EADS hopes to persuade France, Germany and Spain to launch development of its Advanced UAV, now named Talarion, a medium/high-altitude surveillance drone. But evidence of any progress by EADS in the Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) sector was entirely missing at this month’s Paris Air Show.
Thales, Europe’s third largest civil and defense aerospace group, makes its first appearance at Le Bourget since it acquired a new shareholder and executive board last month.
Battle lines were drawn here this week for round three of the Great Tanker War. Conflict is likely to break out next month, when the Pentagon is expected to issue a new draft request for proposals (RFP) for the KC-X program. Boeing said that it may now offer a tanker version of the 777.
The strategic importance of active array airborne radar technology in Europe cannot be understated, according to EADS Defence Electronics (Hall 2 Stand A151). The company has invested heavily in advanced transmit/receive (T/R) modules that have a variety of applications. The advantages of using T/R modules for airborne fire control, as well as airborne and ground-based surveillance are well recognized.
There is an upside to the decline in airliner orders, according to Airbus CEO Thomas Enders. “Airlines don’t like waiting seven years for delivery,” he explained at an EADS press conference in Paris on Saturday.
Defense ministers from the seven A400M partner nations are heading for Seville next week for a crucial meeting with the EADS and Airbus leadership. French Defense Minister Herve Morin urged the airframer to be “transparent and precise” about the extent of delays to the troubled European airlifter.
When EADS chief executive Louis Gallois briefed the world’s press just before the show he was taking to the podium against a backdrop of confusion over what caused the loss of an Air France Airbus A330 on June 1. “Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of AF447,” he began. “Even if the airshow is darkened by the accident, I think we have a great show ahead of us.
Six years ago, the team from Airbus Military promoting the A400M came to the Paris Air Show full of confidence and good intentions. Germany had just confirmed its order for 60, finally launching the program after years of negotiations. Italy and Portugal dropped out, leaving a total requirement of 180 aircraft for six European countries (seven, if you count Luxembourg taking one aircraft).
With larger airliners flying longer routes, accommodations that more truly live up to the to the term “first class” are in high demand, and EADS Sogerma (Hall 4 Stand E53) and Lufthansa Technik (Hall 4 Stand E54) plan to fill a niche in that market.
Market conditions have hardly been kind to aerospace these past six months or so, but when a company is celebrating its 250th birthday–as GKN is this year–it can probably afford to take the long view.