At an unmanned vehicles forum in Bonn this week, EADS Cassidian was again promoting what it now calls a Future European Male (Female) system. But the prospects of a pan-European program to match or improve on Male (medium-altitude long-endurance) UAV offerings from Israel, the U.S. and elsewhere have receded. France has decided to buy two GA-ASI Reaper systems, and there are indications that the UK will retain its Reapers beyond 2015, rather than retire them upon leaving Afghanistan.
Australia’s recent decision to buy 12 new-build EA-18G Growler electronic warfare variants of the F/A-18F has given manufacturer Boeing hope that it can sustain its Super Hornet production line in St. Louis, Mo., to 2016 and beyond.
A long list of major U.S. aerospace and missile defense systems that have been compromised by hackers was obtained by The Washington Post. The list was withheld from the publicly released version of a Defense Science Board Task Force report to the Pentagon on cyber threats last January. The report concluded that “the DOD is not prepared to defend against this threat.” According to senior industry and military officials contacted by the newpaper, most of the hacking was done by China.
Boeing will seek two separate certifications from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its new KC-46A tanker, the commercial 767 derivative it is developing for the U.S. Air Force (USAF). The manufacturer will first apply for an amended type certificate from the FAA for a 767-2C “provisioned freighter” without the aerial refueling components and military avionics planned for the tanker. It will then seek a supplemental type certificate (STC) for a fully equipped KC-46A.
The Russian defense ministry awarded TANTK Beriev a contract worth Rouble 8.408 billion (U.S.$267 million) for six Be-200 amphibian jets. The first two airplanes delivered in 2014-16 will be the factory-standard Be-200ChS version (the ChS suffix is the Russian acronym for Emergency Situations). The other four will be Be-200PS search-and-rescue versions. The Russian MoD signaled its intent to place a follow-on order for eight more aircraft after this initial contract is fulfilled.
Everyone in general aviation (GA) seems happy that the U.S. Senate has introduced a bill to force the FAA to simplify Part 23 certification regulations, the Small Aircraft Revitalization Act of 2013 (S.1072) introduced by senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). According to NBAA, this bill and another introduced in the House of Representatives “would set a date for implementation of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) recommendations to adopt consensus-based, design-specific performance requirements to achieve FAA certification.”
Bombardier’s Flexjet subsidiary reported a strong first quarter, led by growth in new buyers as well as higher levels of activity by existing fractional-share, jet card and lease customers. In the first quarter, new business was up 83 percent, fractional share sales up 108 percent and jet card sales up 48 percent over the same period last year. “Our flying is not only up with all the new sales,” said Flexjet president Deanna White, “but also our existing customers are ramping up their flying time.
Gulfstream Aerospace signed an exclusive spare parts consignment agreement with aviation services provider Air Works India Engineering, the Savannah, Ga.-based business jet manufacturer announced yesterday. Under the agreement, Gulfstream can position frequently needed aircraft replacement parts at Air Works’ warehouse on the outskirts of India’s Bengaluru International Airport, while Air Works arranges for parts warehousing, customs clearance and delivery to customers.
Airbus Corporate Jet Centre (ACJC) has received Part 145 maintenance organization approval from the Russian State Centre of Aviation Flight Safety. The approval allows ACJC to perform base and line maintenance, light maintenance, heavy maintenance up to the six-year check and upgrades (Service Bulletin/EO embodiment on both airframe and systems), as well as aircraft modifications on Russian-registered A320-series aircraft. It also includes trouble-shooting worldwide.
Banyan Air Service held its eighth annual AMT Day on May 24. The annual event pays tribute to Charles E. Taylor, the first aircraft maintenance technician (AMT), who built Orville and Wilbur Wright’s engine. At a time when new student starts in aviation technical schools are down and industry technician retention is low, Banyan uses the event to honor its aircraft maintenance technicians, avionics team and parts team.