Regional-aircraft manufacturers face the prospect of increased financial risk in coming years, despite having been able to reduce sales costs since the mid-1990s, according to Moody’s Investor Service. As the economic recession continues, the New York-based credit research agency said such companies might not escape global requirements for more financial assistance to operators.
Attending its first ERA assembly since abandoning development of the Avro RJX regional jet series late last year, BAE Systems was able to announce a wave of new lease deals. Turkish Airlines extended its lease for 12 Avro RJs–nine RJ100s and three RJ70s–for the third time since taking the aircraft in 1993.
The defense facet of Farnborough 2002 was focused on new technology to be deployed in the war on terror. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)–once an obscure sideshow–moved to center stage. Though confined to the static display line, Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk surveillance platform–as proven in the recent Afghanistan conflict drew a lot of attention.
National Jet Systems opened a regional aircraft maintenance facility in Brisbane, Australia. The 62,000-sq-ft complex includes a 46,000-sq-ft hangar that will hold three airliners simultaneously. The company operates a fleet of BAE Systems 146s and Avro RJs on wet leases for flag carrier Qantas and as corporate shuttles for the Australian mining industry.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will cost much more than currently predicted, and the expected cost per flight hour already exceeds that of the F-16, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
It might seem strange that the aerospace world awaits with such anticipation Singapore’s choice of advanced jet trainer, especially since it will probably involve no more than a dozen aircraft. But, as Alenia Aermacchi’s CEO Carmelo Cosentino remarked here at the show, “Singapore is one of the most sophisticated and demanding customers in the world–and we like that because we have the best product.”
As part of a wide-ranging rationalization of its global spares support business, BAE Systems Regional Aircraft (BAERA) has transferred all its Jetstream 31/32 spares to Saywell International, and factory-surplus BAe 146/Avro RJ inventory to Ansett Spares & Service.
At face value, Rolls-Royce’s recent establishment of new facilities in Singapore, the U.S. and Germany might be construed as the group’s snubbing its UK home and a possible indictment of successive British governments that some say have failed to nurture the country’s aerospace industry.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are no longer strangers at aerospace and defense exhibitions, but BAE Systems’ Herti claims a world’s first as a fully autonomous UAV system. The little airplane making its Singapore debut in the static park here doesn’t look very exciting but appearances can deceive and Herti has proven to be a remarkably capable system–not just a reliable platform carrying a variety of sensors.
BAE Systems has launched a new helmet-mounted display technology that it says will deliver enhanced “head-up, eyes-out” situational awareness for helicopter pilots, but at a fraction of the cost of more advanced head-up displays now on combat aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon.