It seems clear now that Boeing will not announce a decision on a successor to the 737NG at this Paris Air Show. But even the extent to which it will deliver on its promise to provide more “clarity” about its deliberations remained something of a mystery as the salon was set to open.
All Paris 2011 News
At this year’s Paris Air Show, Esterline CMC Electronics (Hall 5 Stand 242) is showing, for the first time, the Cockpit 9000 avionics suite selected as an upgrade for Lockheed Martin C-130 cockpits.
Both the Sikorsky X2 and the Eurocopter X3 have propellers and both are targeting higher cruise speeds; however, their respective designers have not been working to the same principles.
The X2 is effectively a semi-compound helicopter, having contra-rotating main rotors and one aft propeller, while the X3 is a true compound with a single main rotor, wing stubs and two side-mounted propellers.
Eurocopter has delivered what it hopes will prove to be the X-Factor to this year’s Paris Air Show. The daily flying display this week features its new its X3 (“x cubed”) compound helicopter demonstrator, a modified AS 365 Dauphin with a conventional main rotor, two propellers on wingstubs and a conventional empennage.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is showing off its latest precision-guided munition here at Le Bourget.
In defense terms, few would question the proposition that the state of Israel punches above its weight. And the same could well be said of its defense companies. Take Rafael, for example.
“I am running a boutique [defense company], we’re not Northrop Grumman,” Rafael’s chairman Ilan Biran told AIN, pointing out that most of its activities are confined to research and development and low-rate-of-production programs.
Having been developed in some urgency, Rafael’s Iron Dome dual-mission defense system is now operational, and in April an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) battery proved its worth for the first time when several Grad rockets were intercepted after launch from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.
Alongside preparations for the re-engined A320neo, Airbus is continuing A320 product development, according to A320 family chief engineer Wolfgang Engler. Some 23 years after A320 MSN0005 pioneered the type’s airline service with Air France, the manufacturer claims a 99.7-percent “operational reliability” for the most recently delivered 250 aircraft.
Airbus has already started to produce the first elements of the “sharklet” wingtips for incorporation on wings for standard A320 aircraft that are expected to enter service in about 18 months’ time, during the fourth quarter of 2012. It also has begun to convert the original A320 (MSN 0001), including installation of flight-test instruments, to act as a test bed.
The Airbus A320neo (for “new engine option”) is “the fastest selling aircraft in history” and the manufacturer set itself the target of accruing “over 500” commitments by this week’s Paris Air Show, according to chief operating officer (customers) John Leahy. By early April, the company had booked more than 330 orders and “commitments” and this prompted it to accelerate the program by six months.