Britain’s Royal Household and Ministry of Defence are evaluating options for providing flights for Queen Elizabeth II and her family beginning April 1 next year, when existing military and private charter arrangements expire. The revival of an earlier plan to purchase a new head-of-state aircraft appears unlikely due to concerns about the continuing recession.
Royal Air Force
As negotiations to secure a future for Europe’s troubled A400M airlifter continue, the UK government is taking the hardest line with Airbus Military, and moving quickly to secure alternative solutions. At the meeting of defense ministers in Seville, Spain, last month, the UK vetoed a Franco-German proposal to delay a final decision until December.
Eurofighter hopes that the four partner nations will agree the technical specification for an active array radar for the Typhoon by year-end. To date, only a demonstration model of the E-scan Captor radar has flown on the combat jet.
The Eurojet EJ200 that powers the Eurofighter achieved a milestone earlier this month when the first engine to be completed to the full operational clearance standard surpassed 1,000 on-wing hours. Engine number EN1030 was built by Rolls-Royce at Filton and was delivered to the UK Royal Air Force in 2003. It has subsequently flown in two Typhoon aircraft stationed at RAF Coningsby without the need for any unscheduled maintenance.
How much more performance can be extracted from the King Air twin turboprop to satisfy surveillance requirements? The latest Model 350ER offers almost double the range and payload of the early King Airs, first flown more than 40 years ago. But in a quest to offer short-field performance from hot-and-high airfields, Hawker Beechcraft Corp.
Honeywell is at HeliExpo’09 with its Eurocopter AStar, which it uses to develop, test and demonstrate the company’s wide range of avionics for helicopters. During the convention, Steven Kilbourne, Honeywell chief pilot rotary-wing, is flying demos out of Fullerton Airport for interested customers and media representatives.
Eurofighter CEO Aloysius Rauen made a strong plea here yesterday for the four partner nations–the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain–to close the deal for 236 more Typhoon combat jets. “My highest goal is to ensure the continuity of production. That way we avoid extra cost,” he said. Rauen confirmed that the UK and Italy have requested information on what it would cost to buy fewer airplanes–or none at all.
Grob Aerospace is holdings talks in
Europe this week with an undisclosed prospective new investor. The proposed memorandum of understanding would provide fresh capital for Swiss-based parent company Grob AG that would allow it to buy complete control in its insolvent German manufacturing subsidiary, Grob GmbH.
The FAA on Tuesday awarded a $437 million contract to Raytheon to support the agency in training air traffic controllers.
After a year in which the BAE Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft has received unprecedented negative publicity in the UK, it’s hardly surprising that BAE Systems and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) are not showing the new MRA.4 version here at Farnborough. Four years after it first flew, the Nimrod MRA.4 has still not made a public debut.