UK Prime Minister David Cameron made an unexpected stop here at the Dubai Airshow on his way home from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka. Speaking to assembled UK aerospace industrialists, he encouraged them to compete in what he termed the “global race.” Cameron did not refer specifically to the possibility of selling Eurofighter Typhoons to the UAE, but did say that he was “incredibly proud to stand up and promote the aircraft around the world.” He later stated his hop that the UK could be entering into a partnership here in the UAE on more general aerospace matters.
Selex ES revealed its development of an expendable active-radar decoy (EAD) for combat aircraft. The BriteCloud is the size and shape of a flare and can be dispensed from a standard 55-mm flare cartridge. Flight-tests will take place next year on a Saab Gripen, and customers for the Swedish fighter will be the first to be offered the new electronic warfare device.
Dassault Aviation launched its long-awaited, all-new Falcon 5X at last month’s NBAA show in Las Vegas. The long-range, advanced technology model should provoke strong interest among the growing Middle Eastern jet set.
Eight senior air force commanders from the U.S., Europe and the Middle East have agreed to speak at the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference (DIAC), which immediately precedes the Dubai Air Show on November 16. They include the British and French air force commanders, and the commander of the USAF’s Central Command. Their decision to attend the conference and show may reflect a desire to reassure allies in the Gulf of their support, after recent disagreements over policy toward Egypt and Syria.
There were two major developments in the business turboprop sector this year and neither involved new aircraft. However, they did show where potentially the next growth area is for the turboprop market: downstream. Turboprops historically have been a useful vehicle for introducing new customers into the corporate aircraft market, provided operators can maintain price discipline. If not, bad things can happen. Case in point: after several years of public struggle, Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair ceased operations in June.
ACEA (Beijing) Aviation Investment, the Piaggio Avanti distributor in Mainland China, signed a contract yesterday at NBAA 2013 with SR Jet, a division of Beijing-based Sparkle Roll Investment Holdings, for the purchase of two extended-range Avanti IIs with options for eight more. The aircraft will incorporate an additional tank with a 400-pound capacity, increasing the maximum fuel on board to 3,226 pounds from 2,826 and extending the maximum range by 250 nm, to 1,720 nm with IFR reserves.
Piaggio Aero Industries, Italian manufacturer of the P.180 Avanti II twin turboprop, and ACEA (Beijing) Aviation Investment Co., exclusive distributor for the aircraft in Mainland China, signed a contract here at NBAA 2013 yesterday with SR Jet, a division of Beijing-based Sparkle Roll Investment Holdings, for the purchase of two Avanti IIs with options for an additional eight.
Late last week, Romanian defense minister Mircea Dusa signed the contract for a €600 million ($817 million) deal to acquire 12 Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM fighters from Portugal. An initial installment was paid at the same time. The acquisition of F-16s will finally allow Romania to operate NATO-compatible aircraft, and also brings to an end a long-running saga to provide a replacement for the dwindling LanceR fleet of upgraded MiG-21s.
During a ceremony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Thales facility at Brest, French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian signed the contract that launches a major upgrade for the Marine Nationale’s Dassault Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft. The upgrade equips the Atlantique 2 for service to at least its current planned out-of-service date of 2030, and beyond if its career is extended.
The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) state-owned and -operated Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic) presented a full line of its products and plans for further expansion of its export markets at last month’s Aviation Expo China exhibition, which was held in the Chinese capital, Beijing. The centerpiece of the Avic display was a line-up of models of those military aircraft programs that the conglomerate has been permitted to make public.