell Helicopter signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) this week to open an authorized flight training school in China. The Fort Worth, Texas-based helicopter manufacturer will partner with Guanchen Aviation, which already manages an established Civil Aviation Administration of China-approved flight training school in Anyang, China.