Last year saw reasonably brisk activity in the regional turboprop business, as the Western world’s remaining players scrambled to hold their positions during a period of continuing sluggishness in the air-transport sector.
The Czech government has pledged $13.5 million over three years to a consortium of 16 companies to build and market a nine- to 14-seat twin turboprop dubbed the EV-55. Organized by the Czech Aviation Manufacturers’ Association and led by Kunovice-based Evektor, the program would awaken a virtually inactive Czech civil aerospace industry and help regain some of the status it enjoyed during the peak of Let 410 and Zlin glider production.
Dornier 328JET certificate holder AvCraft Aerospace has recruited BAE Systems Regional Aircraft to take responsibility for spares storage, distribution and logistics support for the 32-seat regional jet and its turboprop sibling. The six-year contract covers 328s and 328JETs registered in North, Central and South America.
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft has delivered the final Avro RJ to Finnish carrier Blue 1, bringing to an end 22 years of BAe 146/Avro RJ production. An Avro RJ85 that arrived in Helsinki on November 26 was the last of four aircraft ordered by Blue 1. In total, BAE has delivered 390 of the quad-jets. The UK manufacturer will continue to handle customer and product support directly.
BAE Systems today issued an upbeat description of progress with the previously troubled upgrade of the Nimrod MRA.4 maritime patrol plane for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF). Two development aircraft have now logged 70 hours on 30 test flights, and RAF aircrew have flown in every position onboard.
Aviation and the environment often appear to be in conflict, sometimes in unpredictable ways. One such has led BAE Systems into a collaboration with the UK government and the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) on a research project that aims to eliminate the interference that the rotating blades on wind turbine installations can cause to air traffic control radars.
In the aerospace world, the West is definitely looking east these days. Western manufacturers see Asia and eastern Europe as important emerging markets and as sources of low-cost production capacity. But some parts of the West are trying to persuade other Westerners that they don’t have to look quite so far east for the value and opportunity they crave.
To prioritize and promote unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the United Kingdom, the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) and the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association (UAVS) have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see resources focused on accelerating the implementation of UAV systems and making UK industry globally competitive.
Norway has added another €12.5 million in funding to its €23.2 million Eurofighter industrial agreement, which provides local defense companies with access and high-technology work connected with the four-nation fighter jet. The Eurofighter consortium is wooing the Norwegian air force for an order, as an F-16 replacement. Beneficiaries of the agreement include radar house Ericsson and software company EPM Technology.
A big part of making the JSF affordable is the production plan. Managers from BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman discussed here Monday how they have adopted ‘lean manufacturing’ processes and philosophies from the automotive industry. With the production rate planned to reach one per working day (e.g., about 260 per year) in 2012, there is plenty of scope for adopting the techniques of mass production.