Best known for its business aviation service portfolio, PremiAir International Group has a new CEO. Keith Marshall served 24 years in the British Army as a helicopter pilot and instructor before launching a career in the private sector that has included stops with Northrop Grumman; MGISC Toulouse; and Selex Galileo (formerly GEC-Marconi), where he held the title of executive v-p in the electronic warfare and battlespace divisions. Marshall’s appointment signals a drive to bolster PremiAir’s capabilities in aerospace systems markets, according to the company.
Ghana’s Civil Aviation Authority has grounded all McDonnell Douglas DC-8s registered in the African country. The CAA apparently issued the grounding on December 31 last year but published the notice on its website only last week. The CAA gave no reason for the grounding notice. The only two DC-8 operators in Ghana are on the European Union’s list of banned airlines.
After more than two years of negotiation, the governments of the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have agreed new terms covering the delivery of 48 Typhoon fighters. Under the original 2007 Project Salam contract, Saudi Arabia ordered 72 Typhoons, with BAE Systems acting as lead company for the Eurofighter consortium. The first 24 aircraft were delivered without issue, but the remaining 48 aircraft became the subject of debate.
The EASA has granted approval to BAE Systems Regional Aircraft for a BAe 146 part manufactured using 3-D printing (“additive manufacture”) technology. The part is a plastic breather pipe that prevents fogging of cabin windows. The pipes were originally made by injection molding in plastic but the tooling is no longer available. Making new tooling would have cost almost $23,000 and taken several months, followed by two more months to produce the parts, according to BAE.
Prime Minister David Cameron and French President François Hollande, together with their respective defense ministers Philip Hammond and Jean-Yves Le Drian, announced a series of new defense deals, building on the greater co-operation between the countries outlined in the 2010 Lancaster House agreement.
The cost of converting the UK’s fleet of 25 AW101 Merlin Mk3 transport helicopters for future use as Mk4s by the Royal Marines Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) will be £330 million ($545 million). British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed the amount during a visit to AgustaWestland’s Yeovil factory, where much of the work will be done. He also announced that the Anglo-Italian company is receiving a five-year follow-on integrated operational support (IOS) contract worth £430 million ($710 million) for the British Army’s Apache AH.1 fleet.
The UK Royal Navy (RN) deployed its first maritime UAS this week, when an Insitu Scan Eagle system was added to RFA Cardigan Bay, which is supporting the EU anti-piracy patrols off Somalia.
Helicopter operator Avincis Group and engineering support specialist Babcock International, both UK-based, are in discussions about establishing a joint venture. The talks are exclusive but there is no certainty they will lead to any transaction, the two companies pointed out. The British press has described the talks as a prelude to a likely takeover of Avincis, currently owned by KKR and Investindustrial, by Babcock. However, the two companies dismissed such stories as speculation.
Boeing has begun low-speed wind tunnel tests on the Boeing 777X, the company announced Monday. Testing started on December 5 in Farnborough, UK, at facilities run by testing partner QinetiQ. Boeing and QinetiQ recently signed an agreement to extend the wind tunnel partnership at Farnborough for another five years.
The heavy rain that forced organizers to cancel the last day of the Dubai Airshow was a metaphor for the main defense story of the week. The prospect of the UAE ordering a new fighter–specifically the Eurofighter Typhoon–had been talked up by UK officials in particular, and reinforced by an eve-of-show visit by the British Prime Minister.
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