British environmental protesters targeted business aviation today when they blockaded the main entrances to the London-area airports at Biggin Hill and Farnborough. The demonstrations were an offshoot of a week-long protest staged at London Heathrow Airport. At Biggin Hill, passengers and crew had to be temporarily diverted through alternative entrances while police forcibly removed protesters who had chained themselves to the gates.
Israel’s Elbit Systems (Chalet A332) has won contracts to supply its aviator’s night vision imaging system/head-up display (ANVIS/HUD) for the helicopters of two more as yet undisclosed NATO countries.
Airbus Military is offering to supply some A400M tactical airlifters to NATO on a “fractional ownership” basis. The proposal is designed to help smaller European countries that cannot afford to own such aircraft but that have been negotiating a similar pooling scheme (through NATO) with Boeing for the C-17.
France is buying the Lockheed Martin Hellfire II missile system to give its 40 Tiger HAD (Hélicoptère d’Appui Destruction) helicopters a versatile precision attack capability. The purchase is being handled under U.S. Foreign Military Sales and will be complete by 2012. Eurocopter has already begun integration of the Hellfire II on to the Tiger HAD version, working under contract to the European Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation.
The U.S. military is preparing to deploy a small number of unmanned “micro air vehicles” in Iraq in an effort to stem the damage caused by roadside bombs.
Built by Honeywell using ducted-fan technology, each MAV is small enough to fit in a backpack and can be used by soldiers with minimal training. It normally flies between 10 and 500 feet and relays video back to a handheld terminal.
Swiss-based aviation services provider Jet Aviation has tapped Norbert Marx as senior vice president and general manager of the company’s Basel unit. Marx succeeds 34-year company veteran Rainer Albecker, who will remain with Jet Aviation’s completions operation.
Travelers through both airline and general aviation terminals in the UK should expect longer delays from enhanced security screening and plan accordingly, according to a special report issued by Houston-based Air Security International (ASI) in the wake of today’s bombings in London.
FAA actions on 9/11 “demonstrated the urgency and initiative of many employees who were acting under intense pressure,” the agency said in a response to the findings last month of the 9/11 commission. But, the commission noted, the FAA faced a situation it had “never encountered or trained against” and no one involved had “perfect information” that morning.
Investigation continues into an explosive device found on April 7 in a men’s lavatory outside a secure area in the atrium at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. According to Air Security International, a bomb squad detonated the device. The FBI described the device as “similar to a military trip flare containing a highly flammable substance” capable of causing “very serious injury to anyone handling or tampering with it.”
AgustaWestland and Eurocopter have confirmed “their joint commitment to the NH90 program,” the two companies announced here at Heli-Expo’07. They will ensure that commitment is reaffirmed during meetings planned during the next few weeks between the NATO Helicopter Management Agency and government representatives. The NH90 backlog stands at 445 firm and 100 options ordered by 18 armed forces in 14 countries.