BAE Systems Looks to Third Parties to Boost Engineering Business
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft plans to extend its contract engineering work this year, raising the proportion of such revenues coming from third parties outside the BAE group to 92 percent. “The proportion has grown from 35 percent in 2010,” according to managing director Alan Fraser. “We have reshaped our engineering business and geared it for growth. [Our] skills, expertise and aircraft-design capability are [generating] a steady flow of new business.”
For example, the company is managing the manufacture of, and related operations literature for, three items of Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) flight-test equipment following two previous contracts from the Japanese manufacturer. It also holds contracts for several engineering work packages, including auxiliary power units, fuel systems, nacelle, powerplant, and pylon for the MRJ, scheduled to fly later this year.
It has previously provided development, engineering and integration services under an initial contract that included design of a flight-test trailing-cone system, a weight-and-balance control system to simulate flight and loading conditions and an electrical-load bank system to represent the MRJ’s power systems.
Other work requiring BAE Regional Aircraft’s design, planning, project management, supply chain and technical-support skills has included a major Avro RJ85 repair recently completed for South African regional carrier SA Airlink after the aircraft experienced an in-flight landing-gear incident last November. The nosewheel remained retracted, resulting in extensive lower fuselage skin and undercarriage-door damage upon landing.
Following initial assessment and a subsequent comprehensive damage report by BAE’s repair design office, the company sent an engineering party to South Africa to perform the work. Other major repairs carried out by such teams have included that following tail-strike damage to a Swiss RJ100 at London City Airport. The division designs more than 2,000 repair procedures each year to support its in-service regional aircraft fleet.
In a new support initiative expected to benefit its Jetstream turboprop customers, BAE Regional Aircraft and Propulsion International of Hermosa Beach, Calif., have agreed to collaborate on marketing and selling a Honeywell TPE331 engine rate-per-flying-hour support program. The Jetstream 31, 32 and 41 are powered by TPE331-10, -12 and -14 engines, respectively, and BAE Regional is the first company to join the program.
Under the agreement, fleet operators can use Propulsion International’s “low-cost” engine maintenance plan and financing. Propulsion International offers operators “no-cost” enrollments at hot-section inspection or overhaul/continuous airworthiness maintenance events, “low-cost buy-ins” spread over time and lease-engine options. Monthly payments depend on hours flown, and Honeywell Aerospace authorized service centers perform the maintenance.