Denmark’s Terma is showing off, for the first time here at the show, the multi-mission pod (MMP) it has developed for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The MMP began life as the gun pod for the F-35, which Terma designed and developed on behalf of General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, but the company has developed it into a more versatile pod that should prove attractive, in particular, to overseas operators of the JSF.
The problems with the A400M’s TP400-D6 turboprop engine that caused the airlifter to be scratched from this week’s Farnborough International flight demonstrations will slow civil certification and first delivery of the aircraft, but are not expected to delay its entry into service with the French air force next year. Production aircraft do not have the same issues.
CIT Aerospace, which provides finance for commercial- and corporate-aircraft operators, manufacturers, and suppliers, yesterday signed a firm purchase agreement covering
10 Airbus A330-200s and -300s nominally valued at $2.31 billion and scheduled to enter service from 2014. The deal includes five unannounced orders placed earlier this year in conjunction with conversion of a purchase option and cancellation of four A320-series aircraft.
Strong positions on new programs have resulted in GE Aviation Systems finding itself busy across five continents. For instance, in its U.S. home, the systems and components group is ramping up for increased rates of production for its extensive contributions to Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner.
Pratt & Whitney will offer its PW4170 Advantage70 engine for Airbus’s revamped, 240-ton max takeoff weight A330. “The Advantage70 is the benchmark on the A330 aircraft program in terms of fuel burn, operating costs, reliability and time-on-wing,” said Lou Quattrocchi, the U.S. engine maker’s vice president of commercial programs.
Reactions have been heavily mixed in the wake of Monday night’s announcement that Superior Aviation of Beijing, China, has agreed to acquire financially troubled Hawker Beechcraft, minus its Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company (HBDC) division, for $1.79 billion. The majority of business aviation analysts contacted by AIN believe the Chinese firm is overpaying for the Wichita, Kansas-based aircraft manufacturer, which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Lukewarm market reception and performance deficiencies that continue to fall short of the new 747-8’s original design specifications might have elicited a fair share of skepticism from various industry quarters, but they haven’t deterred Boeing from declaring that “prospects look quite good” for the stretched, re-engined and re-winged jumbo jet, now in passenger operation with Lufthansa Airlines and five cargo customers.
A new $11.5 million, 45,000-sq-ft. aircraft paint shop has entered service at Duncan Aviation’s Lincoln, Neb., facility. It can support aircraft as large as the Gulfstream G650, Bombardier Global Express, Dassault Falcon 7X and Embraer Legacy. The new facility follows on the heels of last year’s implementation of a chrome-free paint process.
Boeing has expressed in no uncertain terms to AIN the pain of having to honor offsets in India and the challenge of managing a constantly shifting policy landscape. The growing Indian defense budget ($44 billion by 2016) may be attractive but it would seem that the trials and tribulations being faced by initial winners such as Boeing could be a significant downside for the foreseeable future.
The trend over the last few years in which customers have placed extremely large orders for airliners has raised questions about the underlying reasons and its potential effect on OEMs that continue to raise production rates in response. The practice seems most prevalent among customers for narrowbodies, prompting both Boeing and Airbus to project rate increases to well beyond 40 in the coming years and raising concerns within some circles of a so-called bubble in the sector.