Embraer Executive Jets broke ground today on an expansion project at its Melbourne (Fla.) International Airport campus that will allow Legacy 450/500 assembly to begin there in the second half of 2016. The company plans to deliver at least one Legacy 500 from the facility in 2016 and has a planned production capacity of six per month. The aircraft manufacturer has assembled and delivered nearly 80 Phenom 100s and 300s from the Florida facility since 2012.
Dassault has redelivered to the French Navy the first of ten 10 Rafale M aircraft , that are being upgraded from F1 to F3 standard. The work included replacement of the fighter’s central mission computer;, new cockpit screens;, wiring and weapons store changes. The Spectra electronic warfare system was also upgraded, and provision to change the RBE2 radar to the latest AESA version was made.
CFM International on October 9 achieved the first flight of its new Leap engine when an example of the new turbofan took off on a modified Boeing 747 flying testbed from GE Aviation’s flight-test operations center in Victorville, Calif. The new series of turbofans is set to power the Airbus A320neo, the Boeing 737 Max and China’s Comac C919 new-generation narrowbodies.
Sagem has revealed more details of its Patroller UAV, as the French army prepares to issue a request for proposal for the Système de Drone Tactique (SDT), for which it is a contender. The program is expected to be worth €200 to €250 million (up to $310 million), for the acquisition of 8-10 systems, with three UAVs per system. The other contenders are likely to be the Thales Watchkeeper, and a version of the Textron Shadow M2 that Airbus Defence & Space will propose.
Lufthansa Technik is set to offer maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for the new Airbus A350. The aircraft received EASA certification on September 30. The spectrum of services covers the entire life cycle of the A350 and includes production inspections, material supply, maintenance and maintenance management as well as engineering services, entry-into-service support and LRU and engine maintenance.
Russian Helicopters has announced major investments in its factories. Kazan Helicopters has inaugurated a $13 million painting and finishing workshop. In Perm, Reductor-PM has started building a new gearbox and transmission assembly and testing facility. Russian Helicopters, which held a 796-aircraft backlog as of June 30, invested $220 million in production capacity last year.
AgustaWestland is preparing to make a big splash in the executive helicopter market when deliveries of its new AW169 medium twin begin next year. The company already claims a 65-percent world market share in recent years for twins with VIP and executive interiors and it is counting on the new helicopter to add to it.
Ostend, Belgium-based helicopter operator NHV is to take over Norway’s Blueway, the two firms announced in late August. The new company, which has not yet indicated whether it will adopt a new name–has set its sights on establishing itself as a major player in the offshore oil-and-gas market.
The maintenance and logistics behind keeping big helicopters such as the tandem-rotor Columbia Helicopters 234 and the Erickson Aviation S-64 Air Crane flying can seem downright daunting.
AgustaWestland could fly a larger “next-generation civil tiltrotor” (NGCTR) by 2020. Propelled by internal company studies and research that began in 2000, the larger tiltrotor project is now being pushed to the next level with $328 million in new funding from the Industry/European Union’s CleanSky2 initiative.