The sunset could be farther off than thought for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the mainstay of the U.S. Navy’s carrier-based fighter fleet. With initial operational capability of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter that will eventually replace the F/A-18 now planned in early 2019, Boeing and partner Northrop Grumman are proposing an “Advanced Super Hornet” upgrade designed to operate until 2030 and beyond.
Rolls-Royce (R-R) has completed a 1,500-cycle test of its new Trent 1000-TEN engine and is well into the demonstration phase ahead of formal testing in early 2014, according to T1000 program chief engineer Gareth Jones. In mid-October, the initial demonstrator unit was being stripped down in R-R’s development department as the company prepared to assemble a second test engine.
Abu Dhabi’s Royal Jet, the commercial luxury private-jet operator, is to issue an RFP for the replacement of six Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) aircraft within the next two months, as it seeks to expand regional charter operations in the Middle East, Africa and beyond.
With initial running of the new Leap-1 engine on schedule in September, CFM International (CFMI) has embarked on an “unprecedented” level of testing that should involve 20 developmental units by the end of next year and seven of the remaining eight planned examples before 2016 (when a final powerplant will take part in a short exercise–possibly a Leap-1C blade-out check).
With around 1,000 employees, the electronic warfare arm of Selex ES is a major player in the EW marketplace, as a lead integrator on programs, such as the Praetorian defensive system of the Eurofighter Typhoon; a provider of equipment; and as a developer of new technology. It is also increasingly involved in supporting EW operations of air arms as nations move toward greater control over their own electronic warfare resources.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an airworthiness directive requiring inspections and possibly modifications to the Airbus A380, stating that cracks discovered during fatigue testing could “reduce the structural integrity of the wing.”
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou ceremonially welcomed the first Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft at Pingtung airbase on October 31. Three days later, the island’s first six Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters arrived from the U.S. by sea. Neither event was publicized by the U.S. government or the contractors, no doubt because of concern that mainland China would react adversely.
South Korea’s air force would be best served in the near term by a mix of fighters that includes an advanced version of Boeing’s F-15, according to retired U.S. Air Force general and former chief of staff Ronald Fogleman. The F-15 would provide needed combat capability to counter the threat posed by North Korea right away, whereas Lockheed Martin’s F-35 will lack full combat capability until around 2020 when its Block 3F software is installed and tested, he said.
Helicopter MRO Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services North America (HSNA), a subsidiary of Vector Aerospace, has signed a five-year agreement with Era Helicopters to repair and overhaul dynamic components for Era’s Sikorsky S-76 and Eurocopter AS350 fleets.
Under the terms of the five-year agreement, HSNA will provide Era with inspection, repair, overhaul, testing, modification and other services, including on-site rental assets for Era’s S-76 and AS350 fleets.
Lufthansa Technik (LHT), in conjunction with the Fiber Force research project, has developed methods for load transmission into carbon fiber composite (CFC) aircraft fuselage structures.