Ten conversions of Airbus A330 airliners into Multi Role Tanker Transports (MRTTs) for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF), which were scheduled to be done by Cobham Aviation Services at Bournemouth Airport in the UK, have been switched to Airbus Military (AM) at Getafe, Madrid. Nearly half of the 675 workers at Bournemouth will lose their jobs because of the switch.
Royal Air Force
Farnborough International Airshow organizers are promising that both the static and flying displays for the 2012 air show will be as full as ever. Behind the scenes the display roster is fully booked, but airframers have yet to give clearance for all the aircraft to be publicly confirmed.
Hawker Beechcraft inked an order for six Beechcraft King Air 350i turboprops from Hawker Pacific yesterday at EBACE. The deal with Hawker Pacific, a business aircraft sales and support firm in the Asia Pacific region, will support Hawker Beechcraft’s growing commercial and special missions operations across Australia and Southeast Asia. The six deliveries will be phased over the next three years, with the first delivery taking place later this year, three deliveries in 2013 and the final two aircraft being delivered in 2014.
Eurofighter signed a new, five-year support contract with NETMA, the NATO management agency that represents the four European partner nations in the combat aircraft program. As before, the Eurofighter industrial partners will deliver support to the individual air forces. Alenia values its part of the deal, to support the Italian air force, at more than $660 million. BAE Systems says its contract to support the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is worth $708.5 million. EADS values its future support to the German and Spanish air forces at more than $1.1 billion.
Officials from Raytheon UK and personnel from the Royal Air Force (RAF) are emphasizing the excellent performance of the Sentinel R.1 Airborne Stand-Off Radar (Astor) system over Afghanistan and Libya. They are hoping that the UK Ministry of Defence will reverse its 2010 decision to withdraw the ground surveillance system, which flies on five Bombardier Global Express business jets, after most British troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.
Even as Hawker Beechcraft announced in March that Brazil has become the Wichita OEM’s leading market for its civil aircraft line, the company was continuing to do battle with rival Sierra Nevada and its Brazilian partner Embraer over a light air support (LAS) contract potentially valued at close to $1 billion. Now, a new chapter in the competition has opened.
Hawker Beechcraft is evaluating whether the long-serving but still popular Baron 58 piston twin could be adapted for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
Raytheon has just conducted a successful trial of its Griffin B forward-launch small precision weapon. The test demonstrated the weapon’s capability to defend a forward operating base (FOB). The Griffin was fired from a fixed Wedge launcher against target coordinates more than 2.5 miles away provided by sensors mounted on a tethered aerostat, of the type that are typically raised to protect Army FOBs. The Griffin A aft-launch version is in service with the U.S. Marine Corps C-130 Harvest Hawk aircraft and the Air Force’s MC-130W Dragon Spear.
In the operations center at the Rolls-Royce factory in Bristol, UK, it is well past midnight, but engineers are still manning some of the dozen consoles, standing by to receive queries, consult databases and dispense their technical expertise to operators of the company’s military engines anywhere in the world.
A helicopter operating in the South China Sea suffers a lightning strike that forces it to take refuge on an oil platform, blocking its only landing pad from other movements. Within seconds of the engines shutting down, staff at AgustaWestland’s logistics center at Lonate Pozzolo near Milan are aware of the problem and a response plan is swinging into action that will see technicians assessing the extent of the damage and dispatching a replacement rotor within a few hours so that the aircraft can return to base to complete repairs without further disrupting operations.