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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.

July 11, 2014, 7:05 AM

Airbus DS is at an advanced stage of selling A330 MRTTs to three more countries. Qatar has selected to buy two pod/boom-equipped aircraft, while India has selected the A330 with Rolls-Royce engines and a pod/FRU tanking configuration. Airbus has finalized negotiations, including offset packages, and has pre-signed the contract. A signature is hoped for before the end of the year.

July 11, 2014, 7:00 AM
The RAF’s Voyager fleet has been cleared for protected air transport operations with the defensive aids suite, allowing the aircraft to operate into theater. Voyager operations to Afghanistan began just before Christmas 2013.

Airbus Defence and Space Military Aircraft (Outdoor Exhibit 13) has announced that it will begin deliveries of an improved version of the A330 multi-role tanker transport in late 2017. The initial A330 MRTT Enhanced aircraft will be the first of six that were ordered by Singapore earlier this year. Subsequent production aircraft will all be of the new version.

July 11, 2014, 6:50 AM
The AeroVironment Puma air vehicle is hand launched, weighs 13 pounds (5.9 kg) and has a wingspan of 9.2 feet (2.8 meters). The aircraft’s military acceptance cleared the way for limited approval for commercial ops in the Arctic.

By the end of this year, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration expects to release a long-delayed draft rule that will begin to establish the conditions under which individuals and companies can fly small, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for commercial purposes. But concerns over potential privacy infringements could postpone the release of a final “small UAS” regulation until well into 2016. Routine flights by larger UAS will follow when standards become available to properly equip them for collision avoidance and command and control from the ground.

July 11, 2014, 6:40 AM
The AV Sparrow from Torquing Group.

Consumer electronics manufacturers, former toy and hobby suppliers, research university spinoffs and major aerospace companies are among the entities vying for a share of the simmering commercial market for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) generally weighing less than 20 pounds. They are advancing numerous fixed- and rotary-wing designs, some of which were displayed at the Unmanned Systems 2014 conference in May and others elsewhere. Following is a description of some, although by no means all, of the recent showings:

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