The organizers of this week’s ILA Berlin airshow claimed 1,200 exhibitors from 40 countries, and were expecting 200, 000 visitors, including public spectators on the last three days. The show had plenty to offer in the fields of civil aerospace, space and environmental solutions. However, defense exhibitors and attendees at ILA Berlin are mostly focused on German requirements. The problem is, the Germans are not buying anything.
Airbus Defence & Space (D&S), Alenia and Dassault Aviation have proposed a Project Definition (PD) study for a future European medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV to the governments of France, Germany and Italy. At the same time, however, Airbus D&S may be working with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) to develop what it describes as “bridging solution” for the German armed forces, using the Heron TP. Meanwhile, General Atomics–Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) is quietly confident that Germany may join the European “Reaper Club” that already comprises France, Italy and the UK as members.
Despite many program delays and customer criticisms, the pan-European NH-90 helicopter “is fit for purpose and doing real missions” according to Vincent Dubrule, president of the NH Industries joint venture among Airbus Helicopters, AgustaWestland and Fokker. He acknowledged that the NH-90 “had been a development program for too long, with a lot of variants. But now, nearly all the deliveries are in the final configuration.” The current focus was to refine in-service support, reduce the intervals between scheduled maintenance, and “solve the remaining maturity issues,” Dubrule added.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based consultancy firm MAZ Aviation and satellite airtime provider Satcom1 are joining forces to design a faster satcom system for the Airbus ACJ and Boeing BBJ. According to the partnership agreement, the system will be based on Ka- and Ku- band solutions and will offer greater bandwidth for airborne communications. Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband and its safety services features will be used for cockpit communications needs.
Odyssey Aerospace Components (Booth 3034), a VIP interiors manufacturer for OEMs Boeing, Bombardier, Airbus and Gulfstream, announced at EBACE 2014 that it received a contract to provide cabinetry and interiors for two 787 BBJs. The Denton, Texas-based company will provide monument engineering, systems integration, manufacturing and installation. Meanwhile Odyssey, a Greenpoint Company, is currently finalizing a VIP 747-8 BBJ completion.
Airbus Corporate Jet Centre has added new contracts in 2014 for its cabin and airframe services for Airbus Corporate Jet aircraft. Two Asian customers have appointed ACJC as their continuous airworthiness management organization (CAMO) for the outfitting phase of their ACJs, while an eastern European government operator of two ACJ319s has extended its VIP Pass contract for another year. The VIP Pass was introduced in 2009 as a total support package covering CAMO services, maintenance checks and component support.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based charter operator Alpha Star Aviation Services (Booth 3824) has equipped its entire fleet with electronic flight bags (EFBs). The six VIP aircraft include three Airbuses (ACJ318, ACJ319 and ACJ320), one Gulfstream G550, one Hawker 900XP and one ATR 42. The company intends to have its pilots using EFBs–iPads connected to a Rockwell Collins system–during the entire flight in the short term. “Our crews were trained by Lufthansa and FlightSafety,” CEO Salem Al Muzaini added.
Jet Aviation Basel is now cooperating with AJW Aviation to develop a component support and AOG service for Airbus and Boeing business aircraft operators on a global basis. The team is a natural marriage of two key players in their fields and will result in quicker and more reliable spares support to owners and operators. Jet Aviation brings to the table a global 24/7 network of AOG teams, and the Basel facility is an authorized service center for both Airbus ACJ and Boeing BBJ aircraft.
Pratt & Whitney’s launch on Tuesday of a 35,000-pound-thrust version of its Geared Turbofan extends the family’s power range by another 2,000 pounds, giving Airbus A321neo customers enough range and payload capability to effectively operate from such hot and high locations as Mexico City and Bogota. Dubbed the PW1135G-JM, the engine gets its extra thrust from leftover development margin extracted from the design of the family as a whole, thereby requiring no hardware or design changes, explained Pratt & Whitney vice president of engineering Tom Prete.
At face value, the recent acquisition of Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT) from Mubadala Development Co. by Etihad Airways is straightforward portfolio realignment between two state-owned entities in the United Arab Emirates.