It’s a stealthy, mass-produced warplane for 12 air arms in 10 countries, including Singapore. Can the F-35 Lightning II really fulfill its promise, at an affordable price? With crucial negotiations on production prices and quantities now under way, here’s how Lockheed Martin and partners are putting together the Joint Strike Fighter.
With no full-blown recovery in air transport demand predicted before 2005, regional airlines will be looking for low-cost fleet development solutions for the next couple of years, according to BAE Systems Regional Aircraft senior v-p of asset management Paul Stirling.
The crash of a UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Nimrod MR.2 surveillance aircraft in Afghanistan last year that killed all 14 onboard was likely caused by escaped fuel from a pressure-relief valve igniting against an improperly insulated hot bleed-air pipe in the starboard wing root. So says the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), which took the unusual step of releasing the entire report of the accident inquiry.
Negotiations continue between the UK and Saudi Arabian governments over the details of Project Salam, the agreement to supply 72 Eurofighter Typhoons to Saudi Arabia. Major decisions still have to be taken on the avionics and weapons configurations, and on the arrangements to produce and support the aircraft in Saudi Arabia. Final assembly of the first 24 aircraft, and training of the first Royal Saudi Air Force crews, will be done in the UK.
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft suggests there might be a large increase in the Persian Gulf-based fleet of British Aerospace 146/Avro RJ regional jets in the next six months. The current four airplanes operating in the area could have grown to as many as 15 by the second quarter of 2008, according to BAE Systems salesman Andy Whelan at an aviation-finance conference here last week.
Boeing’s acquisition of a controlling interest in Alsalam Aircraft Company of Saudi Arabia will be formally recognized on Tuesday, when senior managers from the two companies meet to reveal expansion plans. Alsalam grew out of an offset agreement with Boeing, but until last year the American company owned only 50 percent of the Riyadh-based MRO.
BAE Systems (Stand W412) has started building the airframe for the Taranis, a $254 million unmanned combat aerial vehicle demonstrator aimed at helping the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) determine its armed forces’ future equipment needs.
Jeffrey Lee has been named chairman of the NBAA board of directors. He previously served as vice chairman and treasurer, and he replaces Kenneth Emerick, who will continue to serve on the executive committee. Pat Cunningham will replace Lee.
A new alliance with the evolving Russian aerospace sector and efforts to break into the Middle East defense market are key to Italian industrial group Finmeccanica’s strategy for boosting its global presence in the industry. Finmeccanica (Stand C310) comes to Dubai fresh from having formed the new Superjet International joint venture between its Alenia Aeronautica subsidiary and Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co.
In separate efforts, Jet Aviation and Kollsman are the latest companies to explore possible anti-surface-to-air-missile (SAM) systems. Jet Aviation, a subsidiary of a Swiss-based company with U.S. headquarters in West Palm Beach, Fla., is reportedly in talks with possible system vendors Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.