Alenia Aeronautica plans to begin training, early next year, employees of Strata, the new composites aerostructures company formed by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co. The Italian group, which has extensive experience with composites manufacturing, has been partnered with Mubadala (Stand C510) in the venture since October, when the sovereign wealth fund signed an agreement with its parent Finmeccanica (Stand C420).
Alenia Aeronautica is one of three companies within the Italian Finmeccanica group that deal with fixed-wing aircraft production. The others are Alenia Aermacchi, which is also active in both commercial and military aircraft, and Superjet International, the joint venture with Russia’s Sukhoi in the regional jet business. The company is eagerly awaiting the imminent maiden flight of the Boeing 787, which will open a new phase in the program.
The world financial crisis is hitting military budgets as well as commercial aviation, forcing Finmeccanica, Italy’s leading defense and aerospace group, to keep a close eye on the evolving situation.
Alenia Aeronautica’s Sky-Y unmanned technology demonstrator has completed its most recent series of tests in Italy. The Sky-Y has made 19 flights, in Sweden and in its home country, and the Finmeccanica subsidiary (Hall 2 Stand A165) claims that it is the only entirely European unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to have begun flight testing.
Finmeccanica subsidiary Alenia Aeronautica yesterday completed its acquisition of 25 percent plus one share of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC), Finmeccanica announced yesterday.
European manufacturer AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, is exhibiting four helicopters at Heli-Expo and plans to announce new orders and provide briefings on the AW109/119 and 139 models here today. On display are a Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) AW139, a Grand configured for executive transport, a high-gross-weight AW119ke Koala and an AW139 equipped for offshore operations.
European helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland and Russian conglomerate Oboronprom last month signed an agreement for a civil AW139 final assembly line near Moscow, less than six months after announcing the project’s outlines.
Finmeccanica’s Alenia Aermacchi division is launching a competition to find a nickname for its M346. The division’s CEO, Carmelo Cosentino, said the first low-rate initial production (LRIP) example flew on July 7, and that the aircraft is 700 kg lighter than the prototypes, giving it “much better maneuverability.” Aermacchi hopes to attract 35 to 40 percent of a market for around 2,000 advanced jet trainers over the next 25 years.
Alenia Aermacchi’s first pre-production M-346 lead-in fighter trainer made its official maiden flight on July 7 with Aermacchi chief test pilot Olinto Cecconello at the controls. The jet, painted in “Finmeccanica red” in a nod to Alenia Aermacchi’s parent company, had made three previous flights, all occurring the week before the first official public flight pictured here.
The Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) announced last week that it appointed Bruno Esposito as its new director of civil air transport. Esposito’s 30 years in aviation include pilot and air traffic control experience, followed by senior industry positions with Finmeccanica and BAE Consulting Services. He begins his new role at SBAC in September.