BAE already derives 34 percent of its revenues from North America, where 27,000 employees produce an annual turnover of $5.6 billion. Of equal significance, the return on sales is 8.4 percent–the highest figure in all of BAE. The group’s CEO, Mike Turner, is fond of reminding UK and European government officials that the conditions for technology investment are so much more favorable to BAE on the other side of the Atlantic.
The Rochester, UK facility of BAE Systems has developed the world’s first control stick that tells a pilot, through feel, that the airplane is exceeding the design envelope. The stick provides discernably greater resistance when the pilot moves it beyond the limits by the aircraft’s flight control software.
BAE Systems Platform Solutions claims leadership in developing a multispectral enhanced vision system that allows pilots to land in zero-zero visibility. A unique, integrated processing architecture interfaces with multiple sensors to tile, stitch and fuse the information into a coherent, intuitive picture on a head-up or head-down display in the cockpit, or even on a pilot’s helmet-mounted display.
BAE Systems has all but abandoned Europe. The British defense conglomerate is putting its money into North America, where the budgets are large and the risks are low. But the U.S. government has imposed major bureaucratic controls on all foreign entities that seek to share defense technology. So can BAE ever become a truly integrated transatlantic company?
A recent slew of new announcements from BAE Systems Regional Aircraft has reminded the industry that the BAE146/ Avro RJ jetliner family has not gone away. New lease packages to regional airlines, the possibility of a new production line and some innovative conversion packages all suggest that the four-engine jets still have some life left in them.
The April 27 first flight of the Airbus A380 was undoubtedly a triumph for Europe’s aerospace industry. But it was also an occasion to celebrate for many companies on the other side of the Atlantic. According to EADS, which owns 80 percent of Airbus, more than 300 U.S. suppliers in 42 American states produce nearly 50 percent of the A380.
Deliveries of six Hawk Mk 129s to the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) by BAE Systems beginning in the middle of next year will highlight the company’s continuing efforts to promote its advanced jet trainer in the highly competitive Middle East market. On August 26, the first of six aircraft destined for Bahrain made its first flight at BAE’s Warton facility in the UK.
BAE Systems has begun trials of its Jeteye laser-based system for protecting commercial airliners from man-portable missile attack. These are due to be completed by the end of January, when a U.S. supplementary type certificate is due to be issued.
Riyadh-based Alsalam Aircraft Co. is emerging as a key player in efforts to upgrade Saudi Arabia’s fleet of 84 Panavia Tornado interdiction strike aircraft.
Following its introduction into service with the four Eurofighter partner air forces–Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom–in spring 2004, the service Typhoon fleet has passed 5,000 hours of flight. By the end of October the manufacturers’ development aircraft had also racked up more than 4,000 hours, so that the combined fleet is rapidly approaching the 10,000 mark.
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