Phase two manufacturing of sheet metal airframe fabrications and composite materials for the civil market has started at the Smiths Aerospace structures facility at Suzhou in China’s Jiangsu province, about 80 miles west of Shanghai. The first phase of the facility, opened last year, manufactures precision-machined aircraft engine components.
News and issues concerning aerospace companies, including formations, acquisitions, mergers and financials; and announcements of significant aircraft sales, delivery statistics and personnel appointments.
Smiths Aerospace is supplying its new generation cockpit voice and data recorder (VADR) systems for the MH-47 Chinook and MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters operated by the U.S. Army’s 160th Special Operations Regiment and the U.S. Coast Guard’s HH-60 Jayhawk and HH-65 Dolphin. Manufactured at Smiths’ facilities in Michigan, the VADR is claimed to be the most capable and reliable solid-state recorder on the market today.
Stores management systems for maritime patrol aircraft are proving a good earner for Smiths Aerospace. The company’s selection to provide the equipment for the 80 P-X replacements for Japan’s P-3 fleet is valued at more than $40 million: production is due to start in 2008 at Smiths’ Michigan and Florida facilities.
The landing gear extension and retraction system for the Airbus A380 and the Boeing KC-767A tanker mission system are among Smiths Aerospace’s most visible contributions to this year’s Paris Air Show, but they are just the tip of a highly diversified iceberg, according to the group’s president, Dr. John Ferrie.
France’s beleaguered President Jacques Chirac opened the 46th Paris Air Show here at Le Bourget yesterday. While his visit is intended primarily to cheerlead the country’s own aerospace and defense industry, he has lately proved to be a best friend to foreign exhibitors, too.
Bloodied and bruised by the U.S. Air Force tanker fiasco, Boeing has fought back this week by bringing the first KC-767A to the Paris show. But yet another damning report on the aborted U.S. lease deal has not only further tarnished the company’s reputation but also cast doubt on whether the Pentagon really needs a new fleet of tankers anytime soon.
A huge commitment for Airbus A350s and Boeing 777s by Qatar Airways took top billing yesterday here in Paris. The Qatar announcement involved a total of 60 A350-800s and -900s along with a mix of 20 Boeing 777-300ERs, -200LRs and -200F freighters.
Jeppesen and Arinc yesterday announced an alliance that will integrate “best of class” EFB components from each company’s portfolios to produce what officials are billing as “the industry’s most advanced electronic flight bag system.” Arinc’s eFlightDeck technology combined with Jeppesen’s EFB software, applications and data will give buyers a complete package from a single source.
Bombardier Aerospace announced yesterday that Exeter, UK-based FlyBe has converted four options on the Bombardier Q400 turboprop airliners to firm orders. The contract is valued at about $100 million. Delivery of the four aircraft, coupled with the order for 20 Q400s announced January 27, will increase FlyBe’s Q400 fleet to 45 aircraft. Yesterday’s contract increases orders for the Q400 to 151 aircraft.
Korean Air has ordered $300 million worth of GP7200s from the Engine Alliance to power its Airbus A380s. The carrier has ordered 23 engines for the five A380s it has on firm order and will take another 13, worth a further $170 million, if it exercises its options for three more. The new order gives the GE Transportation–Aircraft Engines/Pratt & Whitney joint venture a 58-percent share on the A380s for which engines have been specified.