The Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) announced last week that it appointed Bruno Esposito as its new director of civil air transport. Esposito’s 30 years in aviation include pilot and air traffic control experience, followed by senior industry positions with Finmeccanica and BAE Consulting Services. He begins his new role at SBAC in September.
BAE Systems unveils the Mantis UAV at its outdoor exhibition site today. The Mantis, shown in full-scale model form, is armed with GBU-12 laser-guided bombs and Brimstone missiles on its six weapon pylons. The twin-prop, T-tailed vehicle is equipped with a multi-sensor turret and radar under the fuselage, and a satcom antenna in the upper nose section. It employs a triplex flight control system.
In a continuing expansion of its presence in aerospace, UK firm ENL (Hall 4 Stand E14) has opened an injection molding center in Slovakia with the support of BAE Systems. The company supplies precision injection molded and machined components to Airbus, Thales, BAE Systems and Raytheon, and soon plans to begin manufacturing composite parts.
Since April 1 a new service managed by QinetiQ has met the UK’s aerial target requirements. Known as the combined aerial target service, or CATS, the new arrangement streamlines the provision of target facilities to UK forces, providing cost savings and greater flexibility.
Under an agreement reached in late January, BAE Systems will not have to build the 12 Avro RJX quad-jets ordered by Exeter, UK-based British European. BAE Systems canceled the ill-fated Avro RJX program on November 27 due to weak market demand and strong pricing pressures. But the company faced the prospect of fulfilling its obligation to build the dozen airplanes over a five-year period if British European insisted.
This year–as in years past– Farnborough attendees can expect a frustrating trip to the show, with gridlock between the venue and the M3 a near certainty. For attendees who want to avoid spending hours in the car, PremiAir is offering flights from the London Heliport in Battersea to the show site. The 20-minute flight in an executive-configured Eurocopter AS 355 sells for about $1,500 (£775).
The new Farnborough International Venue and Events (FIVE) facility has been open for events since late 2007. This week it houses the BAE Systems Pavilion (Outdoor Exhibit 11, near the west end of chalet rows A-D and behind row K). Farnborough International created the venue in an effort to use the show site for business and social events outside the air show calendar.
As the British subsidiary of a leading American defense contractor majoring in sensitive communications and intelligence technologies, General Dynamics UK (Chalet A34) treads an interesting but complex path. On the one hand, the company is a portal for the import and adaptation of U.S. systems that help the British armed forces achieve connectivity and interoperability.
Tomorrow evening, the UK’s Oxford Airport (Hall 4 Stand G22) will open its $5 million business aviation terminal as its new owners push ahead with ambitious expansion plans. It already has attracted its first tenants: aircraft operator and maintenance provider PremiAir and air taxi operator VLJ Consultancy.
Underscoring the universal appeal of the Farnborough International 2008 airshow, the organizers have again dedicated space for specialty sectors or disciplines, with areas reserved for business aircraft manufacturers and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It also is featuring International Youth Day on Friday, as the show week ends (see box).