Thales signed a fixed-price availability contract with the French ministry of defense for support of the Rafale fighter. The company is the last of the three big Rafale contractors to agree to a long-term partnership deal for support. Dassault signed a 10-year agreement in 2008, and engine supplier Snecma followed with a five-year agreement in 2010.
Has the Eurofighter Typhoon really unseated Dassault’s Rafale as the UAE Air Force’s fighter-of-choice for a 60-plane order?
CFM International is ramping up the production of its CFM56 turbofan engines, driven by a record backlog and helped by new production methods. In 2010, the GE-Snecma joint venture signed 1,584 orders, and its current backlog now stands at a record 7,000-plus engines.
CFM International is busy developing the Boeing 737 MAX’s version of its Leap turbofan and is zeroing in on specifications. Critically, the Leap-1B will have a fan diameter somewhere between the current CFM56-7’s 61 inches and the Leap-1A’s (for the Airbus A320neo) 78 inches.
Boeing delivered the first 737NG powered by CFM56-7BE turbofans–a 737-800–to China Southern Airlines at Boeing Field in Seattle last week. The new engines, now standard on all new 737s, includes improvements to the high-pressure compressor, a new outlet-guide-vane diffuser, fewer high-pressure-turbine blades and an “optimized” low-pressure turbine.
ST Aerospace has become a TruEngine service provider and claims to be the first independent MRO shop to earn that distinction. It joins GE Aviation Services and Snecma, which have a 50-50 stake in CFM International. The TruEngine program, launched in 2008, was developed in response to a growing industry need to better understand the maintenance history of engines as they come up for resale.
Sagem, part of the Safran Group, is launching a new aviation services offering known as Cassiopée. This is a modular service, covering flight safety and risk management, maintenance performance, flight operations, airline organization and operating cost savings.
The Moroccan aerospace industry has made significant strides in recent years to position itself as a lower cost base than nearby Europe. But this could be undermined if mounting political unrest in the north African country boils over into violence.
Almost three full decades ago a battle was raging over the powerplant options for what was then the all-new Airbus A320. The competitors–CFM International and International Aero Engines (IAE)–were making claim and counter-claim as to the potential advantages their respective engines would bring to the aircraft, which had been developed to grab a slice of the huge single-aisle market until then dominated by the ubiquitous Boeing 737.
United Aircraft, builder of the Sukhoi Superjet SJ100, is considering a corporate transport version of the regional jet, which would serve the niche between large business aircraft such as Gulfstream’s G550 and the Boeing BBJ. The proposal stems from inquiries about the potential for a business jet variant of the aircraft, scarcely three months after its service entry.