Senior officials from EADS and BAE Systems are hastening to secure agreement for their proposed 60-40 merger from key governments, after the premature leaking of the deal. They must specify full details by October 10, to satisfy UK stock market rules.
Airbus Military says it hopes to resume, in November, the remaining 140 hours of function and reliability flight-testing that is required before its A400M airlifter can be granted a full type certificate. The flights with MSN6, the first production-representative aircraft, were suspended in July because of the repeated detection of metallic chips in the oil system of one of the TP400 engines.
EADS Cassidian reports positive results from a third flight-test campaign conducted recently from Goose Bay, Canada, with the second prototype Barracuda UAV. Five flights during June and July each lasted up to one hour and proved various new mission modes, including autonomous 4-D navigation and cooperative flying with a second UAV. Unlike the previous two campaigns in 2009 and 2010, the latest flights were funded entirely by the company.
Last week’s ILA airshow in Berlin did little to bolster backlogs of airliner orders, beyond the pair of ATR 72-600s that the regional aircraft maker sold to Austrian carrier InterSky. The $47 million deal will see the first of the 70-seaters delivered in December and the second in March.
At first glance, the proposed merger between EADS and BAE should not pose problems for competition regulators on either side of the Atlantic, from a defense perspective. There is very little overlap between the businesses. “It’s a great strategic fit,” one EADS official told AIN. However, that may not stop companies such as Finmeccanica or Thales from raising questions about the consolidation of first-tier defense contractors in Europe.
On the day after the merger talks between EADS and BAE Systems became public this week, the French and German governments signed a cooperation agreement on future medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAVs. The two nations will develop a common operational requirement, and may also jointly operate an interim solution. Both countries currently fly the Israeli Heron 1 system in Afghanistan, but their respective air forces have been pressing for a replacement.
The ILA Berlin airshow, held this week on a new site at Schonefeld Airport, remains largely a regional event driven by German industry and government requirements. News of the merger talks between EADS and BAE Systems broke halfway through the event, although not by design, a senior EADS official told AIN. But there was other important defense news announced or discussed at the show.
BAE surprised stock markets on September 12 with sudden announcement of a planned merger with its fellow European aerospace and defense group EADS, which confirmed a few hours later that the deal is being discussed. Under UK stock market rules, the merger would have to be agreed or abandoned by close-of-business on October 10.
Dynamic growth in emerging economies will be the principal factor driving commercial aircraft requirements in the coming 20 years, according to Airbus. Other major contributions will come from increased global urbanization and a doubling of middle-class populations. “By 2031 the number of ‘mega-cities’ will more than double to 92, and 90 percent of the world’s traffic will be between (or through) these points,” concluded the European airframer in its new 2012-31 market forecast, released in London on September 4.
Last week Airbus issued the latest installment of its future vision for aviation in 2050 and beyond, describing new ways of operating across all phases of flight. The company’s “Smarter Skies” vision centers on a “sustainable” aviation system that saves time, conserves fuel and reduces emissions. For the first time, the vision looks beyond smarter aircraft design to the efficiencies potentially derived from airspace optimization, or making the best use of the environment in which an aircraft operates, Airbus said.