Abu Dhabi Autonomous System Investments (ADASI) signed a contract with Piaggio Aero today at the Farnborough Airshow for the Piaggio Aero MPA (multi-role patrol aircraft), a new special-missions surveillance aircraft based on the P.180 Avanti II. The agreement calls for aircraft launch customer ADASI to provide financing for Piaggio to build two prototypes. First flight is scheduled for 2014.
The 200th Falcon 7X has rolled off the production line at Dassault’s Bordeaux-Merignac production facility in southern France and is slated to enter the cabin completions process this week, the French aircraft manufacturer announced yesterday at the Farnborough Airshow. While most 7Xs are outfitted at the company’s Little Rock, Ark. facility, this one will be completed in Bordeaux.
Gulfstream Aerospace named 32-year aviation industry veteran Joseph Rivera as its director of international operations. In his new position, he will be based in Savannah and will oversee Gulfstream’s three international service centers in Beijing; Luton, England; and Sorocaba, Brazil. Luton and Sorocaba are currently in operation, while Gulfstream Beijing is expected to begin operations soon. “Joseph’s breadth of experience and leadership skills will greatly benefit our customer service organization,” said Gulfstream product support president Mark Burns.
Rolls-Royce is making further performance improvements to its Trent 700 engine, which powers the Airbus A330. Technologies from the Trent 1000, Trent XWB and BR725 engines are being incorporated into this latest Trent 700 variant, increasing efficiency by at least 1 percent.
In late June, Boeing and Embraer announced an extension of their April collaboration agreement to cover the KC-390 program. The pair will jointly assess the medium-lift military transport market. Boeing may help sell the KC-390 to “potential customers that had not been considered [as] initial market prospects,” the companies said.
Embraer will soon freeze the design of its first purpose-built military transport, the KC-390, for tactical missions. Although the first flight is planned for 2014, some details remain sketchy. But at least the program seems well funded, with the Brazilian government providing most of the $2.2 billion needed for development.
AgustaWestland’s AW159 Lynx Wildcat has moved closer to being fully operational. The initial release into service for the British Army model was issued last April and the first operational flight came on June 18. The AW159 is the successor of the Lynx helicopter family although the only major components in common with the earlier Lynx design are the main rotor blades and rotor head.
It seems that much discussion is still under way at Bombardier as to whether or not it should launch a stretched, 90-seat model of its Dash 8 Q400 Next Gen turboprop.
Russian leasing group Ilyushin Finance Corp. (IFC) has signed an agreement for 15 aircraft from the Antonov An-148/158 family of regional airliners, valued at around $420 million based on list prices. IFC will in turn resell the aircraft to its new partner in Panama. South American Aircraft Leasing will place the twinjets with local carriers, with an initial three An-158s due to be delivered from December 2012.
Forecasting order announcements for engines worth up to $10 billion by the end of this week’s Farnborough International airshow, GE Aviation president and chief executive David Joyce described the atmosphere so far as “more subdued” than the “wild” Paris Air Show last year, but nevertheless still “very positive.” Joyce cited backlogs of “six to seven years” for General Electric’s <a href=”http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/2012-07-09/electric-taxi-systems-…