Alenia Aeronautica’s Sky-Y unmanned technology demonstrator has completed its most recent series of tests in Italy. The Sky-Y has made 19 flights, in Sweden and in its home country, and the Finmeccanica subsidiary (Hall 2 Stand A165) claims that it is the only entirely European unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to have begun flight testing.
Finmeccanica subsidiary Alenia Aeronautica yesterday completed its acquisition of 25 percent plus one share of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC), Finmeccanica announced yesterday.
European manufacturer AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, is exhibiting four helicopters at Heli-Expo and plans to announce new orders and provide briefings on the AW109/119 and 139 models here today. On display are a Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) AW139, a Grand configured for executive transport, a high-gross-weight AW119ke Koala and an AW139 equipped for offshore operations.
European helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland and Russian conglomerate Oboronprom last month signed an agreement for a civil AW139 final assembly line near Moscow, less than six months after announcing the project’s outlines.
Finmeccanica’s Alenia Aermacchi division is launching a competition to find a nickname for its M346. The division’s CEO, Carmelo Cosentino, said the first low-rate initial production (LRIP) example flew on July 7, and that the aircraft is 700 kg lighter than the prototypes, giving it “much better maneuverability.” Aermacchi hopes to attract 35 to 40 percent of a market for around 2,000 advanced jet trainers over the next 25 years.
Alenia Aermacchi’s first pre-production M-346 lead-in fighter trainer made its official maiden flight on July 7 with Aermacchi chief test pilot Olinto Cecconello at the controls. The jet, painted in “Finmeccanica red” in a nod to Alenia Aermacchi’s parent company, had made three previous flights, all occurring the week before the first official public flight pictured here.
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.
Selex Sistemi Integrati of Italy has introduced its first small radar, weighing only 55 pounds and aimed at “homeland protection” applications. Lyra 10, a prototype of which Selex is displaying at the show (Hall 4 Stand A5), can detect “people, vehicles, boats and low-altitude helicopters up to a range of 24 km (15 miles),” said the Finmeccanica company.
Italy’s Finmeccanica agreed to acquire U.S. defense electronics group DRS Technologies a month before the U.S. Government Accountability Office announced its decision supporting Boeing’s appeal against the award of the KC-X military tanker contract to EADS/Northrop Grumman. It is questionable whether the GAO’s decision signals a wider U.S. intent to block foreign encroachment on the U.S. defense market.
Treaties that aim to clear longstanding bureaucratic hurdles to the transfer of defense technology to Australia and the UK were sent to the U.S. Congress for ratification last month. Both countries have complained publicly about U.S. Defense and State Department procedures that inhibit industrial and military cooperation. A year ago, U.S. President George W.