The new Farnborough International Venue and Events (FIVE) facility has been open for events since late 2007. This week it houses the BAE Systems Pavilion (Outdoor Exhibit 11, near the west end of chalet rows A-D and behind row K). Farnborough International created the venue in an effort to use the show site for business and social events outside the air show calendar.
Italy’s Finmeccanica agreed to acquire U.S. defense electronics group DRS Technologies a month before the U.S. Government Accountability Office announced its decision supporting Boeing’s appeal against the award of the KC-X military tanker contract to EADS/Northrop Grumman. It is questionable whether the GAO’s decision signals a wider U.S. intent to block foreign encroachment on the U.S. defense market.
The statistics are sobering: as many as 700,000 anti-aircraft missiles for man-portable air defense systems (Manpads) have been manufactured since the 1970s. Up to 7,000 missiles may be outside state control, possibly in the hands of terrorists. Since these weapons began proliferating in the 1960s, there have been some 35 documented Manpads attacks on civil aircraft.
Underscoring the universal appeal of the Farnborough International 2008 airshow, the organizers have again dedicated space for specialty sectors or disciplines, with areas reserved for business aircraft manufacturers and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It also is featuring International Youth Day on Friday, as the show week ends (see box).
While European governments preach greater collaboration in defense research and development, three competing programs for uninhabited combat air vehicles (UCAVs) have been officially funded. Yet the aim of all three is to preserve the European high-technology base and develop important capabilities such as low-observability and autonomous control, independent of the U.S.
BAE Systems Aircraft Services Group is looking to build on the success of the deal it forged at the NBAA show last year, when it announced a lease agreement for 10 pre-owned Jetstream 32 twin-turboprops to Corporate Aircraft Partners (CAP). The Cartersville, Ga.-based operator has just received the sixth aircraft for its fractional-leasing program. The 19-seat commuters were converted to 10- to 12-seat configurations for the new service.
BAE Systems may have to build another 14 of its Avro RJX regional jets, despite announcing its intention to scrap the program in late November. The UK manufacturer is now seeking to renegotiate contracts with launch customers British European Airways (BEA) and Druk Air of Bhutan. The British operator placed an order for 12 RJXs and options for another eight, and Druk Air holds a firm order for two.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) raided the homes of a number of U.S.-based BAE executives in connection with allegations about corruption at BAE Systems. The DoJ also temporarily detained outgoing BAE Systems chief executive Mike Turner and a senior colleague, when they arrived at Houston Airport from the UK.
The UK’s BAE Systems has scrapped the RJX regional jet program and will shut down all future RJ production after it finishes four airplanes currently in production. BAE said the company had orders for only 14 RJXs and that an already poor market exacerbated by the events of September 11 would mean losing money on every RJ sold. The company emphasized it will continue to provide support for all customer BAE RJs.
After several years of 25-percent compound growth, UK regional British European Airlines is adopting a more measured approach to provide less unpredictable development after posting losses last year. Moves in late June to meet shareholders’ revised aims included the voluntary departure of chief executive Barry Perrott and the decision to release the Canadair RJ fleet.