Eurofighter’s first export sale–to Austria–has not been a happy experience, although the company has met all its schedule and performance commitments to date. The first of 18 aircraft is already flying, the second will fly soon, there are four more in final assembly and parts for the other 12 are already in production. The first Austrian pilots have been trained on the aircraft in Germany.
Eurofighter GmbH has finally been empowered to write real subcontracts with penalty clauses for Typhoon production with the four partner airframe companies (Alenia, BAE Systems, EADS-Germany and EADS-Spain) that are also its shareholders. “It’s a revolution! We’re becoming a normal type of business now,” Aloysius Rauen, the CEO of Eurofighter, told Aviation International News here yesterday.
Two of Europe’s manned combat air vehicle programs have taken significant strides in recent times. The Neuron UCAV technical demonstrator is being built by a Dassault-led team with partners in Sweden, Italy, Greece, Switzerland and Spain. From official notification in February 2006, the team has established an efficient structure for industrial cooperation, leading to a satisfactory interim review in September.
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft reports a “major service expansion” this year at London City Airport, where 44 percent of daily departures involve its BAe 146 or Avro RJ regional jets, which also account for 62 percent of each day’s seats.
“A guide to aircraft fuel contents testing” is the title of a paper to be delivered by Tony Moore, technical director of Cirencester, UK-based BCF Designs, at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Technology Theatre here at the airshow. Moore has led the BCF team working to improve fuel test safety for nearly two years.
MBDA, the missile manufacturer owned by BAE Systems, EADS and Finmeccanica, has appointed Antoine Bouvier as its new chief executive. He replaces Marwan Lahoud. Bouvier was most recently chief executive officer of EADS Astrium Satellites, a post he took up in 2002, and before that he held senior positions at ATR culminating in his becoming chief executive in 1998.
As the Paris Air Show opens, UK-based BAE Systems, amidst ongoing allegations of corruption regarding its dealings with Saudi Arabia, has taken steps to open itself to investigation by an independent committee while in the U.S. Congressional committees recently lifted blocks on some arms transfer requests by BAE North America.
Does the recent sale of its Inertial Products business signal a round of sell-offs by BAE Systems? A statement accompanying the move noted that the company’s strategy is to expand as a developer and integrator of systems and “de-emphasize its role as a components provider.”
Training pilots to fly combat jets is an expensive proposition. A proposal by European air chiefs to cut costs by combining forces has made only slow progress. However, two well established multinational training programs are readily available in North America. Meanwhile, “downloading” and “contractorization” are the prevailing buzzwords, as all air forces try to rationalize their flight training systems.
The U.S.-led Joint Strike Fighter program represents an important opportunity not only for large Italian aerospace companies, but also for medium-size firms that are playing a significant role in developing the F-35 Lightning. Among these is Milan-based Aerea, whose engineers are directly involved in the aircraft mission equipment integrated project team (IPT) at Lockheed Martin’s main facility in Fort Worth, Texas.