Production of Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engines that power Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter is set to peak this year at 50 units before flattening out in the coming years as the U.S. defers deliveries of the new aircraft.
Sierra Nevada Corp. has selected Parker Aerospace Gas Turbine Fuel Systems division’s thermal-management equipment to cool and heat its autonomous landing system (HALS) on Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Sierra Nevada has a contract to fulfill the degraded visual environments (DVE) operational-needs statement issued by the U.S. Army aviation-networks mission-planning program directorate.
Airbus Military has taken orders for 28 A330 MRTT (multi-role tanker-transport) aircraft, and by the end of this year 13 are due to be in service. The program has encountered a number of teething troubles, but the company reports that they are being solved as the aircraft expands the envelope of its operational experience.
Controversial from the start, the UK’s new aircraft carrier program has endured many twists and turns. It is now 14 years since the government first defined the need for new carriers and it will be another four years before the first of the two Queen Elizabeth II-class warships is delivered. Beyond that, it will be another four years before the carrier-strike capability becomes fully operational, in 2020.
China’s first private regional airline, China Express, based in Guiyang, has finalized a $264 million deal for six Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen regional jets. The value could rise to $491 million if the carrier, which will become the first to operate NextGen models in the country, exercises options for five more of the jets. Its current fleet consists of five Bombardier 50-seat CRJ200s.
By the beginning of June, the first 84,000-pound-thrust Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine had flown for more than 40 hours aboard the Airbus A380 flying testbed (FTB) as Airbus moves toward a first A350 flight “probably around mid-2013,” according to engine program director Chris Young. Trent XWB Serial Number 20990 had logged 43 hours and was scheduled to make two more flights before replacement by S/N21000, dubbed FTB2 (see box).
More than a week of almost incessant torrential rain will do little to dampen the industry’s ardor for this morning’s opening of the 2012 Farnborough International Airshow. But it has certainly posed huge challenges for organizers who have worked around the clock to try to minimize the anticipated disruption.
Ten Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines–serial numbers (S/Ns) 20990, 20001 through 20006, 20009 and 21000–are being used in the test program.
•By last month, some 43 hours’ testing had been accumulated during 14 of 16 scheduled flights with initial flight-test unit S/N 20990, which will subsequently be available to provide spare capacity. Rolls-Royce says the powerplant is its most highly instrumented flight-test engine ever.
Europe’s A400M airlifter was named Atlas, after the Greek god who carried the world on his shoulders, last Friday in a rain-soaked ceremony at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), RAF Fairford. The aircraft, which is the first production representative aircraft (MSN6), repositioned from Fairford to the Farnborough static park yesterday.
A specially configured Boeing 737-800 meant to test some of the airframe maker’s most promising new technologies now sits at Boeing Field in Seattle, where crews prepare to install experimental systems that could appear in service as early as 2017 on the 737 MAX.