With the delay to the Airbus A400M in mind, as well as tight defense budgets, BAE Systems Regional Aircraft’s Asset Management unit is marketing surplus British Aerospace 146-200 and -300 airliners to military customers as low-cost tactical transports under the model name BAe 146M. BAE owns 47 of the four-engine, high-wing jets, many of which are now coming off lease as airlines replace them with new regional jets.
Royal Air Force
In late July the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command issued a request for information for what it calls the light attack/armed reconnaissance (LAAR) aircraft. The RFI covers the potential procurement of 100 OA-X aircraft optimized for irregular warfare missions, which could see the U.S. Air Force back in the business
Boeing took a long-expected order from Canada for 15 CH-47F Chinook helicopters worth $1.15 billion. These will be new-build helicopters, to enter service in 2013 and 2014. Boeing said it would offset the entire contract value with contracts and partnerships in Canada. Canada already operates six CH-47Ds that it acquired urgently last year from the U.S. Army, for service in Afghanistan.
The General Dynamics Aviation Services (GDAS) facility at Barnes Municipal Airport in Westfield, Mass., recently had its Hawker Beechcraft authorized service center (ASC) designation renewed. In 2006 it became the first facility so designated and remains the only such facility in the northeast United States. The current designation expires in 2012.
Last week Hawker Beechcraft chairman and CEO Bill Boisture warned employees that due to “significant economic challenges…we are making a host of difficult business decisions to preserve our company.
More than a year after U.S. defense officials offered three RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft as a replacement for the same number of Royal Air Force BAE Nimrod R1 signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft, the UK Ministry of Defence has not made a decision.
Britain’s Royal Household and Ministry of Defence are evaluating options for providing flights for Queen Elizabeth II and her family beginning April 1 next year, when existing military and private charter arrangements expire. The revival of an earlier plan to purchase a new head-of-state aircraft appears unlikely due to concerns about the continuing recession.
As negotiations to secure a future for Europe’s troubled A400M airlifter continue, the UK government is taking the hardest line with Airbus Military, and moving quickly to secure alternative solutions. At the meeting of defense ministers in Seville, Spain, last month, the UK vetoed a Franco-German proposal to delay a final decision until December.
Eurofighter hopes that the four partner nations will agree the technical specification for an active array radar for the Typhoon by year-end. To date, only a demonstration model of the E-scan Captor radar has flown on the combat jet.
The Eurojet EJ200 that powers the Eurofighter achieved a milestone earlier this month when the first engine to be completed to the full operational clearance standard surpassed 1,000 on-wing hours. Engine number EN1030 was built by Rolls-Royce at Filton and was delivered to the UK Royal Air Force in 2003. It has subsequently flown in two Typhoon aircraft stationed at RAF Coningsby without the need for any unscheduled maintenance.