News clips: Farnbourgh 2010
Microtecnica To Maintain Tornado Sweep Actuators
Under the Panavia tri-national repair process, Italian specialist Microtecnica (Hall 4 Stand D11) will provide wing sweep actuator repair and overhaul services to BAE Systems for the UK Royal Air Force Tornado fleet. Tornado wing sweep actuators are required to undergo a full maintenance and component check after every 1,200 hours of flying time. BAE System has the responsibility to provide guaranteed availability of the Tornado aircraft for the RAF.
Microtecnica has also announced a strategic alliance with Korean aerospace manufacturer Hanwha Corp. for collaboration on Korean aerospace programs as preferred partner for the design, development and manufacture of new equipment and systems.
SR Technics Beefs Up Parts Repair
SR Technics (Hall 4 Stand D9) is investing in repair services for engine parts to further develop its offer to third-party customers. The maintenance, repair and overhaul service provider will expand its facilities in Zurich, Switzerland, and Cork, Ireland, for them to become “centers of excellence” in this field. Some repair capabilities will be transferred to new engine types.
The Swiss-based firm is working with its Mubadala group sister company Sanad to offer leasing solutions for line-replaceable units, for example. This will allow customers to reduce their spares inventories. Thanks to SR Technics’ investment, they will also benefit from shorter repair cycles, the company claims. Both CFM International and Pratt & Whitney have authorized SR Technics for engine repairs.
TopOwl Gets Better, and Sees Action
TopOwl is a helmet-mounted sight and display (HMSD) system developed by Thales for helicopter applications. It is now operational on five helicopter types: AH-1Z, UH-1Y, Rooivalk, NH90 and Tiger. With French army Tigers recently deployed to Afghanistan, the TopOwl system has been used in operation for the first time, providing Tiger crew in theater with high-level night vision and targeting performance.
That performance has been enhanced recently to reach Level-5 night-vision capability, equivalent to a cloudy, moonless night with no peripheral light sources. Another capability is to transition instantly between infrared and image intensification imagery with a simple click. This greatly aids pilots when landing at night or in brownout conditions. TopOwl has also been refined with a new internal arrangement and new materials, making it even more comfortable to wear.
Safran Fails To Lure Zodiac Toward Merger
Zodiac Aerospace has rejected Safran’s offer to bring the activities of the two French equipment manufacturers together and eventually merge the companies.
Two weeks ago, on July 6, Jean-Paul Herteman, president of Safran’s management board, sent an offer to Didier Domange, chairman of Zodiac’s supervisory board (Hall 1 Stand A15). The board met on July 9 and unanimously decided not to pursue the project. In a statement last week, Safran said it remains convinced of “the obvious logic” of the proposed move “from an industrial and strategic perspective.” It cited the “inevitable trend toward consolidation of first-tier aerospace equipment firms.”
According to French financial newspaper Les Echos, Safran (Hall 4 Stand B12) sees potential synergies between the two companies–in electric systems, for example. Meanwhile, Zodiac says synergies would be limited to just a small percent of revenue. There is also disagreement on the relevance of reaching a “critical mass” to better respond to calls for tenders.