Last December Air Methods announced orders for 42 new Eurocopter and Bell helicopters, issued a special cash dividend and announced a three-for-one stock split. It also acquired the assets of Las Vegas air-tour operator Sundance Helicopters, including its fleet of 22 Eurocopter AS350s and EC130s.
Royal Air Force
This week’s IDEX defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi provided the first public view of the Saab 340AEW, purchased by the UAE Air Force and Air Defense as an interim airborne early-warning solution. One of two aircraft in service made a single flypast during a brief force demonstration. The air force’s latest acquisition, the Airbus A330 MRTT, also flew past, accompanied by four Mirage 2000-9 fighters, just days after being delivered. The remaining pair from the UAE’s order will be delivered later this year.
Following Indian defense minister A.K Antony’s revelation to AIN yesterday that the country’s defense budget will be cut for the next fiscal year beginning in April, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne has laid out the Indian Air Force priorities for procurement.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) published its equipment spending plan for the next 10 years for the first time. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond–known in political circles as “spreadsheet Phil”–has made a virtue of cutting unrealistic ambition in UK defense spending plans, following a painful review in 2010 that made substantial force cuts that are still being implemented.
Hawker Beechcraft’s King Air twin-turboprops continue to take the lion’s share of the Middle East turboprop business market, accounting for more than 70 percent of sales over the last three years. However, the type’s good endurance, configuration, capacious cabin and attractive operating economics have also made it a natural platform for a wide variety of special tasks, and many hundreds have been converted for special missions during the type’s long career.
Technical issues continue to affect the Airbus Military A330MRTT Multi-Role Tanker-Transport program, delaying full operational capability with four air forces that are due to receive a total of 28 aircraft ordered to date. A second refueling boom separated from an A330MRTT during a test flight in Spain in September.
Bombardier Aerospace recently delivered a Global 6000 to the U.S. Air Force, the fourth Global-series aircraft added to the existing USAF inventory with E-11A military designation. The Air Force plans to equip this new addition with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, in time for deployment next summer. This system will allow battlefield communications systems to share data.
Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support opened a factory-owned aircraft maintenance facility last week at New Castle County Airport in Wilmington, Del. The Part 145 repair station offers airframe, engine, avionics and mobile service support for the company’s entire product line, from the Bonanza to the Hawker 4000.
London is on high alert as Olympic airspace changes and a slot allocation extension to 40 airports (rather than the usual four) kicked in this past weekend, and visitors start to arrive ahead of the summer games opening ceremony on July 27. Slot coordinator Airport Coordination Ltd (ACL), based at London Heathrow Airport, reported that approximately 5,000 bookings have been registered for slots at the 40 airports, though it expects this number to reach 7,000 or 8,000.
The long-delayed solicitation for fixed-wing basic training aircraft to serve in the UK’s Military Flying Training System (MFTS) will be issued within 40 days.