BAE already derives 34 percent of its revenues from North America, where 27,000 employees produce an annual turnover of $5.6 billion. Of equal significance, the return on sales is 8.4 percent–the highest figure in all of BAE. The group’s CEO, Mike Turner, is fond of reminding UK and European government officials that the conditions for technology investment are so much more favorable to BAE on the other side of the Atlantic.
The Rochester, UK facility of BAE Systems has developed the world’s first control stick that tells a pilot, through feel, that the airplane is exceeding the design envelope. The stick provides discernably greater resistance when the pilot moves it beyond the limits by the aircraft’s flight control software.
BAE Systems has all but abandoned Europe. The British defense conglomerate is putting its money into North America, where the budgets are large and the risks are low. But the U.S. government has imposed major bureaucratic controls on all foreign entities that seek to share defense technology. So can BAE ever become a truly integrated transatlantic company?
A recent slew of new announcements from BAE Systems Regional Aircraft has reminded the industry that the BAE146/ Avro RJ jetliner family has not gone away. New lease packages to regional airlines, the possibility of a new production line and some innovative conversion packages all suggest that the four-engine jets still have some life left in them.
Deliveries of six Hawk Mk 129s to the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) by BAE Systems beginning in the middle of next year will highlight the company’s continuing efforts to promote its advanced jet trainer in the highly competitive Middle East market. On August 26, the first of six aircraft destined for Bahrain made its first flight at BAE’s Warton facility in the UK.
Riyadh-based Alsalam Aircraft Co. is emerging as a key player in efforts to upgrade Saudi Arabia’s fleet of 84 Panavia Tornado interdiction strike aircraft.
BAE Systems has recently announced three major programs aimed at improved flight safety and providing contingency plans in the event of emergencies.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has certified BAE Systems’ Matador infrared countermeasures (IRCM) missile jamming system as an approved product for national defense. The approval comes under the DHS’ Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (Safety) Act, passed by Congress in 2002.
Sikorsky has selected BAE Systems to develop an active pilot inceptor system for the U.S. Army UH-60M Black Hawk program. The new system will replace the mechanical pilot controls on the current UH-60 with active technology that saves weight and provides pilots with intuitive tactile cues for easier handling and reduced workload.
While ATR and Bombardier’s de Havilland division enjoy a renaissance of sorts in the new turboprop airliner business, companies no longer involved in airplane manufacturing have moved to stake their own claims on the used market. For BAE Systems Regional Aircraft, however, managing and eliminating its “idle portfolio” has proven harder than one might imagine.