BAE Systems is migrating “active inceptor” control technology from military aircraft to civil applications–enabling direct pilot inputs into the flight controls of commercial fly-by-wire (FBW) aircraft. The UK-based company is developing its civil active control stick (ACS) for an unnamed commercial launch customer.
Representatives from the Australian state of Victoria, which will host the Avalon Airshow in Melbourne next year (February 26 to March 3), are busy here at the Farnborough International Airshow trying to find new connections for companies “Down Under.” In particular, they are also trying to persuade UK firms that they could benefit from opening branches in Australia, despite the distance, current high cost of living and adverse effect of the exchange rate on exports.
Visitors to the BAE Systems pavilion here at Farnborough are being greeted by a model of a UCAV (unmanned combat air vehicle) representing a notional shape that could one day be a joint Anglo-French design. The UCAV model reflects the UK group’s refocusing of its show presence on “air” products, and the hugely important part unmanned systems are expected to play in the company’s future.
The 2012 Farnborough International airshow will fly in the face of still-tough business conditions, according to organizers of the biennial event, to be staged in the UK from July 9 to 15. “The last two years have seen a very difficult economic environment, but 2012 is looking like it will be a really great show,” said Farnborough International chief executive Shaun Ormrod.
BAE Systems announced this week that its Mantis Male (medium-altitude, long-endurance) unmanned technology demonstrator is to fly again, starting next year. The UAV first flew on Oct. 21, 2009, and undertook a short and successful flight trials campaign from the remote Woomera base in South Australia. The vehicle returned to BAE Systems Warton and has been laid up since.
Jeffrey Pino, president of Sikorsky Aircraft, announced his retirement effective July 1. He will be succeeded by Mick Maurer, president of Sikorsky’s military systems unit.
Maintenance program provider Jet Support Services (JSSI) has named two new co-presidents. Susan Marr was promoted from executive v-p, while Neil Book, formerly v-p of mobility at Juniper Networks, has joined the Chicago-based company.
A new contract worth $2.5 billion has been signed under the Saudi-British Defence Co-operation Program (SBDCP) to upgrade the pilot training syllabus of the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF). Prime contractor BAE Systems will supply 22 Hawk AJTs (advanced jet trainers), along with 55 Pilatus PC-21 turboprops, and a variety of ground-based training devices.
Germany-based Flight Ambulance International (FAI, Stand 749) has ordered six Spectrum Aeromed 2800 series stretchers for its newly acquired Bombardier CRJ200. One of the stretchers will be fitted with “advanced life support systems.” To its fleet of “special-purpose” aircraft, FAI plans to add two BAE Systems Avro jets, also able to carry six stretchers or more each, by year-end.
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft plans to extend its contract engineering work this year, raising the proportion of such revenues coming from third parties outside the BAE group to 92 percent. “The proportion has grown from 35 percent in 2010,” according to managing director Alan Fraser. “We have reshaped our engineering business and geared it for growth. [Our] skills, expertise and aircraft-design capability are [generating] a steady flow of new business.”
BAE Systems is competing against Lockheed Martin to be the prime contractor for Korea’s forthcoming upgrade of some 130 F-16s. Attention has focused largely on the competition between Northrop Grumman and Raytheon to supply the AESA radar. But the Korean request for proposals also invited non-OEMs to bid as system integrator. Taiwan and the U.S. are also planning a similar upgrade to some 140 and 300 aircraft, respectively. Other F-16 operators may follow, making this a multibillion-dollar market.