Airbus Military believes that teething problems with its multi-role tanker/transport (MRTT) business are now behind it, and that it’s set to grow over the coming year. With the A330 MRTT the company has the only new-generation tanker/transport flying, and hopes to secure new customers while continuing to deliver aircraft to its existing four operators, who will have received 17 aircraft by the end of 2013.
Zodiac Aerospace (Hall 2a Stand A254) is here exhibiting its Isis cabin for single-aisle airliners, with new seats, sidewalls and luggage bins that accommodate a claimed 60 percent more bags. Although cabin equipment accounts for two thirds of its $4.4 billion revenues, the France-based company is also active in a number of aircraft systems. It has consistently taken over smaller businesses and may be considering a new, undisclosed target acquisition in the industry, CEO Olivier Zarrouati hinted early this month.
The events in Sabah, Malaysia, this past March, when local forces conducted Operation Daulat used combat jets to quell the resistance of the Filipino gunmen on the island of Borneo, may have prompted a spate of arms sales to that country and her closest neighbors. The armed forces do have a big wish list for weapons, but procurement processes for the most expensive and longest-lead items are likely to be launched properly only after the general elections in Malaysia later this year.
This year is a crucial one for the modernization of Europe’s complex air traffic management (ATM) system, as it transitions from years of definition and development to initial deployment of Single European Sky (SES) systems designed to improve efficiency, save fuel and cut costs.
Russia won export orders for weapons exceeding $15 billion and delivered weapons worth $14 billion in 2012, compared with $13.2 billion of weapons in 2011. “Surely, Russia will continue cooperation with her traditional partners in the sphere of military-technical cooperation,” Russian president Vladimir Putin told a meeting of the government’s committee for military-technical cooperation with foreign countries in December. “But it is of not less importance to us to enter new markets, expand the nomenclature of deliveries and services.”
Although German UAV specialists Rheinmetall Airborne Systems (RAS) is now 51-percent owned by EADS, the Bremen-based outfit is retaining its own identity and continues to build upon expertise gained in operating two UAV systems for the German armed forces. It has developed a lightweight, low-cost tactical UAV and is proposing an innovative larger design that is hybrid in both airframe and power.
Speaking prior to the Paris Air Show, Antoine Bouvier, CEO of European missile house MBDA, said, “2012 was an excellent year in terms of performance but it was a year of contrast for order intake. It was our best ever year for export, but the domestic market fell short, especially in France.” Leading those good export figures was a sizeable sale of MICA air-to-air missiles to India to support a Mirage 2000 upgrade program.
Despite some vacillation by ATR and Bombardier, who are still studying the form their respective 90-seat regional airliners might take, development of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s new turboprop engine continues on a “critical path” to an expected launch next year, according to Richard Dussault, company vice president of marketing.
Daniele Romiti, AgustaWestland’s new CEO, says the company needs to adopt a new mindset if it is to improve its capabilities. He summarized the call to action in a motto: “Think Customer,” which he said is embedded in the Anglo-Italian OEM’s “StepChange” program.
General Electric is ranked as one of the world’s leading aero engine manufacturers, with a $20 billion business powering airliners, fighters and many other types of aircraft around the world, plus servicing and systems provision. Currently just $400 million of that annual business comes from the Business and General Aircraft (BGA) division, but the company has plans to dramatically expand in that sector, and in so doing is taking on the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 family that currently dominates the marketplace.