Quick RoundUp

Issue: 3 / 2020

AIRBUS

The A330-800 has received joint Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The aircraft’s certification flight-test campaign was undertaken on aircraft MSN1888, which successfully completed the programme in 370 flight test hours and 132 flights. The A330-800, part of a true new-generation A330neo family, is the most efficient longest range entry-level wide-body airliner.

Airbus SE, the Government of Québec and Bombardier Inc have agreed upon a new ownership structure for the A220 programme, whereby Bombardier transferred its remaining shares in Airbus Canada Limited Partnership (Airbus Canada) to Airbus and the Government of Québec. The transaction is effective immediately.

BOEING

Boeing through its subsidiary Tapestry Solutions, has announced that it has secured a five-year US Air Force contract to sustain and modernise the Global Decision Support System(GDSS), the principal command and control (C2) software platform that supports global Air Mobility Command (AMC) missions. GDSS helps mobility aircrews successfully plan and execute core missions, ranging from aerial refuelling to strategic airlift.

Boeing grounded its MAX series aircraft worldwide last year after two deadly crashes that were linked to faulty software. The company, however, remains optimistic that its fleet will receive the green light to go wheels up by summer of 2020. Boeing also said that it found debris contaminating the fuel tanks of “several” 737 Max passenger planes.

DASSAULT AVIATION

The French defence procurement agency, DGA, has said that Dassault Aviation’s Neuron unmanned combat air vehicle demonstrator has completed its fifth round of flight tests to enable future decisions about the Future Combat Air System programme. The fifth series of testing was carried out in cooperation with Dassault Aviation and the services. One of its objectives was to study the use of a stealth combat drone in an operational context, including possible defensive tactics against such an air vehicle.

FRANCE AND GERMANY

The governments of France and Germany have awarded Dassault Aviation, Airbus, together with their partners MTU Aero Engines, Safran, MBDA and Thales, the initial framework contract (Phase 1A), which launches the demonstrator phase for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). This framework contract covers a first period of 18 months and initiates work on developing the demonstrators and maturing cutting-edge technologies to carry out flight tests as early as in 2026.

INDRA

On February 13, 2020, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) signed a Performance Based - Contractor Logistic Support (PB-CLS) contract with the Spanish company INDRA. The contract covers the complete life cycle support of three long range air surveillance radars in the Republic of Lithuania.

IRGC

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) has announced that it has developed a lightweight variant of its Fateh-110 family of tactical ballistic missiles called the Raad-500. According to the reports the Raad-500 has a range up to 500km and is also equipped with new Zoheir engines made of composite materials lighter than earlier steel models.

JAPAN

Japan’s Ministry of Defence has been quietly making plans for a new stealth fighter to replace the F-2, one capable of outclassing the numerically superior Chinese Air Force. Nicknamed the “Godzilla” fighter by observers due to its size, the Mitsubishi F-X is expected to enter service in 2035.

LOCKHEED MARTIN

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, will build six production VH-92A Presidential Helicopters under a contract from the US Navy. These helicopters are part of the 23 aircraft programme of record for the US Marine Corps. Sikorsky will begin deliveries of six VH-92A helicopters in 2022. The remaining production aircraft will be delivered in 2022 and 2023.

RUSIA

Russian Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Pankov announced on February 11n this year that a modern air defence system would be sent to the Russian military base in Northern Kyrgyzstan. Moscow and Bishkek have been discussing it for several years and placing the system at the Kant military base some 40km from Bishkek, is a rather logical step in creating a unified air defence system for the Commonwealth of Independent States.

TASS reported that Russia’s Defence Ministry plans to sign a new contract in the summer for the delivery of several dozen Sukhoi Su-34 frontline bombers to their Air Force with their combat capabilities expanded under the Sych experimental design work. The Sych experimental design work was completed in 2019 and it envisages installing under slung reconnaissance containers on Su-34s.

UNITED STATES

Between February 3 to 12 this year, the US Strategic Command showcased its ability to conduct coordinated, worldwide operations to reassure partners and allies as well as accomplish its primary mission of global strategic deterrence with the conclusion of a series of operational events and tests of the nuclear triad which included long-range bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

On February 15, 2020, President Donald Trump objected to US proposals that would prevent companies from supplying jet engines and other components to China’s aviation industry and suggested he had instructed his administration not to implement them. Trump said that national security concerns, which had been cited as reasoning for the plans, should not be used as an excuse to make it difficult for foreign countries to buy US products.

According to reliable sources, the US government is considering whether to stop General Electric Coompany from continuing to supply engines for a new Chinese passenger jet, causing uncertainty over China’s efforts to enter the civil aviation market. The potential restriction on the engine sales - possibly along with limits on other components for Chinese commercial aircraft, is the latest move in the battle between the world’s two largest economies over trade and technology.

US ARMY

The US Army has recently awarded LONGBOW Limited Liability Company (LBL), a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman Corporation, a five-year sustainment indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for up to $235.8 million to provide post production support services for the AH-64 Apache helicopter AN/APG-78 LONGBOW Fire Control Radar to international customers.

US NAVY

Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support (NAVSUP WSS) has renewed a $2.3 billion H-60 Seahawk Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contract with Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission System (LMRMS). The PBL renewal is NAVSUP WSS’ fourth PBL contract with LMRMS since 2004 and runs from February 2020 to January 2027, a five-year period of performance and an option to extend by two years.