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July 12, 2014, 6:00 AM
Israeli-built Heron 1 UAVs have been operated for the German air force over Afghanistan via a lease-operate-maintain contract.

The Heron 1 UAVs that have been providing imagery for the German air force (GAF) over Afghanistan have now clocked more than 18,500 hours in four years. The lease-operate-maintain contract has already been extended twice, and will likely be extended for a further six months, as the German ponders its long-term UAS policy.

July 12, 2014, 4:28 AM

When taking helm of a company that already owns a substantial portion of the regional aircraft market, one might be tempted to wonder if there’s anything more to be done.

July 11, 2014, 2:00 PM
Boeing and Air Lease Corporation in late May celebrated the direct delivery of the first of 15 777-300ERs from ALC’s existing order pipeline with the manufacturer. Boeing expected to deliver the second 777-300ER for ALC to British Airways this month.

Boeing sees little chance that it will have to cut production of the 777 during the transition to the 777X, notwithstanding recent conjecture from analysts that a so-called sales “drought” since the launch of the program during last year’s Dubai Air Show could portend a period of market weakness–and a possibility that it won’t find enough orders to maintain its 8.3-per-month rate into 2020.

July 11, 2014, 9:00 AM

Just as in the U.S. there is considerable interest in Europe in developing a solution to the sense-and-avoid problem for unmanned aircraft. A number of different programs are running concurrently under different national, international and industrial consortia, and while several have clocked up significant hours of flight test in surrogate or testbed aircraft, none have as yet flown on board an unmanned platform.

July 11, 2014, 8:00 AM
Flare dispenser trials culminated in this spectacular full flare jettison test of the Airbus A400M.

Airbus Defence and Space Military Aircraft is scheduled to deliver the first of 22 A400M airlifters to the Royal Air Force in September. The delivery of aircraft MSN15 not only will mark the start of operations by a third country, but also represents the introduction of new capabilities as an important step along the type’s development roadmap. To get those capabilities into service has necessitated an intensive flight-trial campaign in the first part of this year.

July 11, 2014, 7:30 AM

Lessons learned from early missteps associated with the Boeing Dreamliner’s production system have helped cut unit costs on the 787-8 by some 15 percent over the past year and generate a 10-percent flow reduction since December, according to Boeing 787 vice president and deputy general manager Kim Pastega. Now building eight airplanes a month at is main plant in Everett, Washington, and two at its new factory in Charleston, South Carolina, Boeing has also seen a unit cost improvement of 30 percent in the recently certified 787-9 over the first six airplanes built.

July 11, 2014, 7:25 AM

Foreign companies can now own 49 percent of Indian defense companies, following a change announced as part of the country’s budget statement on July 10. The budget was presented by Finance and Defense Minister Arun Jaitley, a member of the newly elected government. It includes an allocation of $38.17 billion for defense, a gain of 12.44 percent. Some $15.76 billion of this (up from $13.15 billion last year) is capital expenditure, used primarily for procurement.

July 11, 2014, 7:21 AM

Analysts expect established trends in predicted long-term jetliner requirements to continue, with little change to the market breakdown by aircraft size, according to the latest Boeing 20-year forecast statistics, unveiled in London on July 10.

July 11, 2014, 7:15 AM
The CH-53K “King Stallion,” one of the first all-digitally designed helicopters, was assembled inside a 3-D virtual reality lab at Sikorsky’s headquarters before any metal was cut or composites were laid out.

Powered ground tests of the Sikorsky CH-53K, the U.S. Marine Corps’ future heavy-lift helicopter, are now well under way at the company’s West Palm Beach, Florida facility in the run-up to first flight later this year. The first ground-test vehicle (GTV1) started systems testing in late April, about a week before the first flying article was rolled out on May 5. Operational service of the mostly composite helicopter, which has been dubbed the “King Stallion,” is expected in 2019.

July 11, 2014, 7:13 AM

Sikorsky Aircraft powered on its S-97 Raider prototype on May 28 at the company’s development flight center in West Palm Beach, Florida, marking the successful installation of the avionics system and a major step toward completing the assembly of the new light tactical rotorcraft. A contender for the U.S.

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