Having been dogged by cost overruns, Boeing's avionics modernization program (AMP) for the C-130 Hercules has passed its Defense Acquisition Board Milestone C, allowing low-rate initial production (LRIP) to begin. The AMP provides an integrated avionics system to prolong the useful career of the U.S. Air Force's legacy Hercules fleet, and includes full night-vision-goggle compatibility, glass cockpits and digital systems.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
Boeing's decision to re-engine the existing 737 will depend not only on the actions of arch-rival Airbus, but whether or not the Chicago-based airframe maker concludes that it could bring to market a good enough replacement airplane by 2020, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney told analysts and investors at last week’s Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York.
Boeing will move ahead with plans to increase the production rate on the 737 program from 31.5 to 34 airplanes a month in early 2012, the company announced this week. Boeing also said it continues to study the possibility of further rate increases, given strong customer demand for the single-aisle airliners.
The business aviation market appears to be recovering from the economic downturn, propelled by increased sales in Asia and Africa, according to Jahid Fazal-Karim, co-owner of Jetcraft Corporation, and former senior vice president of worldwide sales for Bombardier. However, signs of continued economic instability in parts of Europe could have “a serious effect” on the Western markets.
GE Aviation plans to create an Electrical Power Integrated Systems Research & Development Center near Dayton, Ohio, to research more-electric aircraft systems. The center, which will also explore other non-aviation uses of more-electric technology, is expected to open in 2012.
Boeing plans to decide by the end of this quarter whether or not to raise production rates for its 737 family, as the company anticipates further strengthening of the market for new narrowbody airliners.
United Airlines has finalized a firm order for 25 Boeing 787-8 jetliners, the Chicago-based carrier announced today. Valued at $4.2 billion at list prices, the deal includes so-called purchase rights for another 50 Dreamliners.
United said it plans to take delivery of the 787s at the same time it begins to retire its Boeing 747s and 767s, between 2016 and 2019.
GE Aviation’s engine business has historically focused on military and airline applications, according to Shawn O’Day, manager of business aviation market- ing for the company. However, there were spin-offs from those areas that were applicable to business aviation and recently the company has intensified its interest in business aircraft by creating the Business & General Aviation (BGA) division, in February 2008.
Last month showed further evidence of the “gradual” business jet recovery that has been under way for the past few months, including a shrinking pre-owned inventory and “some positive signals from the new market,” JPMorgan Global Equity Research said this week in its monthly business jet update.
Boeing announced this month that India had formally expressed interest in acquiring 10 C-17 military transports. The company said the Indian air force wanted to “replace and augment” its fleet of Russian-made Il-76 and An-32 airlifters. The news followed closely on a confirmation that the U.A.E. had signed for six C-17s, as expected. Four will be delivered in 2011 and two in 2012.