In late 2001, successful Canadian oilman Don Jewitt, then principle investor in Alberta Aerospace of Calgary, decided the OEM start-up company had spent too much money in its effort to acquire and certify the two-seat Promavia Jet Squalus, which it had renamed the Phoenix FanJet.
The Pentagon’s aging aircraft concerns won’t go away. About 60 percent of the U.S. Air Force’s 440 F-15A/B/C/D interceptors have been cleared to resume flying after inspections for structural fatigue of the forward fuselage longerons. But cracks have been found in some airplanes, and the remaining 40 percent of the fleet could need repairs.
AgustaWestland and U.S. partners Lockheed Martin and Bell Helicopters have run into big trouble over the supply of 28 VH-71 helicopters to the U.S. Marine Corps for presidential transport duties. The VH-71 is a version of the European EH101 that is produced in the UK and Italy.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is promoting the ability of its Pathfinder thermal imager to provide pilots of support aircraft with the kind of brownout/whiteout imaging currently available to combat crews.
In separate efforts, Jet Aviation and Kollsman are the latest companies to explore possible anti-surface-to-air-missile (SAM) systems. Jet Aviation, a subsidiary of a Swiss-based company with U.S. headquarters in West Palm Beach, Fla., is reportedly in talks with possible system vendors Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
The first Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter) has now been grounded for nearly six months. On its 19th flight in early May, the aircraft encountered an electrical arcing problem in the flight control unit of the right horizontal tail. The F-35 has a unique electro-hydrostatic actuation system.
The long-running dispute between JetStar operators and Lockheed Martin continues, as the two dozen or so owners of the remaining 36 U.S.-registered Lockheed L-329 JetStars say they are just about out of patience with the defense contractor. Lockheed Martin inherited JetStar support under the same agreement through which it supports the L-1011 TriStar airliner. It has not produced either aircraft in decades.
The U.S. Air Force last month reiterated its intention to choose a single contractor for a new constellation of global positioning satellites known as GPS III. Teams led by Lockheed Martin and Boeing are competing for the contract to launch eight Block A GPS III satellites by 2013. The Air Force invited bids last month for these first satellites, the foundation for an enhanced system scheduled to start operating in 2018.
As original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for a large fleet of aircraft around the world, Lockheed Martin said it reduces ownership costs for its customers by combining its design and production expertise with low-cost sustainment services. “Noone– other than the customer–knows our aircraft better than we do,” said Marillyn Hewson, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Global Sustainment.
Embraer, the world’s fourth-ranking aircraft maker, which started largely as a defense company, is seeking to enhance its defense business by studying the possible development of the C-390, a medium-size military cargo transport, which would be the heaviest aircraft ever produced by the Brazilian manufacturer and take it into a new segment of the aerospace and defense market.