Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) and China’s Avicopter, partners in thedevelopment of the EC175 and AC352 medium-twin helicopters, signed an agreement last month for the production of 1,000 of the two models. The agreement is valued at $21 billion over 20 years, with each airframer expecting to assemble approximately 500helicopters.
Boeing’s Super Hornet production line in St. Louis, Mo., would be sustained until 2017 if the U.S. Navy receives the 22 EA-18G Growler electronic warfare variants it seeks on a list of “unfunded” priorities the service has submitted to Congress. Industry and government analyses show a need for 50 to 100 more Growlers, Boeing contends.
Airbus has added Recaro and Sogerma passenger seats to the A350 supplier-furnished equipment catalog, which includes seats, galleys, cabin “monuments” and other items, but hopes to limit furnishing options to keep assembly lines flowing, officials said at the company’s unveiling of the airplane’s interior in Hamburg on April 7. It also emphasized increased width in the A350’s twin-aisle fuselage–thus boosting a claimed advantage over the competing Boeing 787–and confirmed that the twinjet will accommodate 10-abreast seating.
Rebuffing descriptions of the CSeries’ sales performance as “sluggish,” Bombardier says it welcomes comparisons between its airplane and those that Boeing and Airbus offer in the 100- to 149-seat market segment. In a recent market analysis, the Canadian airframe maker cites firm order figures for the CSeries of 201 aircraft from 18 customers, compared with 47 from three customers for the Airbus A319neo, 55 from two customers for the Boeing 737-7 Max, and 100 from two customers for the Embraer E190/195 E2.
F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin will retrofit early production lots of F-35Bs delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps with modified bulkheads to address cracking issues that came to light during durability testing of ground articles last fall. It will build redesigned bulkheads into the fighter beginning with low-rate production lot (LRIP) 9, said Rear Adm. Randy Mahr, deputy program manager with the Pentagon’s F-35 joint program office (JPO).
Russian Helicopters is launching a new phase of modernization at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant to re-tool and upgrade the factory. The first stage involves modernizing and expanding the production of protective coatings. “Project development started last year, to meet the need to increase efficiency and to ensure the products made are of the highest possible quality,” said Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev. As a result, the plant will be ready to start production of the Mi-171A2, an upgraded version of the Mi-8/171.
Chartright Executive Helicopters will operate a depot for AgustaWestland in Toronto that will stock parts for the AW109, AW119 and AW139s. Chartright is an authorized AgustaWestland service center.
A challenge facing aircraft manufacturers is compliance with the FAA’s new Part 25 Subpart H Electrical Wiring Interconnect System (EWIS) regulations, which apply a systems approach to wiring.
A new-build version of the Grumman Mallard amphibian is on the drawing boards, with the formation of Mallard Aircraft by type certificate holder Frakes Aviation. Based in Cleburne, Texas, Mallard Aircraft is headed by Sam Jantzen, Jr., managing director, who previously held pilot and executive positions with Cessna, Fairchild Aircraft, Commuter Air Technology, Raisbeck Engineering and Blackhawk Modifications.
As preparations proceed for running a full open-rotor engine demonstrator in 2016 under Europe’s Clean Sky research effort, French engine maker Snecma sees the program’s participants reaching a consensus over whether or not to proceed in the 2017-to-2019 period.