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12-18 March 2019 I flightglobal.



Getting in
Why Australia is teaming up with
Boeing for loyal wingman project

ISSN 0 0 1 5 - 3 7 1 0
£3.90 Powering ahead Blown away
1 1
Comac outlines plan to double UK waves off Tornados, as its
strength of C919 test fleet 11 last GR4s enter retirement 26
9 770015 371310
Cargo: The Digital Revolution
Hilton Amsterdam, 2-3 July 2019

Digital innovations
to drive profitability,
efficiency and
transparency in cargo
The air cargo market is massive. It is
currently valued at US$38.2bn and is just
one of the many modes of a much wider
logistics industry. Despite its size, a lot of the
industry is fragmented and very inefficient.
Digitalization can radically improve this,
however, owing to resistance, a lot of the
industry is still paper-based.

By attending this conference, you will have

the opportunity to learn from those that
have managed to overcome resistance
and implement digitalization – improving
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same time.

Find out more at

To attend, visit: or contact +44 (0)2079 111 993

To sponsor, contact Rebecca Covey T: +44 (0)2079 111 490 E:
To speak, contact Luke Hill T: +44 (0)2079 111 833 E:
volume 195 number 5677
12-18 March 2019

Luxaviation plans VIP

helicopter charter
alliance P24

Luxaviation Starspeed Helicopters

Jon Hemmerdinger and 30 Join the formation
12-18 March 2019 I

Garrett Reim headed to this week Boeing and the

Atlanta for the Heli-Expo 6 Farnborough calls off public displays Australian government’s
show (P16). Mavis Toh was 7 Delta pushes for NMA launch as lessor eyes Airpower Teaming
with Comac near Shanghai twin-track plan System concept aims to
for an update on its C919 8 Firebird blazes sales trail to Australia strengthen manned
aircraft in combat

Getting in
flight-test ambitions (P11) 9 Talks launched on A380 staff transition against emerging formation
Why Australia is teaming up with

threats – and cut costs

Boeing for loyal wingman project

Air transport ISSN 0 0 1 5 - 3 7 1 0

1 1
Powering ahead
Comac outlines plan to double
Blown away
UK waves off Tornados, as its

10 SAS will evaluate A321LR operations

strength of C919 test fleet 11 last GR4s enter retirement 26
9 770015 371310

FIN_120319_301.indd 1 06/03/2019 17:00

11 Three more C919s to join flight-test fleet

12 Flight limits ineffective against fatigue risk features
13 R-R stays upbeat on UltraFan prospects
26 Storming performer
news focus As the Royal Air Force’s last Panavia Tornado

15 MTU gears up for PW1100G rate rise strike aircraft retire, we look back at the type’s
23 Dassault navigates global market with prudence operational and technological contributions
next week digital
In our third digital-only issue heli-expo show report
of the year, we report from 16 Kopter touches down in USA with SH09
Everett, as Boeing unveils production facility
its new-generation 777-9
17 H145 lifted by five-blade rotor upgrade
18 Sikorsky makes B-line for S-92 modification
19 FARA need brings Swift response from MDHI
5 Comment 20 Northrop pursues B-52 radar update
35 Straight & Level 21 Trappier confident Rafale production secure
36 Letters
22 US Navy declares F-35C ready to fight
38 Classified
Crown Copyright

40 Jobs business aviation

43 Working Week 24 Alice takes charge with Siemens motor
25 Dassault preparing future Falcon effort

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CFM 2017 strip ad.indd 1 30/10/2018 10:12 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 3

19/07/2012 17:51

Image of
the week
Pictured during a recent
Middle East exercise, a
Boeing B-1B bomber from
the US Air Force and a
Qatari-operated Dassault
Mirage 2000 fighter fly in
formation to test command
and control procedures.
Both aircraft are due for
replacement in the coming
years with new models

View more great aviation

shots online and in our
weekly tablet edition:

US Air Force

The week in numbers Question of the week

Last week, we asked: Commercial supersonic flight? You said:

Aeroflot Group
Total votes: 1,110
Profits at Aeroflot Group fell in 2018 to just Rb5.7bn despite
sharp rise in revenue – it blames the soaring cost of jet fuel

Gone with Concorde
530 votes
Cirium Dashboard
48% Powering up afresh
400 votes
A 25% revenue boost helped South Korean budget carrier
T’way to match 2017’s full-year profit, overcoming a Q4 loss Environmental affront
16% 180 votes

Munich airport’s annual CO2 emission cut in tons, owing to
Munich airport
This week, we ask: Farnborough axing public days?
❑ Terrible loss ❑ Bettered by rivals ❑ No surprise
its world-first switch to using LED lighting in ramp areas Vote at

Cirium’s premium news and data service delivers breaking air transport stories with profiles, schedules, and
fleet, financial and traffic information

Download the Military

Simulator Census online now.
CAE – Your worldwide training partner of choice

4 | Flight International | 12-18 March 2019


Public interest
M any in the industry recall the first
time they visited an air show as a
formative experience that stirred their
passion for aviation and set them on
course for a career as a pilot, engineer, or
even aerospace journalist.
So the announcement that Farnborough
2020 will not include a public weekend for
the first time in more than 70 years may
seem like the end of an era, a symptom of
the decline of the world’s second largest
and second oldest air show.
However, Farnborough International’s

BAE Systems
decision had an inevitability about it. The
Saturday and Sunday element of the show
Into the sunset has struggled to attract the six-figure
crowds it once did, a victim of a changing

Last blast
industry, tougher air display rules follow-
ing the 2015 Shoreham crash, and evolving
consumer behaviour. The 2018 aerial dis-
play offered little new or exciting to lure
The UK’s final remaining Tornados have been powered down following an families from other weekend distractions.
astonishing service life, evolving from atomic strike platform to precision Even though 80,000 people still turned
up in 2018, pulling the plug now – and
attack specialist. What similar advances might its successors see over time? ­replacing the weekend with a charged-up
Friday that the public, and especially

O ut with the old, as the saying goes. This

week, we mark the Royal Air Force’s re-
tirement of its last Tornado strike aircraft, a
Martin F-35 Lightning is building its capabili-
ties, before being deployed for the first time.
Four decades hence, today’s cutting-edge
school students curious about aerospace,
will be encouraged to attend – is the right
thing to do.
half-century after it was conceived by the fighters, such as the Typhoon and F-35, will The show opened its doors to the public
three-nation Panavia consortium, and 40 also have been transformed in firepower in 1948 to demonstrate to ordinary Britons
years after it entered UK service. terms, perhaps with directed energy weapons, where their taxes were going, as the
With the Cold War at its height, the Avro but almost certainly by flying in formation ­cash-strapped country geared up for the
Vulcan replacement packed a mighty punch, with autonomous unmanned systems. Cold War and an exciting new age of
with automatic terrain-following capability, ­commercial aviation.
precision targeting and the supersonic speed Exhibitors must now put their support
needed to deliver the WE177 atomic bomb
What could have become a behind Farnborough International’s deci-
against targets within the Soviet Union. An Cold War relic was instead sion by not deserting the show when the
air-defence version also followed, to guard trade departs on Thursday, shutting stands
British skies against Russian intrusion. transformed into the RAF’s and shipping out aircraft.
Scroll forward to January 2019, and the Instead, they should take the opportuni-
RAF’s Tornado GR4 force was flying its final
offensive weapon of choice ty to engage fully with Friday’s visitors.
combat missions over Iraq and Syria, armed After all, several of them will be designing,
with precision-guided Paveway IV bombs building, or piloting their products in the
and Brimstone air-to-surface missiles capable As we bid farewell to the UK’s long-serving decades to come. ■
of making pinpoint attacks from the relative Tornados – continually deployed on overseas See This Week P6
safety of medium altitude. Its arsenal also operations since 1991 – our attention must
included the Storm Shadow cruise missile, shift to a new generation of air power. What planes?
able to hit strategic targets when released Elsewhere this issue, we report on the
from beyond the reach of enemy air defences. F-35C hitting initial operational capability
Technological and operational advances with the US Navy, and Kratos’s unmanned
made throughout the Tornado’s duty period XQ-58A Valkyrie getting airborne for the US
transformed what could have become a Cold Air Force Research Laboratory. Dassault is
Andy Rain/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

War relic into the RAF’s offensive weapon of talking up its bold hopes for a Franco-German
choice. Eurofighter Typhoons have assumed Future Combat Air System project, while
the GR4’s duties, in mid-February making Boeing has lifted the veil on its own “loyal
their first strike using Brimstone weapons, wingman” pact with the Australian military.
against Islamic State militants inside Iraq. At We will certainly miss you, mighty Tonka.
the same time, the UK’s first squadron to have But in with the new… ■
been equipped with the stealthy Lockheed See Feature P26 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 5

This week

cathay eyes hong kong express purchase
ownership Cathay Pacific says it is “in active discussions”
about a potential acquisition of low-cost rival Hong Kong
Express. Talks are being held with China’s HNA Group, which
holds a 45% stake in the budget carrier. HK Express launched in

2005, connecting Hong Kong with secondary cities in China.
Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer shows that it has 24 aircraft in its all-
Airbus fleet: 11 A321s, eight A320ceos and five A320neos.

atlas transcript backs loss of control Red Arrows visited last show, but restricted aerobatic manoeuvres
investigation The US National Transportation Safety Board
has completed an initial review of the cockpit-voice recorder air show david kaminski-morrow london

Farnborough calls
from an Atlas Air Boeing 767-300ER Freighter which crashed
southeast of Houston on 23 February, killing all three crew
members. “Crew communications consistent with a loss of con-

off public displays

trol of the aircraft” began 18s prior to the end of the cockpit-
voice recording, the agency says.

nepal secures skytruck financing

procurement The USA is providing Foreign Military Weekend programme axed from 2020 event as organiser
Financing support worth $19 million for a pair of PZL Mielec focuses on trade exhibition and driving industry interest
M28 Block 50 utility transports, for delivery to Nepal. The
Skytrucks will be produced in Mielec, Poland, by the Sikorsky
subsidiary. Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer shows that the Nepal Army
Air Wing operates a single M28, aged just over 16 years.
O rganisers of the UK’s Farn-
borough air show are axing
the event’s public weekend dis-
show’s organisers has been the
tightening of operating guidelines
at UK events following the crash
play, reducing its week-long du- of a Hawker Hunter during the
great dane embarks on european journey ration to a five-day programme Shoreham air show in 2015, in
routes Scandinavian start-up Great Dane Airlines plans to concentrating on trade aspects. which 11 bystanders were killed.
commence services on three routes from the second half of The event – held every two The Farnborough airport site has
June. The Aalborg, Denmark-based carrier indicates that flights years, alternating with the Paris also seen a high level of residen-
to Dublin will begin on 21 June, followed within less than a air show – has traditionally tial property development around
week by connections to Edinburgh and Nice. The airline says it capped its five-day trade focus its perimeter over the past decade.
has selected Embraer regional jets to operate its services. with two days of flying displays Farnborough International
that are open to the public. But says it wants to focus on high-
maine erj-145 overrun injures four organiser Farnborough Interna- lighting new technology and
mishap Three passengers and a pilot sustained minor injuries tional confirms that it will be “re- manufacturing by allowing pub-
when a CommutAir Embraer ERJ-145 being operated for moving” the weekend public lic access to its exhibition halls.
United Express left the runway at Presque Isle airport in Maine days from its 2020 iteration, in- While chief executive Gareth
on arrival from Newark Liberty on 5 March. The regional jet “slid stead allowing some public ac- Rogers says the axing of the
to the right of the runway” on landing, before ending up on its cess on its final trade day. weekend show will “disap-
belly in snow. Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer shows that N14171 was Farnborough’s most recent pub- point”, he believes the change
built in 2004, and had been in use with CommutAir since 2016. lic days have attracted criticism will help exhibitors and trade
from enthusiasts, not least be- visitors to access valuable talent.
aercap fuels flybosnia expansion cause many of the new aircraft “Allowing the public to see
growth FlyBosnia has struck a deal with AerCap to lease displayed and demonstrated dur- more of the people, products and
three additional Airbus A319s to be delivered later this year, as ing the trade days have departed processes that underpin the global
it prepares to begin commercial operations. Cirium’s Fleets from the Hampshire site before aerospace, defence and space in-
Analyzer shows that the Sarajevo-based carrier already had the weekend event. On some oc- dustries will help engage and in-
committed to taking one example from the lessor. FlyBosnia casions the flying display has spire a new generation,” he adds.
intends to serve destinations in Europe and the Middle East. been sparse, with aircraft going up The organiser believes the
twice to fill out the programme. show can attract young visitors
for your listening pleasure Attractions at the most recent and encourage them to consider
podcast Flight International sister magazine Airline Business event last July included the careers in these sectors.
is now producing a regular podcast where journalists from our Blades aerobatic display team Farnborough International
global team discuss the latest industry developments. The and a Spanish navy Boeing adds that there will be a flight
podcast is initially monthly, coinciding with each new issue of AV-8B Harrier, with others – like display on each of the five days of
Airline Business. You can subscribe via Apple or Android apps, the Airbus A220, A330neo and its next show, which will take
and it also available via web browsers using SoundCloud. Boeing 737 Max – having left place from 20-24 July 2020. ■ ­earlier in the week. Additional reporting by
Another factor affecting the Craig Hoyle

6 | Flight International | 12-18 March 2019

Firebird blazes
sales trail to
This week
This Week P8

strategy Edward Russell Washington DC & Sophie Segal New York management

Delta pushes for NMA launch O’Leary favours

Lewis Harper brussels

woman as new
as lessor eyes twin-track plan chief at Ryanair
US carrier’s chief executive provides clear signal to Boeing of interest in future widebody
R yanair chief executive Mi-
chael O’Leary would like a

B oeing has received fresh

­encouragement to launch its
proposed New Mid-market
9,300km), aiming directly at the
heart of the so-called middle-of-
the-market between Boeing’s
But while the NMA has fre-
quently been thought of as a sin-
gle aircraft type, Steven Udvar-
woman to take over as head of
the group’s mainline operation,
although his preference for an
­Airplane (NMA) from a key air- largest 737 Max and smallest 787. Hazy, Air Lease executive internal candidate appears to
line customer, although one les- Airbus argues that rather than chairman, says that Boeing could limit his options.
sor believes the airframer will developing an all-new model, its end up building two new aircraft: Explaining at the A4E Summit
end up building not one, but two, A321LR – a longer-range version one for range and another for op- in Brussels on 6 March that he
different models. of the A321neo – and A330neo- timal economics. expected the new chief execu-
Although recent indications family aircraft can take on the “The NMA programme is a tive to be in place by year-end,
are that Boeing will wait until missions performed by the 757 huge undertaking,” says Udvar- O’Leary expressed a desire to
2020 to officially launch the and 767. Hazy, often credited with “break from the past”. At the
NMA, it could begin to offer the redirecting Airbus’s original
­ same time, however, he suggests
new jet to airlines this year. neo a rival plans for the A350, speaking at that a current Ryanair employee
While its decision will depend Delta has firm orders for 35 A330- the JP ­Morgan event. is the most likely appointee.
on deep market analysis, the air- 900s, with the first due in the “It will involve new ways of “If I had a choice, I’d have a
framer will have nonetheless been next few months. The airline producing airplanes. Boeing female, just because that would
heartened by the response of Delta plans to introduce them on inter- knows it has a lot of work to do. be a very significant break with
Air Lines chief executive Ed Bas- national flights from its Seattle With the scars they have from the the past in Ryanair,” he says,
tian to the proposal. Tacoma hub in July. 787 programme – cost overruns, adding that he thinks “it’s likely
“We are still very interested in United Airlines continues to delays, problems with subcon- to be an internal candidate,
it,” he told a JP Morgan confer- evaluate both the A330neo and tractors, partners – they are tak- because they understand the
ence on 5 March. “Boeing hasn’t NMA proposal for its mid-market ing a thoughtful approach.” business”.
decided if it’s going to launch that needs, while American Airlines While some airlines are keen Of the nine “senior execu-
aircraft – we hope they will.” has opted for additional 787-8s to on range, others are focused on tives” listed on Ryanair’s web-
Delta has upwards of 200 air- replace its 767s. the lowest cost per seat kilometre. site, just one is a woman: chief
craft that it could replace with the Bastian’s comments are not “Some of the Asian airlines are risk officer Carol Sharkey.
NMA, says Bastian, citing both its the first time he has expressed less interested in range and more “I would want somebody who
Boeing 757 and 767 fleets. strong interest in the NMA. Last interested in a higher capacity has the opposite of my limited
The airframer maintains that if June, he told an audience at the version, delivering the most opti- skillset,” says O’Leary. “So,
it launches the new aircraft, it US Chamber of Commerce that mal economic performance,” somebody female, empathetic,
will debut in 2025. Delta had held discussions with Udvar-Hazy says. “Ultimately, I caring, kind. As opposed to a ra-
The widebody NMA would the airframer on “being a think it’s driving towards two dif- pacious bastard like me for the
seat 200-270 passengers with a ­potential launch customer” for ferent models. Boeing will have last 30 years. I think it would be
range of 4,000-5,000nm (7,400- the aircraft. to address which comes first.” ■ very good for the company.”
He clarifies that the process to
Airline could replace identify the new mainline chief
its 757 and 767 fleets executive will not be started
with proposed twinjet until Ryanair has released its
full-year results.
“The plan is, we’ll advertise
internally and externally, do the
full-year results in May, we’ll
run the ads at that stage, we’ll
­recruit some time in September
and October and look to have
them in place by the end of the
year,” he says.
O’Leary suggests that an exter-
nal candidate is unlikely to take
up the role unless an “exception-
al” person applies.
As part of a restructuring at

Ryanair, O’Leary is stepping up

to a group chief executive role. ■ 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 7

This week

demonstration greg waldron Melbourne

Firebird blazes sales trail to Australia

Long-endurance, optionally-piloted type suitable for wide range of missions across country, says Northrop Grumman

N orthrop Grumman sees po-

tential for its Firebird op-
tionally piloted intelligence, sur-
c­ontinent with lots of water
around it,” Chappel notes.
“There are some upcoming activ-
Aircraft can fly as medium-altitude
platform for more than 30h
veillance and reconnaissance ities for missions that the Border
(ISR) aircraft in Australia, as the Force, for example, would be
type prepares for service entry in very interested in. We’re looking
the USA. and seeing how this might fit
A “US government customer” those requirements.”
will receive its first example “be- The Firebird’s ability to be
fore mid-year,” says Northrop flown as a manned aircraft allows
vice-president Brian Chappel. He it to either transit through or op-
declines to disclose further de- erate in civilian airspace. When
tails, but confirms that the same unmanned operations are prefer-

Alan Radecki/Northrop Grumman

buyer has placed multiple orders. able, the aircraft can be converted
The company plans to deploy a within 4h, and pilots also can
Firebird to Australia during the continue to operate it when in
second half of this year, to allow this configuration.
potential customers to get a feel Northrop says mission pay-
for it. Chappel says possible mis- loads can be swapped within
sions include overland and littoral 30min, with the aircraft able to
ISR, homeland security, commu- carry up to five simultaneously. The company claims that its greater payload flexibility versus a
nications, environmental moni- When operating as a medium-al- product has advantages over both manned type, along with the abil-
toring, and maritime surveillance. titude, long-endurance platform, manned and autonomous aircraft. ity to conduct manned operations
“[Firebird offers] endurance, the Firebird’s endurance is more These include lower operating in controlled airspace, unlike
and range – Australia is a big than 30h. costs, increased persistence and purely autonomous assets. ■

requirement Garrett Reim Atlanta

Crown Copyright

Airbus spins up trainer

bid with P&WC engine
A irbus Helicopters has select-
ed the Pratt & Whitney Cana-
da PW206B3 engine to power the
requirement,” said Chris Emerson,
head of Airbus Helicopters Inc,
announcing the selection at the
H135 light-twin it is proposing HAI Heli-Expo show in Atlanta.
for the US Navy’s helicopter Scott Tumpak, head of govern-
trainer replacement programme. mental programs and contracts at
The 640shp (477kW)-rated tur- Airbus Helicopters Inc, says that
boshaft is built in Longueuil, “based on the overall selection
milestone ­Quebec. P&WC already supplies criteria, Pratt & Whitney came
RAF’s Tornados fly into retirement engines for other trainer aircraft
in the US inventory, including
out on top”.
Airbus Helicopters is compet-
The UK Royal Air Force has ended 40 years of service by its the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II and ing against Leonardo with its
Panavia Tornado strike aircraft, with a final formation flight of T-44A Pegasus. TH-119 light-single, which is
nine GR4-model examples conducted from the RAF’s Marham The H135 is also offered with powered by P&WC’s 1,000shp
base on 28 February. Entering UK service as the GR1 in 1979, Safran Helicopter Engines Arrius PT6B-37A engine. The other
the Tornado was first used in combat in the 1990-1991 Gulf War, 2B2+ powerplants. likely contender in the competi-
and saw further use during campaigns over Afghanistan, Kosovo, “Pratt & Whitney [Canada] en- tion, the Bell 407, uses a single
Libya and Syria. The RAF says its Tornado force logged a com- gines power a large portion of the Rolls-Royce M250 turboshaft.
bined 185,603h on deployed operations between 1990 and the H135 fleet flying in North Ameri- The USN intends to procure
end of January, when its role in the UK’s Operation Shader com- ca, and we feel this choice rein- 130 helicopters to replace its fleet
mitment over Iraq and Syria passed to the Eurofighter Typhoon. forces the H135 as the best-value of Bell TH-57 Sea Rangers, with a
See Feature P26 solution for the navy’s initial decision due later this year. ■
entry rotary-wing pilot training See Show Report P16

8 | Flight International | 12-18 March 2019

SAS will evaluate
This week
A321LR operations
Air Transport P10

programme mavis toh singapore

Mitsubishi hails MRJ90

validation flight success

US Air Force
itsubishi Aircraft has start- the schedule with the FAA,” the
ed certification flight tests airframer says.
for its MRJ90 regional jet, The company’s fleet of MRJ Subsonic vehicle completed first 76min airborne trial on 5 March
launching the activity using its prototypes have so far logged
FTA-4 asset. more than 2,500 flight hours. unmanned systems greg waldron singapore
The company declines to give
further details about the trials,
The Japanese manufacturer re-
ceived type inspection authorisa- USAF lauds ride of the Valkyrie
which are ongoing at a flight-test tion from the JCAB last Decem-
facility in Moses Lake, Washing-
ton, but says that it is “getting
good results”.
ber, paving the way for it to
launch its certification campaign.
Mitsubishi Aircraft is working
K ratos Defense & Security Solu-
tions’ XQ-58A Valkyrie dem-
onstrator has conducted its first
Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Tech-
nology [LCAAT] portfolio, which
has the objective to break the esca-
Only the Japan Civil Aviation towards a mid-2020 delivery of sortie, launching a planned five- lating cost trajectory of tactically
Bureau (JCAB) is involved for the its first aircraft to launch custom- flight test campaign. relevant aircraft,” the USAF says.
time being, although Mitsubishi er All Nippon Airways. Performed from the Yuma Also referred to as a Loyal
Aircraft’s earlier plans had called Meanwhile, the company has Proving Grounds in Arizona on 5 Wingman, the Valkyrie travels at
for US Federal Aviation Adminis- promoted Hiroyuki Tatsuoka March, the debut lasted 76min, high subsonic speeds. Flight test-
tration (FAA) personnel to be on to head its programme manage- the US Air Force says, adding ing will fall into two phases,
board at the same time. ment division, taking over the that the unmanned air vehicle spanning functionality, aerody-
“Communications were slowed portfolio from Alex Bellamy, performed as expected. namic performance and launch
during the US government shut- who continues to serve as chief “This joint effort falls within the and recovery. ■
down and we are now finalising development officer. ■ Air Force Research Laboratory’s See Cover Story P30

employment david kaminski-morrow london

Talks launched on A380 staff transition

Manufacturer says its twinjet programmes could provide internal transfer opportunities after cancelling superjumbo

A irbus has commenced dis-

cussions on personnel re-
structuring following its decision
tence conversion to enable per-
sonnel to switch between tasks
and programmes, supporting the
to terminate the A380 pro- redeployment.
gramme – some 3,000-3,500 jobs Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce has in
are likely to be affected over the its full-year results for 2018 re-
next three years. corded an exceptional item of
The airframer last month an- £186 million ($247 million) relat-
nounced that it is to halt produc- ing to Airbus’s decision to axe the
tion of the superjumbo, with last A380, for which the Trent 900
deliveries to occur during 2021. engine was an option.
Seventeen are still to be delivered, The charge reflects “onerous
with 14 of these to go to leading op- contracts, tooling write-offs and

erator Emirates, along with a fur- the acceleration of depreciation

ther three for All Nippon Airways. Japanese carrier ANA will receive three of 17 remaining deliveries and amortisation on associated
Airbus says it has started talks Trent 900 programme assets”,
over the “redeployment” of staff blue-collar workers. It points out that the long-haul says R-R.
with labour representatives and Airbus presented its direction twinjet backlog – referring to its Its civil aerospace division in-
social partners across its facilities plan for the A380 programme A330neo and A350 programmes – curred a £162 million loss last year,
during a European works council which, it says, features a “smooth plus the ramp-up of single-aisle halving 2017’s £343 million re-
meeting. It indicates that the transition” of serial production production on the A320 family of verse, on revenue up 12% at £7.38
A380 jobs affected include 1,100- and future in-service support for narrowbodies means that a “signif- billion, driven by improved wide-
1,200 each in France and Germa- the operational fleet. The airfram- icant number” of opportunities are body engine pricing and higher
ny, 500-600 in the UK and 400- er insists that it is “dedicated to available for internal staff transfer. sales volumes of spare engines. ■
500 in Spain. The total includes managing industrial adaptations Airbus says it intends to estab- Additional reporting by Niall
2,100 white-collar staff and 1,300 responsibly and successfully”. lish services centred on compe- O’Keeffe 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 9


trial david kaminski-morrow london

SAS will evaluate A321LR operations

Long-range narrowbody variant can complement Scandinavian carrier’s twin-aisle operation, indicates chief executive

S candinavia’s SAS has out-

lined the strategic options for
deploying its new long-range Air-
the region to primary destina-
tions on its network.
While Gustafson says routes
bus A321LRs, stating that it will have yet to be determined, he
use the aircraft as a small-scale points to the examples of serving
test platform. New York from Aarhus, Denmark
SAS is intending to introduce or Bergen, Norway.
three of the variant from summer He adds that the A321LR can
2020. Chief executive Rickard also help the carrier “adapt long-
Gustafson says the airline intends haul operations to seasonality”,
to use them as a “starting point” citing its US route to Boston.
to “see what type of response we “We can operate Boston with a

get from the market”. widebody [aircraft] during sum-
He says SAS views the Airline currently operates 15 examples of re-engined A320neo jet mer,” he says. “But it’s not eco-
A321LR as a complement to its nomical to do that during winter.”
widebody long-haul operation, American east coast, as well as craft to provide more direct long- Combining a twin-aisle
and that the aircraft should be ca- India and the Middle East. haul connectivity from Scandina- operation for the peak season

pable of reaching the North It is considering using the air- via, linking secondary cities in with the A321LR during the
low-demand periods would en-
able the airline to continue offer-
operations lewis harper brussels ing year-round service.
Aer Lingus cites handover hold-up in Montreal service delay Gustafson says the A321LR
will be configured with a three-
Aer Lingus has blamed “aircraft says the late arrival of aircraft is ­ ircraft scheduled to arrive later
a class cabin, including lie-flat
delivery delays” relating to its in- also causing a “temporary reduc- in 2019.” seats in premium.
coming Airbus A321LRs for its tion in frequency on four transat- This also indicates the carrier He stresses that the conserva-
decision to push back the launch lantic routes” during July. Those has made a revision to its previ- tive introduction of the A321LR
of Dublin-Montreal service. routes are: Dublin to Bradley, ously stated plan for its first is in line with SAS’s strategy of
The Irish carrier is still expect- Connecticut, Minneapolis, A321LR to go into service on its seeking profitable expansion,
ing to take delivery of four Minnesota, and Philadelphia, Dublin-Hartford, Connecticut “rather than growth for the sake
A321LRs in 2019, as previously Pennsylvania; and Shannon to route from 1 July. of growth”.
announced, but the Canadian New York JFK. The operator currently serves SAS will carry out an evaluation
route will now launch in summer “We’re expecting all four deliv- Hartford with Boeing 757-200s, of the performance of the initial
2020, rather than 8 August this eries of the A321LR to take place while the Montreal service is new. few aircraft and, says Gustafson,
year as originally planned. in 2019,” Aer Lingus says. “The Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer shows “either scale up or scale down”.
Aer Lingus has not provided a first two aircraft will be ready for that the Irish flag carrier has a to- The carrier presently has 15
detailed explanation of the deliv- commercial operation in late tal of eight A321LRs on order, all A320neos in service, records
ery delays, nor any reasons, but summer, with the other two via Air Lease. ■ ­Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer. ■

Alaska cabins are Virgin on complete
Alaska Airlines will begin operating Airbus aircraft with interior
­upgrades including new premium seats this year, with the goal of
updating 36% of its cabins by early 2020. “Just two years after ac-
quiring Virgin America, we’re thrilled to introduce a modern cabin
that aligns the onboard experience across our fleet,” Alaska presi-
dent Ben Minicucci states. Cabins will be modified with brand
­elements from Virgin America following customer feedback.
Minicucci describes it as a “premium experience at an affordable
price”. The first of Alaska’s fleet to be upgraded this year will be
A320-family aircraft, while Boeing 737-700s will be adapted by
2020. Alaska’s new 737 Max 9s, including three due to arrive this
Alaska Airlines

year, are also to have the updated interiors.

10 | Flight International | 12-18 March 2019

747 flap loss probe
highlights previous
Air Transport P12

programme mavis toh shanghai incident

Comac prepares three more

david kaminski-morrow

Engine door fell

C919s to join flight-test fleet from Q400 after
a ‘false’ closure
Manufacturer still targeting 2020 type certification goal for domestically built twinjet

C omac aims to have three

more C919 prototypes air-
P oor adherence to procedures
during maintenance resulted
in the loss of an engine cowl door
borne this year, raising to six its from an Aurora Bombardier
fleet of flight-test aircraft, as it Q400 departing Vladivostok, in-
works towards type certification vestigators in Russia have found.
in 2020. The aircraft (RA-67260) had
The jets, which are in various taken off for a service to Yuzhno-
stages of final assembly, are Sakhalinsk on 18 September last
scheduled to roll out at a rate of year but, within 3min, air traffic
one every three months, begin- control advised the crew that part
ning in the second quarter. of the airframe had separated.

Bryan van der Beek/Comac

During a visit to Comac’s C919 Federal air transport regulator
production line near Shanghai Rosaviatsia states that a door
Pudong International airport in from the right-hand engine was
late February, a number of its found to be missing after the
flight-test vehicles were present. Design changes on rudder have required structural modifications Q400 returned to Vladivostok.
Aircraft 102, which first flew It says the door was not closed
in late 2017, had its engines re- modified for flight tests,” says Meanwhile, aircraft 104 is un- properly after maintenance on the
moved. Comac tells FlightGlobal Comac. The original powerplants dergoing cabling works and the aircraft at night in low-light condi-
the jet is primarily tasked with from aircraft 102 will, in turn, be nose cone, wing-tips, landing- tions. Neither the ground person-
propulsion system activities. installed on aircraft 104, it says. gear and engines are not yet at- nel nor the crew, during pre-flight
“Part of the test modules re- Aircraft 103 has had its rudder tached. Power-on is due at the checks, noticed the “false” closure
quire the engines to undergo removed after some design chang- end of March, with flight testing of the door’s latches, it says.
modifications. According to plan, es, FlightGlobal understands. The to commence in the first half. Quality control was not carried
[the engines on] aircraft 102 will aircraft, which took its first flight Comac says aircraft 105 is un- out, and preparation of the aircraft
be replaced with engines that in December 2018, is due to return dergoing fuselage join, while 106 was conducted “poorly” with “de-
have had their configuration to operations in March. is in sub-assembly. ■ viations” from requirements. ■

marketing david kaminski-morrow london

A319 retro livery leaves original red wings behind

W hile British Airways prede-
cessor BEA’s aircraft fea-
tured distinctive all-red wing sur-
scheme being applied to the flag
carrier’s retro-livery Airbus A319.
The UK airline states that com-
ultra-violet radiation.
Solar absorptivity of colours is
such that only schemes with
tion to prevent cracks and peel-
ings, and to protect the metal
underneath,” the airline tells
faces, technical considerations posites used for the upper wing higher-reflectivity shades “lighter FlightGlobal.
have prevented the same colour structure are “very sensitive” to than grey” are usually permitted, “This left a very small part of
it adds. the wing that could be painted
BEA’s fleet – which included red and it was decided that this
such types as the Vickers Viscount would look wrong.”
and Vanguard, the De Havilland The underside of the A319’s
Comet and the Hawker Siddeley wings, however, do carry a red
Trident – were painted with red surface.
wings as part of the “Red Square” BA showed off the A319, one
livery replicated on the A319. of four aircraft to be painted in
BA says consideration of the retro schemes for the carrier’s
Max Kingsley-Jones/FlightGlobal

materials used in the production 100th anniversary, during an

of the Airbus wings prevented a event at London Heathrow air-
faithful reproduction. port on 4 March. ■
“Manufacturer recommenda- Watch our interview with BA’s
tion is to use a flexible wing retrojet first officer Holly Sims:
Modern regulations mean only highly reflective colours can be used coating on the metallic wing sec- 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 11



Survey flags flight

limits as ineffective
against fatigue risk
Study reports similar impacts from 10h or shorter duties

Nick Ut/AP/REX/Shutterstock
and recommends strategies going beyond scheduling

P rescriptive flight-duty limits

are not sufficient, by them-
selves, to prevent the risk of high
es or night duty – during the opti-
mum sleep interval. A total of 24
airlines and 381 crew members Crew alertness levels are most affected by window of circadian low
fatigue levels during night flights, contributed to the collation of
investigation by a European avia- field data as part of the analysis. subgroups of high-fatigue night Six recommendations have
tion consortium has found. The field study showed an duty periods, occurring at specif- emerged from the research, in-
The conclusion emerged from “increased probability” of high ic times, which are not recog- cluding advice to take into account
research led by the Dutch aero- fatigue levels at top-of-descent nised in the regulations. the subgroups of night duty peri-
space centre NLR and Stockholm during night and late-finish “Distinguishing these subtypes ods and to apply measures to miti-
University, which commenced flight-duty periods. could help operators to design ef- gate the fatigue effect of late-finish
two years ago as part of the moni- There was also “no significant fective fatigue risk management periods, regardless of duration.
toring process for European difference” in fatigue at top-of- strategies,” it says. But it adds that the specific
flight-duty legislation. descent between night duties For disruptive schedules night duty ending at 06:00 or later,
It ranked six duty periods ac- longer than 10h and shorter duty classed as early-start duty periods, combined with a pre-02:00 start,
cording to severity of fatigue, and periods at night. Both were af- no significant increase in the prob- shows the greatest probability of
initially focused on the two high- fected, says the study, a finding ability of high fatigue at top-of-de- fatigue – a period which coincides
est-placed candidates – those ex- which is “not fully reflected” in scent was found. with a window of circadian low.
ceeding 10h at less-favoured current duty-time regulations. Simply adjusting the flight-duty Operators should be required to
times, and those involving dis- While regulations explicitly period duration might not serve as pay “specific attention” to these
ruptive schedules. note the need for fatigue risk man- a sufficient defence against fatigue periods in their risk-management
Crews experience disruptive agement with night duties longer during longer night duties, the strategies, and guidance material
schedules when their roster inter- than 10h, there is no similar re- study says, pointing out that there should emphasise crews’ obtain-
feres with the sleep opportunity quirement for shorter periods. are other strategies – unrelated to ing sufficient sleep before all night
– through early starts, late finish- The study also identifies three scheduling – that could be used. duties, independent of duration. ■


747 flap loss probe highlights previous occurrences

G erman investigators probing
the loss of a Boeing 747-
400ER freighter’s flap on landing
that an inboard fore flap from the
starboard wing was missing.
This flap is around 8m (26ft)
at Frankfurt Main have indicated long and was later found along
that previous incidents on the with guide and mounting compo-
type resulted from corrosion and nents, hours later, near the touch-
inadequate lubrication of parts. down zone of runway 07R, where
The Turkish-registered MyCar- the aircraft had arrived at 05:07.
go Airlines aircraft (TC-ACM) had Two pilots and a mechanic had
been operating from Dammam on been on board the jet. The pilots
behalf of Saudia’s cargo division. told the inquiry that the landing
Investigation authority BFU had appeared normal and that, in
says an alert on 16 September 2018 the darkness, no damage to the jet
indicated that an aircraft parked at had been noticed. The alert over
stand S506 had substantial damage the damage came some 3h later.
to the leading edge of its vertical fin BFU says “several” events have

as well as punctures and scratches occurred involving the loss of such

to the right side of its fuselage. flaps on the 747, including two at
Starboard wing control surface became detached during landing Extension of the flaps showed Frankfurt, in 2009 and 2014. ■

12 | Flight International | 12-18 March 2019

MTU gears up for
PW1100G rate rise
News Focus P15

propulsion michael gubisch london

R-R stays upbeat on UltraFan prospects

Powerplant producer “optimistic” scalability will help keep programme in play with big two despite NMA withdrawal

R olls-Royce sees a range of po-

tential applications for its Ul-
traFan future engine programme,
by engines from CFM Interna-
tional, a joint venture between
GE and Safran.
despite the manufacturer’s with- R-R, for its part, is Airbus’s
drawal of its bid to power Boe- sole engine supplier for the
ing’s proposed New Mid-market A350 and A330neo, and will
Airplane (NMA). provide its Trent 900 engine for
Chief executive Warren East the small number of remaining
acknowledged during a 28 Febru- A380 orders.
ary results briefing that GE Avia- East says the UltraFan pro-
tion has become a dominant en- gramme – which involves a new
gine supplier to Boeing, while engine core and geared fan archi-
R-R holds a similar position on tecture – is scalable to provide

Airbus long-haul aircraft. 25,000-100,000lb-plus (111-
He says, however, that R-R has 446kN) of thrust, making it capa-
no intention to further “accentu- First likely candidate that could take new engine is A350, says East ble of powering short- or long-
ate” that situation. haul aircraft.
GE is the sole engine supplier the majority of engines for the erplant is offered as an option. The first opportunity to pro-
for the Boeing 777, 747-8 and in- 787 – the only in-production In addition, all 737s since the vide an UltraFan variant will
development 777X, and provides Boeing type on which a R-R pow- Classic series have been powered probably be on a widebody, with
the A350 being a likely candidate
for a potential re-engining effort,
strategy East says.
Boss insists his firm will waste no more time planning for Brexit But he says that R-R has a
“very rich and very healthy”
UK engine maker Rolls-Royce be- tions and that the company is now sign approval processes for large relationship with Boeing, and
lieves it has sufficient contingencies as “ready as we can be” for that engines from its Derby headquar- that he is “quite optimistic” that
in place for a no-deal Brexit and eventuality on 29 March. ters to Dahlewitz in order to keep the UltraFan will find an
says it will not “waste” any more R-R has built up “necessary” regulatory activities within the application with both the big
time or resources on the scenario. buffer inventories to ensure mate- jurisdiction of the European two airframers.
“Brexit has wasted a huge rial supplies in the event of cus- Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). East says that while participa-
amount of a lot of people’s time toms-related hold-ups, and EASA type approval documen- tion in the NMA programme
over the last several months. And transferred job functions – albeit tation recently showed a large would have been “very good” for
it is not going to waste any more no actual jobs – relating to regula- number of engine type R-R, the UK manufacturer con-
of our time,” says chief executive tory approvals over to its German ­certificates – including those for sidered it unfeasible to develop
Warren East. site at Dahlewitz, near Berlin. all its in-production Trent-series an UltraFan derivative with suffi-
He says R-R has spent a “long In 2018, R-R disclosed that it powerplants – transferred to the cient maturity within Boeing’s
time” making no-deal prepara- was considering a move of its de- German operation. ■ timeframe. ■

development david kaminski-morrow london

First serial MC-21 ready to fly under PD-14 power

R ussian airframer Irkut is to in-
stall domestically-built Avi-
advigatel PD-14 engines on the
later this year.
The twinjets in the test fleet
have so far been fitted with Pratt
Irkut stresses that it is “not
abandoning” its partnership with
P&W, or taking any action to
MC-21 development has been
affected by the sanctions, largely
due to restrictions on the supply
first serial production MC-21. & Whitney PW1400G engines. “worsen” its relationship with of composite material, with serial
The company disclosed its in- But Irkut disclosed, following the firm, following the US gov- production put back to 2021.
tention after a visit to its Irkutsk as- Borisov’s visit, that the first serial- ernment’s extension of sanctions Aeroflot had been due to start
sembly line by Russian deputy production MC-21-300 will be to a number of aerospace firms. taking delivery of 50 MC-21-300s
prime minister Yuri Borisov. powered by the Russian-made Aviadvigatel was among the in the first quarter of 2020, the
Borisov observed progress on ­PD-14, which gained local certifi- entities added to an export ad- first 25 of which are supposed to
assembling the fourth flight-test cation last year. Irkut says this PD- ministration regulations list last be PW1400G-powered. The car-
MC-21-300, which is set to join 14-equipped airframe will be “in- year by the US Bureau of Indus- rier has an option to fit PD-14s to
the certification campaign fleet volved in flight tests”. try and Security. the remainder. ■ 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 13

Announcing the Schools
Aerospace Challenge 2019
Schools Aerospace Challenge helps 16-18 The RAF, the CAA and the Security Services are So, what are you waiting for?
year olds enter the real world of aviation keen to keep in front of the technology bow wave. Teams from schools, Air Training Corps and
and engineering, with the chance to attend other youth organisations can enter. Have you
Your challenge is to explore the nature of the
a residential summer school at Cranfield got what it takes? Get started on the Schools
potential threats posed particularly by small UAVs
University packed with exclusive events and Aerospace Challenge 2019.
and to conceive and develop a range of practical
experiences, and prizes of up to £3,000.
solutions or countermeasures to each of these For registration and competition details
The Challenge threats. go to
Technology has supported the proliferation of
The solutions should be both practical to produce
UAVs that have brought many benefits both or email
and economically sensible to employ. They should
commercially and militarily. This growth is
be designed to ensure that the RAF and the CAA
however, not without its challenges.
remain ahead of the potential threat.
Kopter touches
down in USA
with SH09 facility
Show Report P16

propulsion michael gubisch munich

MTU gears up for PW1100G rate rise

German manufacturer aims to hit 250 units a year by 2020 and is cutting costs using advanced production techniques

W hen MTU Aero Engines es-

tablished an assembly line
for the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G
at its Munich headquarters, the
German engine manufacturer
opted to develop a bespoke pro-
duction system, rather than copy-
ing the US firm’s process for build-
ing the geared turbofan (GTF).
MTU installed the production
line for the PW1100G – an option
on the Airbus A320neo family –
within its existing assembly hall,
on the second floor of an industrial
building previously used to manu-
facture engines for the Airbus De-
fence & Space A400M military air-
lifter, Airbus Helicopters Tiger
attack rotorcraft, Eurofighter Ty-

phoon and Panavia Tornado.
Production of the Eurofighter’s New assembly line featuring motorised carriers has targeted completion of each engine in eight days
Eurojet EJ200 and the MTR390 tur-
boshaft for the Tiger has been trans- ably as processes employed at the dling the PW1100G, and each en- pieces for PW1100G engines,
ferred to a different site, in Erding, US company’s own GTF assem- gine must undergo 20-24h of eval- alongside a number of other, non-
outside Munich. But the A400M’s bly facilities in Middletown, near uations, according to P&W’s critical parts as a first step in the
Europrop International TP400 tur- Hartford in Connecticut, and specifications. By comparison, an industrialisation process.
boprop is still assembled on a line West Palm Beach, in Florida. International Aero Engines The eyepieces are printed in
next to that for the PW1100G. The PW1500G variant for the V2500, an option on the A320ceo, an automated laser-melting pro-
For the geared turbofan, MTU A220 – the former Bombardier needs 8-10h of testing, MTU says. cess and require about 30h of pro-
developed a floor-based transport CSeries – is assembled at a Pratt & Two additional test cells are lo- cessing time per 16-unit batch.
system with remote-controlled Whitney Canada facility in Mira- cated at MTU’s overhaul shop in
carriers to move engines through bel, near Montreal, while Mitsub- Hannover, although availability is NECESSARY EXPENSE
the different assembly stations. ishi Heavy Industries Aero En- dependent on the maintenance, MTU acknowledges that relative-
The engine cores are horizontally gines produces PW1200Gs in repair and overhaul operation. ly high production costs com-
assembled on top of the carriers, Nagoya for Mitsubishi Aircraft’s P&W’s endurance requirements pared with traditional manufac-
and can be adjusted in height and in-development MRJ. The series mean there is little scope to trim turing techniques have been an
fully rotated around the engine’s also includes the PW1700G and test times in the short term, but obstacle for the adoption of 3D
main shaft for ease of access. PW1900G for Embraer’s E-Jet E2 MTU expects these to become less printing. But the company says it
Each carrier consists of two family, and the PW1400G as the stringent over time, as the engine has achieved double-digit sav-
motorised units, supporting the initial engine on Russia’s in-­ matures. The manufacturer has no ings on the borescope eyepiece
core’s fore and aft ends, connect- development Irkut MC-21. plans to build additional test cell and that its current production
ed by a removable, rigid link. capacity in Munich. costs are “very close” to target.
When the fan module is in- DEDICATED PROCESS Elsewhere at the Munich Traditional subtractive produc-
stalled, the front-end carrier will be MTU’s assembly line is focused plant, a few minutes’ walk from tion techniques – in this case
removed – the core is temporarily solely on the PW1100G, and rep- the assembly hall, MTU is work- milling borescope eyepieces from
supported by a separate stand – resents about one-third of GTF ing on new production processes solid nickel-chromium alloy –
and replaced with another carrier output for that model, the com- for GTF components and has es- incur cost penalties from tool
fitted with the fan section, using a pany says. tablished an additive manufac- wear and material waste, and
laser-guided alignment procedure. Having delivered about 125 ex- turing centre. The main purpose MTU is confident that any re-
The entire engine assembly amples in 2018, MTU plans to as- of this site – which hosts nine 3D- maining cost premium for 3D
process is designed to last eight semble around 200 of the engines printing machines – is to further printing will be eradicated in the
working days, with a target of this year, and further raise pro- develop and industrialise the foreseeable future.
producing one completed engine duction to 250 in 2020. technology for application in the The manufacturer is now in the
every 24h. Engine-testing capacity is a lim- production of engines. process of certificating 3D printing
MTU says it needed to demon- iting factor for MTU’s production MTU began experimenting with to produce more complex parts,
strate to P&W that the floor-based plan: there is only a single test cell 3D printing in 2010 and today rou- such as compressor seals featuring
production system works as reli- at the Munich site capable of han- tinely produces borescope eye- honeycomb structures. ■ 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 15

According to many exhibitors at this year’s Heli-Expo,
the future of the helicopter industry begins with the
letter “e”, as electric propulsion and eVTOL designs
and strategies abounded at the event, held from 5-7
March in Atlanta. But with the market for new helicopters
still becalmed, airframers also looked to the short
term, unveiling incremental upgrades for their existing

Garrett Reim/FlightGlobal
products. Jon Hemmerdinger and Garrett Reim report.
Additional contributions by Dominic Perry

development manufacturing

Nexus fans Bell’s

ambition to lead Kopter touches down in USA
future of air taxis with SH09 production facility
H elicopter stalwart Bell has
left the industry in no doubt
Swiss airframer reveals developmental light-single will be assembled at Louisiana site
that it aims to lead the sector in
developing autonomous urban
air taxis.
S wiss helicopter developer
Kopter plans to open an as-
sembly site for its developmental
– but before the first JetRanger X
rolled off the line the airframer
switched 505 production to
“This is the ideal facility
A mock-up of its in-develop- SH09 light-single at a former Bell Mirabel, Canada. Although it
– Lafayette is one of
ment Nexus vehicle took centre factory in Lafayette, Louisiana. promised to replace that work the best places for
stage on Bell’s Heli-Expo stand, “We found the ideal facility,” with 525 cabin assembly and
highlighting the manufacturer’s says Kopter chief executive An- modifications to 407-based helicopters in the US”
interest in a product wholly dif- dreas Lowenstein of the Lafay- Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Andreas Lowenstein
ferent from its traditional line-up. ette Regional airport site, from Scout unmanned helicopters, Chief executive, Kopter
“Our industry is changing like which the company expects to that plan was ditched last year.
never since the jet age,” says Bell supply US customers. Lowenstein calls Lafayette quality, reaching about 100 units
vice-president of innovation Scott Kopter has already acquired “one of the best places for heli- annually by 2025, Lowenstein
Drennan. “It’s becoming a ‘when’ the 7,870sq m (84,700sq ft) site copters in the US”, noting an es- says. Kopter has also said it in-
question, not an ‘if’ question.” and expects to begin deliveries tablished aerospace presence and tends to unveil an Asia-Pacific
Bell unveiled Nexus in January of the SH09 from there in 2021. proximity to potential customers. assembly line.
at the CES International technol- Bell in 2015 opened the Lafayette’s SH09 output will Kopter’s third SH09 proto-
ogy show in Las Vegas, with Heli- state-bankrolled Lafayette plant
­ ramp up slowly to maintain type, aircraft “P3”, recently
Expo marking the mock-up’s ­arrived in Sicily to begin tests at
debut at an aerospace event. altitudes of up to 5,000ft and
It has six tilting, ducted fans speeds in excess of 120kt
powered by a hybrid-electric sys- (222km/h) – higher and faster
tem using a Safran Helicopter En- than previous sorties, says
gines gas-turbine engine, a genera- Lowenstein. Kopter moved P3 to
tor, electric motors and a battery. Sicily to escape poor seasonal
That architecture will give the weather at its Mollis, Switzer-
aircraft about 1h of flight duration land flight-test centre.
before refuelling is required, says Lowenstein insists the SH09 is
Drennan; it will be able to carry tracking to receive certification in
four passengers and one pilot. the first half of 2020, with deliv-
The ducted fans will provide eries to begin later that year. The
lift during hover, forward propul- Honeywell HTS900-powered
sion and lift during forward flight, single has logged some 100h.
Garrett Reim/FlightGlobal

says Drennan. That forward lift Two more test assets – “pre-
will not come from the fans being series” or “PS” aircraft – will
tilted slightly down, but from the join the fleet, with PS4 coming
ducts, which act as aerofoils – in on line by late summer and PS5
effect, circular wings. ■ Programme has amassed 100 flight hours across three prototypes to join the fleet by year-end. ■

16 | Flight International | 12-18 March 2019

Sikorsky makes
B-line for S-92 HAI 2019
Show Report P18
Show report


H145 lifted by five-blade rotor upgrade

Bearingless design validated on Bluecopter demonstrator increases maximum take-off limit and aids weight saving

A irbus Helicopters is to insti-

tute a series of modifications
on the H145 that will increase the
payload of the light-twin by
150kg (330lb).
Key to the upgrade is a new
bearingless five-blade main rotor
– the first commercial application
of technology tested on the manu-
facturer’s H135-based Bluecopter
environmental demonstrator.
The improved rotor – which
gains an additional blade over the
current iteration – helps lift maxi-
mum take-off weight by 100kg, to
3.8t. Although the extra blade
adds weight, savings elsewhere
enabled by its performance result

Eric Raz/Airbus Helicopters

in a net reduction of the helicop-
ter’s empty weight by 50kg.
The removal of the rotor head
saves 53kg alone, while the lower
vibration levels from the new de- Three test campaigns have so far been conducted, with flight evaluations expected to run until October
sign also enable two damping
systems to be taken off: the light could achieve this goal with sim- electro-hydraulic actuator to will be the BK117 D3 – will re-
anti-vibration system that sits ple modifications,” says Humpert. allow the pilot to more effectively main broadly similar, says
below the floor, and four cross- Blade folding has also been check the rotor controls without Humpert. Kawasaki will contin-
tube mounted 3hz dampers. simplified. The new design is es- the engine running, particularly ue to produce the centre fuselage
These changes save 28kg and sentially a two-piece blade, with in subzero conditions. and main gearbox, along with
60kg, respectively. the 1m-long inner portion – the Prices will be kept at the same several other systems, but for
“It shows that during the last “cuff” containing a flex-beam – at- level as the current model, says manufacturing simplicity will
decade technology has evolved tached to the outer part by a single Humpert: “We want to keep the now also build the rotor mast.
and research has enabled us to bolt. Once that is removed the competitiveness of the aircraft.” Humpert expects production of
certify this lighter-weight de- blades can fold, reducing the over- Airbus Helicopters also pro- the current D2 model to continue
sign,” says Axel Humpert, head all width of the helicopter to about duces the H145M military vari- until 2020, if there is demand.
of the H145 programme. that of the horizontal stabiliser. ant, with certification anticipated
That design leans heavily on around 12 months after the base- new customers
the rotor system of the H135. The certification target line model. Airbus Helicopters scored several
blades no longer attach to a rotor European certification is targeted The upgrade will also be commitments at Heli-Expo for the
head, but are mounted straight for the first quarter of 2020, says ­retrofittable to the existing H145 upgraded model. Customers the
onto the mast and feature the lat- Humpert, and US approval three fleet, although not to older ver- Norwegian Air Ambulance Fed-
est aerofoil design. months later. By mid-February sions of the predecessor EC145, eration and New Zealand VIP and
In addition, the new blades are Airbus Helicopters had accumu- such as the C1 or C2 variants. charter operator Advanced Flight
shorter than those on the current lated around 20h with its single Although such a modification will each take a single example,
model, cutting rotor diameter by test aircraft (D-HADW), or around was considered, says Humpert, while Ukraine’s interior ministry
20cm (7.8in), to 10.8m. 35-40% of the total required. the limiting performance factors has switched eight of its 10 exist-
Aerodynamic improvements Three test campaigns have so are the tail rotor and engines, ing orders for the H145 to the new
have also enabled drag to be kept far been conducted, in Spain and rather than the main rotor. variant. Swiss air rescue operator
to the same level as the four-blad- southern France last year, with Development activities on the Rega will also retrofit seven in-
ed version, says Humpert. cold weather trials completed in new five-blade design began last service H145s with the five-blade
Initial trials of the Bluecopter Finland in 2019. Flight evalua- year with a memorandum of un- rotor system.
took place in 2015, with the same tions are expected to run until derstanding between Airbus Heli- Entering service in July 2014,
rotor design then transferred to around October. copters and Kawasaki, its long- the H145 gained a fenestron
the H145 in 2017. Other tweaks include retuning term partner on the H145 since its shrouded tail rotor and uprated
“We tested it and the results of the crossbeam and horizontal initial guise as the BK117. Safran Helicopter Engines Arriel
were so positive that we ran the stabiliser to avoid any dynamic Workshare on the new variant 2E powerplants over the
business case, and it showed we responses, plus the addition of an – which for certification purposes ­previous iteration. ■ 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 17


Sikorsky makes B-line for S-92 upgrade

Improved levels of cockpit automation, plus other modifications, are designed to boost sales appeal of heavy-twin

A new B-model variant of the

Sikorsky S-92 heavy-twin
has been launched, featuring
ment leader David Martin says.
“This is really shaping up to be a
great next step in the lifecycle of
improved levels of cockpit auto- the S-92.”
mation and a cabin capable of The new variants reflect an ef-
serving multiple missions. fort to spark S-92 demand amid a
Manufacturing efficiencies and continued oil and gas industry
revised supplier agreements slump. Sikorsky aims for the B
mean Sikorsky can reduce the model to be available in 2022, but
new model’s cost below that of has not set a firm timeline for de-
the current S-92A, it says, al- velopment or certification, saying

though no specific prices have “market interest” will determine
been disclosed. Optional engine enhancement increases hot and high performance scheduling.
The upgrades will also be Both variants will be offered
available as a retrofit package, “We really have an opportuni- ment in the aircraft… and bring with optional GE Aviation CT7-
raising in-service helicopters to ty here to standardise the config- more multimission capability,” 8A6 engines, improving hot-and-
an A+ designation. uration of a lot of the basic equip- Sikorsky oil and gas market seg- high performance.
The aircraft will also have
“phase one” of its Matrix autono-
unmanned systems my technology, including the 2.0
Matrix technology helps underpin urban air taxi partnership iteration of its Rig Approach sys-
tem and a new facility called Su-
Despite having no concept air- instead is building a foundation of that it brings to the partnership perSearch, which helps crews lo-
craft to show at Heli-Expo, autonomous systems and passen- both expertise with conventional cate missing objects faster,
Sikorsky unveiled a partnership ger-vehicle interface technology, helicopters and the Matrix au- Sikorsky says.
with Otis Elevators and The says vice-president of innovations tonomy technology that it has “That’s the initial foray into the
Spaceship Company aimed at Chris Van Buiten. “For now, it’s been developing for several years infrastructure of a more-automat-
developing and maturing the not about a vehicle,” he says. with the US Defense Advanced ed cockpit,” Martin says.
technologies and infrastructure Sikorsky has disclosed few de- Research Projects Agency. The updated S-92s will have
required for the deployment of tails about how the partnership The Spaceship Company has new aluminium “Phase IV” main
urban air taxis. will operate or what role each expertise in designing and testing gearboxes, with better resistance
Rather than building its own company will perform. composite air vehicles, says com- to corrosion than the current
demonstrator aircraft, Sikorsky But the manufacturer notes pany president Enrico Palermo. ■ magnesium part, Martin says. ■


AW609 flies full tilt towards US certification target

L eonardo Helicopters is making
steady progress with its
AW609 tiltrotor, stressing that it
tification and then military certifi-
cation right after this.”
That validation will help the
expects to achieve US Federal AW609 build on the interest it is
Aviation Administration certifi- gaining from the Italian military
cation this year, with first deliv- and undisclosed armed forces in
ery following in 2020. the Middle East, says Cutillo.
“We’ve made a lot of progress, Leonardo plans to deliver its
says Gian Piero Cutillo, managing first production AW609 to an uni-
director of Leonardo Helicopters. dentified operator next year, with
“We are now focusing on deliv- Era Group taking the second.
ery next year of the first 609.” At HAI, Leonardo Helicopters
If all goes to plan, military certi- signed a memorandum of under-
Leonardo Helicopters

fication for the tiltrotor is possible standing with Nakanihon Air

by 2021, though the date could Service of Japan with a view to
slip should issues arise, he says. introducing AW609s to the
“In the road map, there is civil cer- country. ■ Pact with Japanese firm will explore potential operations in country

18 | Flight International | 12-18 March 2019

Northrop pursues HAI 2019
B-52 radar update
Defence P20
Show report


Airbus light-singles receive fuel tank safety boost

A irbus Helicopters will boost
the safety of its H125 and
H130 with several initiatives de-
more,” says Axel Aloccio, head of
intermediate single programmes
at Airbus Helicopters.
signed to improve uptake of crash The airframer will also extend
resistant fuel systems (CRFS). its existing supplementary type
From 2020, all H125s built at certificates (STC) for the CRFS to
the airframer’s Marignane facility the AS350 B3 and EC130 B4 –
in France will be fitted with a earlier variants of the current
CRFS – designed to prevent fire in models – to “accelerate the retro-
the event of accidents – unless op- fit” of the in-service fleet.
erators specify otherwise. That Modifications will be done at
will bring France-built H125s in cost – about €35,000 ($39,600).
line with those assembled at its That price will also apply to retro-
US production line in Columbus, fit work on operational H125s.

Airbus Helicopters
Mississippi. The H130 is also fit- European and US approvals for
ted with a CRFS as standard. the STC extension should be
“We already have a very safe achieved later this year, with de-
aircraft, but we believe we can do liveries of the kits from 2020. ■ CRFS will be installed on all H125s as factory-standard equipment

concept engine

US Army’s FARA need brings Robinson Raven

about benefits
a Swift response from MDHI of diesel power
Wing-equipped rotorcraft addresses service’s high-speed armed scout requirement
R obinson Helicopter contin-
ues to study a diesel-engined

M D Helicopters (MDHI) has a

new model in the pipeline:
the Swift, which will be a wing-
variant of its four-seat R44 Raven
II, currently powered by a
Lycoming IO-540 fuel-injected
equipped variant of its tail-rotor- piston powerplant.
less, twin-engined MD902 Ex- California-based Robinson
plorer designed to meet the speed sees performance benefits and
requirements of the US Army’s practical uses for diesel power,
Future Attack Reconnaissance says president Kurt Robinson.
Aircraft (FARA) programme. “It allows a couple thousand
As a first step, MDHI aims to feet of altitude performance,” he
gain US Federal Aviation Ad- says. “We are pushing forward on
Garrett Reim/FlightGlobal

ministration type certification by it. We are still in R&D.”

year-end for the Genesys Aero- Diesel engines perform better
systems glass cockpit in the than gasoline-fuelled powerplants
MD969 Combat Explorer, a at higher altitudes because they
militarised variant of the
­ MD969 is to serve as technology testbed ahead of new prototype need less oxygen for combustion.
MD902, which was shown on its Efficiency also improves: “Right
Heli-Expo stand. manufacturer believes the aircraft lenge – and will have a compos- now, on a Raven II you are burn-
That helicopter’s systems, in- will be capable of flying at speeds ite airframe. ing about 16 gallons an hour of
cluding its NOTAR anti-torque of at least 205kt (380km/h). The company’s NOTAR fuel, and a diesel you are talking
technology, will serve as a partial “We are just starting to build ­system, which uses jet fan thrust like 12 gallons an hour.”
test-bed for many of the concepts the prototype and we will be to prevent torque rotation, will Diesel is also a plentiful and
the company wants to incorpo- doing a lot of the testing this year also be redesigned with a much common fuel. “There are lots of
rate on the Swift. on this aircraft,” says Tilton. larger fan and a new thruster, places in the world where… gas
A prototype Swift should be The Swift will use the winning says Tilton. is hard to get,” says Robinson.
built by year-end, with ground powerplant from the US Army’s The wing will have control Robinson only has performed
and flight testing to begin quickly Improved Turbine Engine Pro- surfaces and act as a weapons ground runs with a diesel config-
in the months after, says MDHI gramme – currently GE Aviation’s pylon as well as providing sub- uration, and it declines to name
chief executive Lynn Tilton. The T901-900, but subject to chal- stantial lift, she says. ■ the engines being tested. ■ 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 19


offer garrett reim los angeles

Northrop pursues B-52 radar update

Company promoting adapted version of AESA product for use in Boeing-led modernisation of strategic bomber fleet

T he Northrop Grumman
­APG-83 active electronically
scanned array (AESA) radar is
president and general manager,
airborne C4ISR systems. “Our
hot production and sustainment
being considered by Boeing for a lines are already in place to
future enhancement of the US ­support our current and future
Air Force’s B-52 fleet. customers’ needs for decades to
The company says it is pitch- come.”
ing the design to the airframer as The APG-83 was selected in
part of the B-52 bomber modern- 2017 to modernise 72 Lockheed
isation radar system initiative, Martin F-16s operated by the US
which would include engineer- Air National Guard.
ing, manufacturing, develop- Northrop says the sensor is in
ment and delivery of an initial full-rate production in support
seven units. of this programme, as well as for

US Air Force
A version of the scalable agile international F-16 upgrade
beam radar (SABR) has also been ­customers.
developed for the Boeing B-1B Initiative would involve manufacturing new sensors for aged type Its system borrows some capa-
fleet, according to Northrop, and bilities from the APG-77 used on
the manufacturer has also previ- Marine Corps. differentiating capability for air the US Air Force’s Lockheed
ously performed a fit check on “The SABR and SABR-Global dominance and strike missions,” F-22 and the F-35 Lightning II’s
the Boeing F/A-18C/D for the US Strike family of radars provides says Tom Jones, Northrop’s vice- APG-81. ■

procurement greg waldron singapore

David Crosling/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Singaporean F-35 plan

to launch with a dozen
S ingapore plans to place a firm
order for four Lockheed Mar-
tin F-35s, with options for an ad-
country is believed to be interest-
ed in the short take-off and verti-
cal landing F-35B. He also did
ditional eight. not specify when it could receive
“We have announced our plans its first aircraft.
to replace our [Lockheed] F-16s, If finalised, the acquisition will
which will face obsolescence post- see Singapore follow other Asia-
2030, with the F-35s,” says defence Pacific nations Australia, Japan
minister Ng Eng Hen. “This will and South Korea in introducing
mean the RSAF [Republic of Sin- the F-35, and represent its first
gapore Air Force] fighter fleet will use of a stealth aircraft.
consist of F-35 and [Boeing] Ng also tweeted a presentation
F-15SGs if plans come to fruition a slide of Singapore’s planned equip-
PC-9s make last spin with Roulettes decade or so from now.” ment for “2030 and beyond”, with
The Royal Australian Air Force’s Roulettes aerobatic display Ng confirms that Singapore the F-35 and F-15SG as its only
team has performed for the last time with its Pilatus PC-9/A will issue a letter of request for fixed-wing combat types.
­turboprops, prior to transitioning to the Swiss manufacturer’s four aircraft, plus eight options, Also included were its air
more capable PC-21. A final display was conducted during the but notes that the US Congress force’s already aged Lockheed
26 February-3 March Avalon air show near Melbourne, Victoria. must still approve the sale. How- C-130H tactical transports and
“The PC-9/A has provided excellent service to the Australian ever, the proposal already has the Fokker 50 maritime patrol aircraft.
Defence Force for the past 30 years, training thousands of blessing of both US President Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer shows
­aircrew from the navy, army and air force,” notes minister for Donald Trump and the US De- that Singapore has five C-130Hs
defence personnel Darren Chester. Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer partment of Defense. and five KC-130B/H tankers in
shows that the air force has 30 PC-21s in active use, with Speaking before Singapore’s use, with an average age of 45
­another 19 on order. The type is replacing its PC-9/As, 18 of parliament, Ng did not mention years. Its five Fokker 50 surveil-
which still remain in use. which version of the fighter Sin- lance aircraft have an average age
gapore will obtain, although the of almost 25 years. ■

20 | Flight International | 12-18 March 2019

US Navy declares
F-35C ready to fight
Defence P22


Trappier confident
Rafale production
secure into 2030s
Further business expected for fourth-generation fighter,
with Dassault chief seeking additional European customers

D assault believes it can secure
sufficient additional orders
for the Rafale to continue produc-
Martin F-35 for a Belgian require-
ment last year again raised the
issue of European countries not
Airframer will deliver 26 jets this year, including first Indian example

France for 30 aircraft due to be for- question of what we will do be-

ing the fighter until at least 2030, supporting industry within the malised in 2023, Trappier says the tween 2030 and 2040”.
and is unconcerned about any bloc. While respecting the deci- Rafale’s production line “looks to Should more Rafale orders not
potential future production gap sion by Brussels, Trappier says: be alive for the next 10 years”. arrive, “this is life, we will have a
with the next-generation combat “Each country not buying Euro- However, with a Franco-Ger- plan B”, he says.
aircraft it is developing alongside pean is not contributing to the man-Spanish Future Combat Air Dassault plans to deliver
Airbus Defence & Space. development of Europe.” System not expected to arrive for around 26 Rafales in 2019, in-
In 2018, the airframer took in With the current level of orders, another two decades, Trappier cluding a first example for India
an additional 12-unit export plus another commitment from acknowledges that “there is still a around the middle of the year. ■
order from Qatar, raising its year-
end backlog to 101. Of that total,
73 are for export customers PROJECT
Egypt, India and Qatar, and Das-
sault chief executive Eric Trappi-
Lean team regarded as most effective in FCAS development
er believes more will come. More partners could be brought almost certain to be its industry working together in a big team of
“Nobody expected us to sell to into an effort to develop a future representative. co-operation, I don’t feel that this is
Egypt, including ourselves; the European fighter, but lead com- But Dassault chief executive Eric going to be effective. I don’t want
deal was done in two months,” pany Dassault has warned against Trappier warns against complicat- to start again something which
he says. “I think in the coming over-complicating the project. ing the project’s make-up, noting should look like the Eurofighter
years, new countries will come to France and Germany last year that a “twosome is hard and a [consortium]. We need to organise
the Rafale.” agreed to jointly develop a Future threesome is even harder”. the job in the same way as if we
Current campaigns include Fin- Combat Air System (FCAS), com- He says a small, “flexible” set- were one country or company. ”
land, a further Indian requirement, prising both manned and un- up would allow the project to be Trappier says the stealthy aircraft
and Switzerland, where in each manned assets, with Dassault and “effective”, and that under those “will potentially be larger than the
case Dassault faces competition Airbus Defence & Space as indus- circumstances “maybe we can [Dassault] Rafale, so it will have bet-
from its European and US rivals. trial champions. Spain also joined challenge the Americans”. ter range”, and will also be capable
But a loss against the Lockheed the project last month, with Airbus However, he cautions: “If we are of operating from aircraft carriers. ■


Pegasus deliveries halted by FOD

A fter foreign object debris
(FOD), including forgotten
tools, were found inside an un-
undelivered aircraft at its Wash-
ington state facilities for inspec-
tions, before it resumed flight
disclosed number of KC-46As ­activities on 28 February.
delivered to the US Air Force, “We are doing whatever we
the service on 20 February sus- need to do to make sure the air
pended its acceptance of addi- force is happy with their jets,”
US Air Force

tional tankers from Boeing. Boeing says. “Safety and quality

The USAF says it will not take are obviously the highest priority
deliveries again until all produc- for us.” The company and the US Disruption followed discovery of forgotten tools inside KC-46As
tion aircraft have been cleared of Defense Contract Management
debris and Boeing has formulated Agency are undertaking addi- Boeing still plans to deliver the or more each month during the
a plan to resolve the issue. The tional quality assurance inspec- 767-based Pegasus tankers at a first part of the year will depend
discovery prompted the manu- tions and FOD sweeps of KC- rate of three per month in 2019, on the outcome of discussions
facturer to temporarily ground 46As, it adds. but says efforts to hand over four with the USAF. ■ 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 21



US Navy declares F-35C ready to fight

Carrier-based variant achieves initial operational capability with first squadron following successful test campaign

L ockheed Martin’s carrier-­

variant F-35C achieved initial
operational capability (IOC) sta-
tus with the US Navy (USN) on
28 February.
The declaration came shortly
after the service’s first frontline
unit to have been equipped with
the stealthy type – its Strike
Fighter Squadron 147 – complet-
ed aircraft carrier qualifications
aboard the USS Carl Vinson and
received safe-for-flight operations
In order to enable the IOC dec-

US Navy
laration, the first operational
F-35C squadron had to be Deck-based operations require the use of a wider wing, strengthened landing gear and increased fuel
manned, trained and equipped to
conduct assigned missions in of our carrier strike groups that engine repairs. that the USN has a current active
support of fleet operations, the significantly enhances the capa- The F-35C’s wingspan is 2.4m inventory of 22 F-35Cs, with the
navy says. This included having bility of the joint force.” (7.9ft) wider than the F-35 pro- Marines operating a further 11.
10 Block 3F-standard aircraft, NAS Lemoore, in California, is gramme’s other variants, which The navy is the last US service
along with associated spare parts the home base for the USN’s Joint allows it to approach an aircraft to achieve IOC status with its new
and support equipment, and a Strike Fighter Wing, F-35C fleet carrier’s deck at a lower speed. A combat aircraft. The USMC intro-
functional Autonomic Logistic squadrons and the Fleet Replace- more robust landing gear design duced its short take-off and vertical
Information System. ment Squadron 125, responsible was also required, to handle the landing F-35B to operational use in
“The F-35C is ready for opera- for training pilots for the navy and stress of catapult launches and 2015, with the US Air Force’s con-
tions, ready for combat and ready US Marine Corps (USMC). arrested-recovery landings. The ventional take-off and landing
to win,” says Commander Naval Several facilities at the site USN model’s 8,960kg (19,800lb) F-35A following a year later.
Air Forces, Vice Admiral DeWolfe have been remodelled or built to fuel capacity is also 46% greater The IOC milestone has also
Miller. “We are adding an incredi- support use of the new type, in- than that of its siblings. been achieved by Israel, Italy and
ble weapon system into the arsenal cluding for Pratt & Whitney F135 Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer shows the UK. ■


Kratos subsonic drone cleared for target practice

T he US Navy’s next-generation
subsonic aerial target, the
Kratos BQM-177A, reached ini-
current threats to our forces and
delivers improvements in speed
and manoeuvrability to the sub-
late the performance of sea-skim-
ming anti-ship missiles. Acquired
as a replacement for the legacy
The manufacturer says its prod-
uct can carry a variety of payloads,
including proximity scoring, iden-
tial operational capability on 27 sonic target inventory,” says Capt BQM-74E, it is capable of speeds tification friend or foe, infrared and
February, and will soon start Molly Boron, Navy Aerial Targets in excess of 667kt (1,230km/h); radar augmentation equipment,
being employed from NAS Point programme manager. just short of Mach 1, and can fly as plus electronic countermeasures,
Mugu in California. The jet-powered, recoverable low as 6.6ft above sea level, ac- chaff and flare dispensers, and
“BQM-177A represents the target drone is designed to simu- cording to Kratos. towed target hardware. ■

Download the 2019

Wo r l d A i r Fo r c e s R e p o r t IN ASSOCIATION WITH

w w w. f l i g h t g l o b a l . c o m / w a f
Ruag 2017 strip ad.indd 1 04/12/2018 08:57
22 | Flight International | 12-18 March 2019
Alice takes charge
with Siemens motor
Business Aviation P24

finance Dominic Perry Paris

Dassault navigates
global market with
prudent captaincy
French airframer reveals positive 2018 performance, and
future strategy should help to keep company on even keel

A lthough it has a manufactur- – compared to the big ones in the

V Almansa/Dassault
ing presence throughout US or even in the UK – small
France, Dassault’s headquarters is means flexibility,” he says.
in the Parisian suburb of Saint- “We are small but can design a
Cloud, its heavy black gates a fighter or a business jet from A to Chief executive Eric Trappier is “optimistic” about competitive ability
stone’s throw from the river Seine. Z; nobody else worldwide can do
Journalists attending the air- that with this size of company.” Output of Falcon jets in 2019 The partnership with Germany
framer’s annual results press con- Although last year was tinged will be 45 aircraft, a “prudent” should help to ease the “disap-
ference have grown used to the with sadness for Dassault with increase, based on continued pointment” felt by Trappier that
event being held on the compa- the death of patriarch Serge market uncertainty, on the 41 work with the British and BAE
ny’s boat, Le Talisman, moored Dassault – son of company
­ units handed over in 2018. Systems on an Anglo-French un-
opposite the main office building. founder Marcel – in financial On the military side, Dassault manned combat air vehicle dem-
The name is a nod towards terms, 2018 was a positive one. scored further incremental ex- onstrator has now ended.
Dassault’s logo – which features a Turnover rose by nearly €200 port success, with Qatar exercis- While Trappier can guess at
four-leafed clover inside the styl- million on the previous year, ing an option for 12 additional some of the reasons for the cessa-
ised outline of an aircraft. order intake was markedly up – Rafales, adding to a previous tion of that effort – Brexit and
But one could be forgiven for €5 billion versus €3.2 billion in commitment for 24. Egypt has ­finance among them – he sug-
thinking that a reliance on 2017 – and adjusted net income already received 23 of its eventual gests that “misunderstandings”
chance is part of the company’s hit €681 million, against €410 24-strong fleet, while deliveries between the two countries
DNA: during a discussion on million 12 months earlier. of the first of 36 jets for India will “when it was really the time to
what would happen if there were begin by mid-year. launch” were also a factor.
no more orders for its Falcon “We are small but In 2018, the company deliv-
business jets or Rafale fighters, ered 12 of the fourth-generation political will
chief executive Eric Trappier said can design a jet from fighters. That figure will more Now that the “political wish and
the company would be fine as than double this year, to 26. will” of the French and G ­ erman
“we trust a lot in luck”. A to Z; nobody else Backlog for the Rafale at governments is to work together,
Although Napoleon may have can do that with this ­year-end stood at 101 aircraft, in- he says, there is an opportunity
declared that he “would rather cluding a further 28 aircraft for for Dassault to use its “more flex-
have lucky generals than good size of company” France that will be handed over ible” a­ pproach to “maybe chal-
ones”, there is a sense that Trap- Eric Trappier from 2022, and Trappier is lenge the Americans”.
pier’s answer is largely posturing. Chief executive, Dassault ­confident that it can secure addi- There seems little left to
In some ways, Dassault is a cu- tional export deals. chance, in fact. When faced with
riosity: its focus is spread across He believes that the Rafale a question on the daunting
two unrelated sectors, and it is There were also hints last year presents a genuine and more nature of the FCAS project,
smaller than its rivals in either that both divisions of the busi- flexible alternative to US-built Trappier initially replies flip-
space, particularly in fighters. ness are now pointing in the combat aircraft: “If you buy pantly that things will be fine be-
Balancing the competing right direction. American, then you buy what cause “we are optimistic”.
needs – as well as the market dy- In business aviation, the linger- the Americans want you to buy,” But seemingly conscious that
namics – of business and military ing embarrassment of the 5X – he says. this may be too glib an answer,
aviation, allied to a prudent ap- perpetually delayed thanks to its Further out, Dassault is he adds: “We do not say we can
proach, are key to the company’s underperforming Safran Silver- ­working with Airbus Defence & do things just because we are op-
success, it seems, rather than crest engines – has been excised, Space – and engine providers timistic, we say that because we
trusting in fate. replaced with the 6X programme. Safran and MTU – to deliver on can do them.”
As for its modest size – sales The 6X is scheduled to enter an i­ nitially Franco-German Le Talisman’s gentle rise and
were around €5.1 billion ($5.7 service in 2022, just five years ­project for a Future Combat Air fall as it rides the waves from
billion) in 2018 – Trappier argues after its launch. In the meantime, System (FCAS). passing river traffic is noticeable
that this is actually a major plus the airframer is gearing up to To arrive in around 2040, the – and perhaps a more than apt
point for the company. launch another new business jet, system will feature both manned metaphor for Trappier’s ap-
“We have a big advantage in although it is staying tight-lipped and unmanned assets, with Das- proach to keeping Dassault on
Dassault to be a small company on details like cabin size or range. sault leading on the former. an even keel. ■ 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 23


programme KATE SARSFIELD london

Alice takes charge with Siemens motor

Start-up selects first of at least two engine suppliers for all-electric composite design, ahead of planned debut in June

I sraeli start-up Eviation Aircraft

has selected Siemens as the first
of at least two suppliers of mo-
mits, however, that the timing is
dependent on securing a permit
to fly before the end of May.
tors for its Alice all-electric The aircraft will be shipped to
­business and commuter aircraft, Prescott, Arizona after the show
which is scheduled to make its for flight testing, he adds.
debut sortie in early June. A Three aircraft are planned for
second provider could be an-
­ the flight-test campaign – two
nounced later this year. prototypes and a production-­
Eviation co-founder and chief conforming example. Parts for
executive Omer Bar-Yohay says the second Alice are now under

Eviation Aircraft
the decision to use more than construction, and the aircraft is
one provider “will not only ease scheduled to join the certification
potential supply chain issues 11-seat type is scheduled to achieve FAA type certification in 2021 effort in the fourth quarter. The
later down the line” but also give third aircraft will arrive in mid-
the company’s customers a Alice will have a range of Assembly of the first Alice 2020, with US type certification
much “broader choice of price 540nm (1,000km) and a cruise ­ rototype is currently under way
p expected in 2021, followed by
points and maintenance sched- speed of 240kt (440km/h). It will in Vannes, northwest France – service entry in 2022.
ules for their aircraft”. be priced between $3.5 million home to the model’s composite Bar-Yohay describes North
Siemens 260kW electric and $4 million, “depending on fuselage supplier, Multiplast – America as the “main market” for
motors on the Alice will be
­ configuration”, and is projected to and ground testing is planned the 11-seat Alice, and its sole
­powered by a 900kWh lithium- have a maximum payload of for April. focus initially. “We will concen-
ion battery pack, driving the 1,250kg (2,750lb) and a maximum “Systems integration will take trate on building our customer
all-composite aircraft’s three
­ take-off weight of 5,900kg. Honey- time, but we hope to fly the air- base, ground support and charg-
five-bladed Hartzell pusher pro- well will supply the Beechcraft craft ahead of the Paris air show ing infrastructure in this region
pellers – located at the tail and King Air-sized Alice with a fly-by- in June, where it will make its before moving on to other parts of
on each wing-tip. wire system and flightdeck. debut,” says Bar-Yohay. He ad- the world,” he says. ■

network KATE SARSFIELD london

Luxaviation rotorcraft alliance targets VIP charters

L uxaviation, one of the world’s
largest fixed-wing charter and
management companies, is seek-
Launched on 4 March by its
Luxaviation Helicopters subsidi-
ary, the alliance is described as
Heli Austria, HeliFlite in the
USA – which became a Luxavia-
tion operating partner in 2018 –
“The launch of the Luxavia-
tion Helicopters Charter Alliance
takes this a step further, as ap-
ing to become a dominant player an “industry first”, and provides Philippines-based PhilJets, and proved members can call upon
in the international VIP helicop- a “world-class standard in luxury Luxaviation-owned ExecuJet, each other to unlock more of the
ter charter market through a rotorcraft travel”. which operates helicopters in world’s regions and open them
­newly-formed alliance with other The operator line-up consists Mexico and South Africa, and up to their clients,” she adds.
rotorcraft operators. of Azur Helicoptere of France, Starspeed of the UK. Pedersen’s outlook is echoed
The network gives brokers and by Azur Helicoptere chief
clients “seamless” access to 70 ­executive Michel de Rohozinski,
VIP helicopters globally, Luxavia- who describes the alliance as an
tion says, with each provider opportunity for his VIP clients to
meeting the “same stringent safety access “assured and reliable”
practices and customer service rotorcraft connections in other
levels”. Other operators are set to parts of the world.
be added to the network soon. The alliance also comple-
Luxaviation Starspeed Helicopters

Since its launch in 2017, Luxa- ments Luxaviation’s wider VIP

viation Helicopters has “sought offering, Pedersen notes, and
ways to partner and work with helps to keep customers within
rotorcraft operators in different its business aviation services
regions to provide a truly global network, which also includes
service”, says chief executive 200 jets and turboprops and 25
Operator aims to provide “seamless” access to charter helicopters Charlotte Pedersen. fixed-base operations. ■

24 | Flight International | 12-18 March 2019

Tornado GR4 P26

achievement KATE SARSFIELD london

Global 7500 sets range record for nonstop flight

B ombardier’s Global 7500 has
completed an 8,152nm
(15,100km) nonstop flight,
The GE Aviation Passport
20-powered aircraft landed with
1,950kg of fuel remaining –
which the manufacturer bills as ­representing 90min of additional
the world’s “longest mission flight time, which is “well
ever flown by a purpose-built above” i­ndustry requirements,
business jet”. the ­airframer adds.
The aircraft (C-FXAI) – the in- The previous record for the
itial production example – de- longest, official nonstop flight by
parted Singapore at 07:12 local a business jets was achieved by
time on 4 March carrying three the Gulfstream G650ER in 2015.

pilots, three passengers and lug- That aircraft flew 8,010nm from
gage with a combined weight of Singapore to Las Vegas with four
360kg (800lb). Taking a transpa- passengers and crew. Aircraft took just over 16h to fly from Singapore to Tuscon, Arizona
cific route, it arrived in Tucson, C-FXAI was handed over to its
Arizona just over 16h later at unnamed customer on 14 back arrangement. To date, the maximum speed of Mach 0.925.
08:19 local time, which also set a December 2018 and has since
­ aircraft has logged over 170h. Bombardier has a backlog of
new speed record for this city- been operated as a demonstrator The Global 7500 has an adver- more than 110 aircraft and pro-
pair, says Bombardier. by Bombardier under a lease- tised range of 7,700nm and a duction is sold out to 2022. ■

results DOMINIC PERRY paris

Dassault preparing future Falcon effort

French airframer says modest increase in orders show sector recovery is “progressing”, despite economic uncertainty

D assault plans to deliver

around 45 Falcon business
jets this year – up slightly on the
Trappier stresses that the mar-
ket for new jets is “not booming”,
but notes that “in general it is pro-
Launched in 2018 following
the cancellation of the ultra-
wide-cabin 5X due to persistent
launched is what are we going to
do facing the market – I didn’t talk
to the market yet. But behind that
41 aircraft the airframer handed gressing compared with the other problems with its Safran Silver- the work is done to start.”
over in 2018, as the sector begins years where it was very low”. crest powerplants, the 6X is Trappier declines to elaborate
a tentative recovery. Meanwhile, development of designed to take that concept
­ on where the jet will be posi-
Chief executive Eric Trappier the 6X remains on track for ser- ­forward, while increasing range tioned, or when it will be
says he sees “a slight increase in vice entry in 2022. Trappier says to 5,500nm (10,200km). ­officially launched, noting that
the market”, but adds that the the aircraft is “totally in-line with Dassault is also continuing to “we are still in the phase where
manufacturer will continue to schedule”, although he does not study the market for its next Fal- we can change the project”, de-
“remain p ­ rudent”, given the un- specify a date for first flight. con business jet programme and pending on performance, price
certain global outlook. Parts for the initial prototype will ramp up internal activities or market evaluations.
Dassault received 42 net orders are being made, and four Pratt & this year, says Trappier. Dassault may choose to take on
in 2018 for its five high-end Whitney Canada PW812D en- “It is already launched in a cer- Bombardier’s Global 7500 in the
­models – 7X and 8X trijets, twin- gines are in test, with 120h so far tain way: the studies, the design is ultra-long-range segment, but
engined 2000LXS, 900LX and on a Boeing 747 flying testbed. already launched, what is not yet with Gulfstream also likely to
­in-development 6X – yielding a launch a new aircraft in that
total backlog of 53 aircraft. Latest addition space there may be little room for
As an indicator of sector recov- is due for 2022 a third participant.
ery, the airframer managed to sell service entry However, without confirming
off “a certain number” of the used Dassault’s interest in an
Falcons it had acquired, retaining ­ultra-long-range aircraft, Trappi-
a handful for client services. er says he believes multiple plat-
“We have more or less done forms can co-exist: “In some seg-
away with the inventory of ments there are at least three
­pre-owned aircraft that we had [manufacturers], sometimes
built up over a number of years,” more,” he says.
said Trappier, speaking in Paris He points to the “success” of
on 28 February. That shows a the 7X, despite facing competing
“stabilisation” of the pre-owned products from both Bombardier

market, he says. and Gulfstream at launch. ■ 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 25


As the Royal Air Force’s last Panavia Tornado strike aircraft
head into retirement, we look back at the versatile type’s
considerable operational and technological contributions

craig hoyle london Bidding farewell to its venerable assets, the

RAF noted that since making an offensive

orty years after the type’s introduction debut during the first Gulf War of 1990-1991,
to service with the UK, the Royal Air its Tornado force had accumulated some
Force’s last Panavia Tornado strike air- 185,603 flight hours on operations. In addi-
craft have made their final operational tion to duties over Iraq, the type was also
flights and headed for retirement. ­involved in active duty in Afghanistan, Koso-
A milestone sortie conducted from the vo, Libya and Syria throughout its service life
RAF’s Marham base in Norfolk on 28 Febru- as a ground-attack platform, with air defence
ary marked the last outing for the Cold variant (ADV) fighters also having protected
­War-era stalwart, which had until a month the UK and the Falkland Islands and served
earlier been involved in deployed combat in enforcing a “no-fly zone” over Iraq between
Farewell sortie from Marham
duties almost continually since 1991. 1999 and 2003.
home on 28 February involved
For the farewell flight, a “diamond nine” A final eight combat-tasked GR4s returned
nine remaining examples
formation of Tornado GR4s performed a to the UK from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus in early
number of local flypasts. A week earlier, a February, with their duties over Iraq and Syria
broader s­ eries of three-ship flights had been having been assumed by the service’s Eu- target in Iraq with MBDA’s Brimstone air-to-
conducted around the UK, as part of the re- rofighter Typhoons. On 19 February, the latter surface missile, destroying a boat being used
tirement preparations. type for the first time engaged an Islamic State by militants. Longer term, the UK’s Lockheed
Martin F-35Bs will also become available for
such tasks, having achieved initial operational
capability for land-based operations with Mar-
ham-based 617 Sqn towards the end of 2018.

Through the course of its operating life, the
two-seat Tornado evolved from an original
GR1 version, optimised for Cold War duties
including night-time terrain-following flight
for the delivery of WE177 atomic bombs, and
later JP233 runway-denial weapons, to an en-
hanced GR4 model equipped for precision
strikes using modern weapons. In its latter
years, the aircraft was employed for the deliv-
ery of Brimstone and MBDA’s Storm Shadow
cruise missile, and Raytheon Systems’ 250kg
(500lb) Paveway IV precision-guided bomb,
while carrying the Rafael Litening III targeting
pod and advanced countermeasures equip-
ment for self-protection.
Such weaponry could only have been

dreamed of at the time of the Tornado’s con-

ception as the Multi-Role Combat Aircraft
How we covered first British flight of MRCA – and got under the skin of its Tornado GR1 (MRCA) programme – Italy, the UK and the

26 | Flight International | 12-18 March 2019

tornado gr4

“I will be very sad to see the

Tornado retire, but it is time
to pass the baton to our next-
generation combat aircraft”
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier
Chief of the air staff, Royal Air Force

industrial disquiet over the selection of a US-

sourced attack radar from Texas Instruments,
and uncertainty over the strength of order
commitments from Germany and Italy, our
editorial noted: “Europe is everywhere com-
mitted to increasing interdependence. In the
field of high technology it is aviation which is
making the running.”
A 30min first flight took place on 14 August
1974, from MBB’s Manching plant near Mu-
nich, involving the programme’s first of nine
development aircraft. The first of four British-
built examples, P.02, took to the air for the first
time on 30 October the same year from the
BAC plant at Warton, Lancashire. The UK
company’s chief test pilot, Paul Millett, was at
the controls for both first flight events.
Flight International reported the MRCA’s
UK debut as having been delayed by a week
due to bad weather, which still played a part
in the historic event. “The aircraft was air-
Crown Copyright

borne at 0812hr and landed 1hr later as the

weather began to close in again. The initial
flight plan called for a climb to 20,000ft… but
it was revised to keep P.02 below 8,000ft and
in clear air for its initial trials.” During the sor-
tie, “the wings were cycled through their
maximum travel and the handling with high-
lift devices checked. Transient manoeuvres
such as Dutch rolls, sudden pitch changes
and wind-up turns were also made”.

wilson’s wonderbird
With the MRCA programme making advances
after the cancellation of the UK’s BAC TSR-2
strike and reconnaissance aircraft a decade ear-
lier and the abandonment in 1968 of a planned
purchase of the General Dynamics F-111K,
UK acquired both
prime minister Harold Wilson described the
ground-attack and
BAE Systems

multinational effort’s product as “one of the

air-defence variants
wonderbirds of aviation” and “cheaper and
better for us than any alternative plane”.
then-West Germany signed a memorandum of In a major overview of the MRCA pro- In our pre-flight review, we noted another
understanding in May 1969. After studying a gramme published by Flight International on challenge that the Tornado’s developers faced
variety of designs, the n­ ations settled on a 28 March 1974 – five months before the type’s during testing: “With increasing resistance to
variable geometry configuration, which was debut – our reporters noted: “The first flight is noise and loss of amenity, the problems of
intended to meld low-speed handling charac- judged to be a psychological watershed which r­
econciling low-altitude supersonic flying
teristics with supersonic performance vital for has to be negotiated before the three countries and weapons trials with local interests get in-
strategic missions. feel that they can go on to the next phase, with creasingly harder to solve in the skies above a
Power came from a pair of Turbo-Union its long-term commitments to prototype fly- populous Europe.”
RB199 turbofan engines, produced by a ing, and the build-up of production invest- As such, our writers summarised, “The
­consortium formed by Fiat Avio, MTU and ment.” Pointing to challenges including de- onus for verifying performance above Mach 1
Rolls-Royce. velopment problems with the RB199, will largely reside with Britain.” ❯❯ 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 27


❯❯ Looking to the performance required of

the type’s avionics, our writers noted: “The
system’s most demanding mission is certainly
high-speed, all-weather penetration at ex-
treme low level, culminating in a single-pass
delivery on a point target.”
The type entered operational use in 1979,
and over the life of the programme, just shy of
1,000 examples were produced for the three
partner nations and Saudi Arabia; the type’s
lone export operator. Via its Al Yamamah arms
deals with the UK government, it acquired
both the IDS and ADV models. In 1998, BAE
Systems handed over Riyadh’s last Tornado –
the final example to be built, 19 years after the
programme’s first production aircraft, BT001,
had emerged from its Warton site.

improved standard
The RAF introduced the GR1 as a successor to
its Avro Vulcans, and later also fielded the F2
fighter, as a replacement for the McDonnell
Douglas F-4 Phantom. The air-defence version
was later modernised to the improved F3
standard, with operations of this type – latterly
armed with Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM
and MBDA ASRAAM air-to-air missiles –
coming to an end in 2011, after a 25-year ser-
vice life in which it never fired a shot in anger.
Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer shows that the
UK’s total commitment to the Panavia pro-
gramme was for 403 examples, including de-
velopment aircraft. This made it the largest
recipient of the type, followed by Germany
(367), Saudi Arabia (120) and Italy (102).
A first offensive use by the RAF came dur-
ing the first Gulf War, when 60 of its Tornados
were forward-deployed for missions flown
from bases in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. out the conflict, during which time six aircraft As in the opening hours of the 2003 Iraq
These logged more than 1,500 sorties through- were lost, and five crew members killed. War, RAF GR4s also released multiple Storm
­Armaments used included ALARM anti-radi- Shadows against air defence targets at the
ation missiles and runway-disabling JP233s. start of the NATO-led campaign over Libya in
A handful of GR1s also gained the TIALD March 2011. This involved several aircraft
thermal imaging and laser designation pod, completing 2,600nm sorties mounted from
while others operated alongside RAF Black- Marham, receiving in-flight refuelling support
burn Buccaneers, which provided target des- from Lockheed TriStar and Vickers VC10
ignation support during releases of Paveway- tankers. These strikes represented the longest-
series laser-guided bombs. range offensive tasks conducted by the service
Aside from the use of so-called “Show of since its “Black Buck”-series flights with
force” tactics against the Taliban in Afghani- Vulcans during the Falklands War almost 30
stan almost two decades later, the UK’s Opera- years earlier.
tion Granby marked the last time that RAF
strike aircraft employed low-level tactics, fa- coalition stalwart
vouring instead the relative safety of medium- Seven RAF squadrons operated GR4s from
altitude operations, afforded by the increased Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan between June
accuracy and range of modern weaponry. 2009 and November 2014, logging a combined
By then upgraded to the GR4 standard, the total of 33,500 flight hours. This was followed
UK’s ground-attack aircraft played a part in the almost immediately by participation in the
opening salvoes of the second conflict with UK’s ongoing Operation Shader contribution
First Gulf War Saddam Hussein’s forces in Iraq. This was a to coalition activities over Iraq and Syria.
marked last time spectacular debut for its Storm Shadow weap- The considerable political and industrial
RAF aircraft were ons, which allowed pinpoint strikes to be con- aspects of the Tornado programme navigated
used in low-level ducted against key infrastructure targets from a by the Panavia organisation, meanwhile, also
strike missions launch distance of more than 135nm (250km). cleared a path for future multinational devel-

28 | Flight International | 12-18 March 2019

tornado gr4

Storm Shadow missiles

enabled long-range
precision strikes

Crown Copyright
Operation Granby saw Buccaneer (left) provide targeting support for Paveway-armed GR1

Crown Copyright
BAE Systems

GR4’s final combat missions were flown in support of coalition campaign over Iraq and Syria

opments such as the four-nation Eurofighter, model, where retiring aircraft were used as a remain in frontline use for several more years
which added Spain to its earlier partner na- source of parts prior to being scrapped. This with the air forces of Germany, Italy and Saudi
tions. In-service experience with the type also successfully supported operations down to a Arabia. Fleets Analyzer shows around 270 ex-
shaped emerging requirements. two-squadron strength of 22 GR4s by the time amples remain in use, across the IDS and elec-
In RAF use, the GR4 – along with the BAE deployed operations ended in late January. tronic combat and reconnaissance models.
Harrier GR9/A and other, non-strike platforms Saudi Arabia is in the process of acquiring
– represented an opportunity for the military careful planning spare parts from the UK following the GR4’s
and its industrial suppliers to develop part- A decision to extend a third squadron’s opera- retirement, to support its 81-strong IDS fleet.
nering arrangements to reduce maintenance tional activities longer than planned, until One source describes Riyadh’s deal as includ-
and spare parts demands and boost availabil- into 2018, also required careful planning to ing a “huge amount of kit”, ranging from en-
ity on the frontline. Dubbed ATTAC, the Min- meet crew requirements, since the RAF gines to a wide variety of other components.
istry of Defence’s arrangement with BAE cov- stopped training rear-seat weapon system op- After flying the type for the last time late
ered maintenance, repair and upgrade erators for the GR4 earlier this decade. Under last month, chief of the air staff Air Chief Mar-
activities on the GR4, while a separate deal one initiative, some personnel who had previ- shal Sir Stephen Hillier – a former GR4 pilot
covered engine support by R-R. The last ously left the Tornado force were recruited – said: “I will personally be very sad to see the
RB199 to have been serviced under the back to support operations until its departure Tornado retire, but it is time now to pass the
“ROCET 2” availability-based support deal from service, including some with experience baton to our next-generation combat aircraft.
was returned by R-R to the RAF last July. dating back to the Gulf Wars. The F-35B Lightning is now operational and
“Over the last 10 years, almost every system The UK’s last two Tornado units will be dis- the Typhoon is now fully multi-role capable
has become more reliable, and availability has banded in mid-March. 9 Sqn will swiftly re- and able to take on the Tornado’s missions.”
gone up,” notes an RAF official involved with turn, re-equipped with the Typhoon, while 31 From its inception as the multinational
the Tornado force until its conclusion. “Our Sqn will commence duties with the General MRCA 50 years ago, the Tornado evolved into
understanding of the jet and teamwork with Atomics Aeronautical Systems Protector RG1 a versatile, adaptable and dependable asset,
BAE and industry partners has climbed.” remotely piloted air system early next decade. ­capable of supporting a wide range of tasks for
As the service drew down its squadron While the RAF will not fly another opera- the UK – traits its successors will be hard-
numbers, it adopted a “spare to repair” tional sortie with a Tornado, the type is set to pressed to match in the coming decades. ■ 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 29



Design is result of

a Boeing study with
mass market for loyal wingman
Australian military
unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) is
rapidly forming as Boeing, in a
development partnership with the
Australian government, unveiled a mock-up
of its Airpower Teaming System aircraft at the
Avalon air show near Melbourne, Victoria, on
26 February.
Boeing’s step adds to Kratos Defense & Se-
curity Solutions’ efforts to engineer drones
capable of teaming with fast-moving manned
aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin F-35 and
Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Aerospace
analysts say General Atomics Aeronautical
Systems, Lockheed and Northrop Grumman
could also soon join the fray.
The vision is to have dozens of cheap and
expendable tactical UAVs flying and fighting
alongside manned aircraft. The new air force
structure is intended to greatly expand the le-
thality of the US and allied air forces, but at a
fraction of the cost of buying and operating
expensive fifth-generation stealth aircraft.
Prior to news of the Boeing-Australia deal,
the USA had been the only country to explic-
itly fund and outline an interest in such sys-
tems, with the US Air Force Research Labora-
tory (AFRL) “Loyal Wingman” programme.
However, Boeing says growing threats from
potential adversaries – namely China and
Russia – are making this sort of technology
more appetising to militaries worldwide.
China and Russia have invested billions of
dollars in upgrading their surface-to-air mis-
sile defence networks, making it more diffi- director of Boeing Phantom Works Interna- UAV propulsion, having acquired Florida
cult for the USA and allies to penetrate their tional, the unit helping to develop the new Turbine Technologies, a manufacturer of
airspace in the event of war, even with UAV with Australia. small turbine engines, for $60 million on 28
stealthy fifth-generation fighters such as the Boeing declines to comment on overcom- February.
F-35, say defence analysts. ing possible Missile Technology Control Re- Kratos has eight UAVs under development,
What is more, by investing in long-range gime (MTCR) regulatory hurdles around ex- including six that are funded by customers,
cruise missiles – and more recently, hyper- porting such an aircraft. However, US the firm said in its fiscal year 2019 earnings
sonic weapons – Beijing and Moscow have President Donald Trump’s administration is call. The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit
the potential to push US aircraft carriers far lobbying MTCR member states to relax re- has contracted Kratos to integrate unspecified
back from their shores and thus reduce the strictions around so-called “category 1” sensors on board the Mako UTAP-22, and the
strike potential of manned aircraft. Some de- UAVs – those that can carry a minimum pay- AFRL has contracted it to demonstrate its
fence analysts worry that adversaries could load of 500kg (1,100lb) and have a range of at Loyal Wingman concept with the XQ-58A
even destroy expensive stealth aircraft sitting least 162nm (300km). Valkyrie. Kratos’s other four development
on the ground in the US mainland via mis- Export regulations aside, there are already partners are undisclosed. The company says
siles from aircraft, submarines or launchers signs that the teaming UAV market is quickly it expects several more programmes to be
hidden on board civilian container ships. expanding. For example, Kratos has more under contract by the end of this year.
than doubled its number of drone develop- So-called loyal wingman drones are an idea
GLOBAL MARKET ment programmes in the past 12 months and whose time has come, believes Ken Herbert, a
Against such threats, the USAF and now the has added manufacturing facilities while stock analyst with Canaccord Genuity.
Royal Australian Air Force expect there may making a significant acquisition. “I think the business case is very strong,”
be strength in numbers. For its part, Boeing To accommodate its increased workload, he says. “AI and autonomous technology has
believes such a concept would appeal to air last year Kratos opened a 9,300sq m reached the point where this market is really
forces the world over. (100,000sq ft) production plant in Oklahoma starting to take off, whether it be for force pro-
“There are a number of shots on goal with- City, Oklahoma. It has also disclosed plans tection, for intelligence, surveillance and re-
in this capability area that have been identi- to sign a lease agreement on another manu- connaissance, or for strike capability.”
fied by a number of different governments, facturing facility at an undisclosed location, Boeing’s product is conceptually similar
not just the US government with the Loyal in addition to its Sacramento, California, to the AFRL’s Loyal Wingman concept and is
Wingman programme,” says Shane Arnott, production site. It also is investing to improve a demonstrator aircraft. Formally called the

30 | Flight International | 12-18 March 2019


Initial prototypes will not differ much in

appearance from an eventual production
model of the aircraft, although the guts of the
UAV will be highly modifiable, says Boeing.
That would allow different military operators
to swap payloads such as intelligence, sur-
veillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors,
says the company.
“We really approached this very similarly
to our commercial side of the business,” says
Kristin Robertson, vice-president and general
manager of Boeing Autonomous Systems.
“Really to pivot off not a specific set of re-
quirements, but rather more of a global market
and set of capabilities.”
Boeing expects the UAV to make its first
flight in 2020. The company has committed to

Join the
building three prototypes at an undisclosed
location in Australia, and declines to reveal
where production examples of the aircraft
would be manufactured. The Airpower Team-
ing System is the first unmanned aircraft de-

signed and built by Boeing outside the USA,
the company says.
“Australia presents a unique opportunity
for unmanned, because it’s a large country
[with] low population density,” says Arnott.
“There are lots of wide-open spaces, for us to
go and try. Fly, fail, you know – get the suc-
cess quicker.”
Airpower Teaming System concept aims
to strengthen manned aircraft in combat AFFORDABILITY
Boeing is also building the demonstrator with
against emerging threats – and cut costs large-scale production in mind. “We are actu-

ally working the manufacturing system,” says

Arnott. “Every part about the affordability
here is making sure we know we can hit the
price point at mass.”
As part of the effort to keep costs low, the
Airpower Teaming System will be powered
by a commercial turbofan engine, although
the company declines to identify the type se-
lected. Boeing also will not say how much
each UAV would cost, but Kratos has claimed
that it will be able to produce its air vehicles
for as little as $2 million each.
“It is a real disruptive price point,” says
Robertson. The aircraft will have “fighter-like
capability, at a fraction of the cost,” she says.
Some analysts doubt that Boeing will price
its UAV at as low as $2 million apiece, given

its larger overheads, and expect an aircraft

Surprise unveiling took place during Avalon air show, with investment worth A$40 million that is significantly more expensive.
“Just knowing the cost structure differences
Loyal Wingman Advanced Development ­Christopher Pyne said: “It’s not just a protec- between Boeing and Kratos, I’d be surprised if
Programme, Boeing’s initiative is partially tor for the F-35A, but can also be used with Boeing is doing this for that cheap – although
funded by the Australian government – to the Wedgetail, Poseidon and other plat- it is possible,” Herbert says.
the tune of A$10 million ($7.1 million) per forms,” pointing to a potential application as Nonetheless, purchase price is just the tip
year, for a potential total of A$40 million – a “shield” for such manned surveillance of the iceberg when it comes to the total cost
and is intended to provide key learnings to- platforms. of any aircraft, notes T X Hammes, a research
wards production of the eventual Airpower “They want to experience by doing, by get- fellow at the US National Defense University.
Teaming System, the company says. ting some systems flying and having to play He points to the F-35’s operating costs of
Speaking during the mock-up’s unveiling with them,” says Arnott of the Australian gov- $35,000 per flying hour, and its bulky, expen-
at the Avalon show, defence minister ernment’s plan. sive and currently dysfunctional diagnostics ❯❯ 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 31


Autonomous outriders could support

types including F/A-18F Super Hornet

❯❯ infrastructure, the Autonomic Logistics has also declined to disclose an expected top able to manage the workload of not only
Information System. By contrast, a loyal speed for the product, but says the UAV managing my own sophisticated airborne
wingman drone has the potential to be cheap would keep pace with modern fighters. platform, while being able to care for these
and simple, through the elimination of parts, “As you are screaming along at 600kt autonomous wingmen?”
maintenance costs and personnel. (1,110km/h) in your Super Hornet, then you If issues around manned-unmanned team-
“Essentially, it’s the difference between a have these systems flying around you,” says ing are resolved, loyal wingman UAVs could
1962 Volkswagen Bug with four cylinders… Arnott. “You’ll have four to six systems that profoundly change air battles of the future.
and a modern engine in a Ferrari,” he says. are a logical extension of your fighting capa- Commanders could, for example, offload
“The maintenance between the two: the one bility; they are under your command.” The risky missions in hostile airspace, such as
you can do in your back yard with a set of six UAVs will use artificial intelligence software strikes on radar installations, missile sites and
wrenches. The other requires computers and to fly independently or in support of manned surface-to-air missile batteries.
everything else.” aircraft, while maintaining a safe distance be- “If you could put up a flight of four fourth-
tween others in the formation, says Boeing. generation aircraft accompanied by eight of
FAST-JET PERFORMANCE Proving the aircraft’s autonomous capabili- these [UAVs], if nothing else, it confuses the
The Airpower Teaming System drone will ties may be the key to its adoption, says Jia enemy radar signature or attack signature.
measure 11.7m (38ft) long and have a range of Xu, senior engineer and associate director of He’s got to address these guys,” says Hammes.
more than 2,000nm, says Boeing. The compa- the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center “You can’t afford to let one of these things
ny declines to say whether the aircraft’s shape at the Rand Corporation. go by if he’s got two air-to-air missiles on it or
or skin would give it a stealthy radar cross “There’s definitely issues of trust,” he two small-diameter bombs. Obviously, it mas-
section, although that would appear to be the says. “Will my wingmen run into me? Will sively complicates the defence.”
case, given its configuration. The company they do what I intended them to do? Will I be Boeing declines to say if its aircraft would be
capable of carrying weapons internally or ex-
ternally. However, beyond lethal missions,
such UAVs could also conduct ISR duties, plus
electronic warfare tasks, the company says.
“It’s a configurable system,” says Arnott.
“The nose has a very significant payload area
that is built to enable that sort of multi-­
mission nature.”
Unlike some of Kratos’s UAVs, which are
based on target drones with rocket-assisted
take-off abilities, Boeing’s Airpower Teaming
System will take off and land conventionally
using landing gear.
The aircraft is not designed to land on air-
craft carriers, but Robertson says there is noth-
Kratos is developing XQ-58A Valkyrie
US Air Force

ing in its design stopping the addition of that

for US Air Force Research Laboratory
capability. ■

32 | Flight International | 12-18 March 2019



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From yuckspeak to tales of yore, send your offcuts to

Concorde –

Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal
Matters in Madrid
Jumbo killer Monkeying about by the
British Airways’ repainting of a authorities in regard to flying
Boeing 747-400 in BOAC some of our
colours and the anniversary of planes to Madrid
Concorde’s maiden flight revive for commercial
memories of a parliamentary “missionary“
discussion in 1970. work cannot but have an
With a row keeping three effect upon the susceptible
newly-shipped BOAC 747s on Spaniards. Matters are not
the ground at Heathrow, MP so revolutionary in Spain as
Cranley Onslow took the chance to warrant such vacillation.
to big up Concorde and put the
boot into the US aircraft. Peace of the world
“We hear it said that the Mr. Bowles spoke in favour
distinctive noise of the 747 is of the internationalisation of
made by the people inside it, civil aviation, as
screaming for drinks,” he said, the Labour
suggesting that passengers on Australians, as we know, can be rather direct at times. Party’s solution.
this “flying omnibus” would This sign, at the entrance to the recent “Air Show Down They believed it
suffer from discomfort and Under” at Avalon, and next to an empty chair, does little was the only scheme to save
dehydration as a result of the to dispel the stereotype. The country’s chief bean- the peace of the world.
journey time. counter – the auditor general – warned late last year Mr. Hughes intimated that
“When the Concorde is in about the unknown and likely mounting costs of the others’ arguments were
service, we shall get back to real country’s Lockheed Martin F-35 acquisition programme. inspired by the urge for
first-class air travel,” Onslow power, and thus led to war.
declared. “As soon as BOAC
and Air France put the out all the stops to mark Concorde cruises
Concorde into general airline Concorde’s golden jubilee. Less than a week after its
service, I believe that we shall As part of a lunch to mark 50 Max Kingsley-Jones/FlightGlobal first flight, Concorde was
find the first-class lounges of the years since the delta dart flew, airborne again
747s empty.” attended by luminaries from the on March 8.
BA’s premium passengers, of airliner’s flying career, the Andre Turcat was
course, are still enjoying first- museum lowered and raised the in command as
class travel on the 747-400 famous droop-nose that has before. The flight lasted
while Concorde has been idle been lovingly restored on its She droops to conquer 61min, during which the
on the ground at Heathrow Concorde, G-BBDG. aircraft was flown at speeds
since… well, considerably A lucky raffle winner got to under the aptly named Nancy- of up to 300kt and altitudes
longer than BOAC’s Jumbos ever move the cockpit lever, first Bird Walton initiative, has of 15,000ft. Concorde is
were. lowering the glass visor and then pledged to ensure that women expected to make two more
the nose through its 5° taxi/take- make up half the airline’s cadet flights this week.
off setting to the 12.5° fully-down intake by the late 2020s.
What a conk position that gave the aircraft its Walton, the youngest Record keeping
Meanwhile, on 2 March, the distinctive birdlike appearance Australian woman to gain a The UK Department of
Brooklands Museum at on final approach. pilot’s licence and an Transport (DTp) will shortly
Weybridge near London pulled The nose – and more international aviation celebrity tell Government
importantly the visor – were in the 1930s, died 10 years ago, ministers that
returned to the up position, aged 93. it has now
much to the delight and relief of Western Sydney Airport, due found a way of
museum staff and volunteers. to open in 2026, will perhaps privatising the nation’s ­air-
serve as a longer-lasting traffic-control service. The
memorial to Walton than the Conservative Government
Nancy’s legacy Qantas Airbus A380 that also has a long record of
The decision to name Sydney’s bears her name. privatising public utilities.
Wong May-E/AP/REX/Shutterstock

new airport after pioneering It gained fame as VH-OQA,

aviator Nancy-Bird Walton the superjumbo steered back 100-year archive
should do no harm to the safely to Singapore by Capt Every issue of Flight
industry’s efforts to get more Richard de Crespigny and his from 1909 onwards
women into the cockpit. This is crew after an uncontained can be viewed online at
a cause close to the heart of engine failure, before being
Hats off to Nancy-Bird Qantas boss Alan Joyce, who repaired and returned to the air. 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 35


­ ecause of the country’s popula-

production tion size and geography, but they
Travellers to settle for tin tubes are not reaping the rewards they
should be.
Most of these carriers’ fleets
We welcome your letters on any
aspect of the aerospace industry.
consist of Boeing 737s and Air-
Please write to: bus A320s – and considerable
The Editor, Flight International, numbers of each. So would it not
Quadrant House, The Quadrant, be a better move financially to
Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS, UK employ larger aircraft such as
Or email: 787s, A330s, or even second- hand 747s in the interim until
The opinions on this page do not they can afford newer airliners?
necessarily represent those of the editor.
Letters without a full postal address sup-
They are cheaper to operate in
plied may not be published. Letters may the long run, given the high
also be published on ­passenger volumes.
and must be no longer than 250 words. Japan does this on its short-
haul routes, so this should not

present any difficulty for India.
Four engines are The A380: popular with passengers but beaten by economics New airports are being
planned so the country could ac-
better than two The slow – if inevitable – closing of the Airbus A380 production commodate the larger aircraft –
The demise of the Airbus A380 line saddens me (Flight International, 19-25 February). and land is plentiful.
and the gradual retirement of the I have never flown in the aircraft, but I have yet to read or Peter Carey
Boeing 747 is regrettable. hear any unfavourable comments regarding passengers’ via email
In future we will circumnavi- ­experience.
gate the globe on two engines. Reg- So, do we have to settle for tin tubes and plastic pipes in the
ulatory influences, complacency sole interest of operating economics? Environmental
and economics play their part. On a happier note, I love the new-look Flight International
I recall an incident involving a – strong, modern and persuasive. considerations
passenger liner in 1912. As tech- David Stevens It is unfortunate that Airbus is to
nology had moved on to such a via email cancel the A380 (Flight
degree, it was assumed that if an- International, 19-25 February).
ything happened to the Titanic, it Depending on your environ-
would just shrug it off. Who the two countries even if London mental viewpoint, this aircraft
would need lifeboats? Swiss pleas opts to leave the EU without could be considered an ideal
We now have a situation We Swiss love the British, and as striking a deal. Nothing is going platform for the current climate.
whereby aircraft systems and en- a non-EU member, we follow to change between us. Stay If we had any concern for our
gines are so reliable we can build closely what happens in your strong. environment, we would agree to
in a bit of complacency and alter country. Capt Fabio Schulthess build no new runways or air-
the regulations to suit. I have my doubts that Brexit Ascona, Switzerland ports until existing capacity was
I have flown regularly for insecurities had anything to do used to full effect.
many decades in an amazing va- with the collapse of UK airline The A380 has a maximum
riety of aircraft and am not a
nervous passenger.
BMI Regional (Flight Internation-
al, 26 February-4 March). Planning ahead ­capacity of 853 passengers and is
specifically designed to be used
However, if I took a long jour- Switzerland was told more Having read your article at slot-constrained airports and
ney across water, say, I would be than 25 years ago that if it does “Growth Area” on the Indian from hubs.
more comfortable with four en- not join the EU, it will go down aviation sector (Flight Interna- If airlines knew that airports
gines rather than two. the drain. In fact, the opposite tional, 12-18 February), I would not be expanded and that
Single-engined airliners in 25 happened. It may interest your ­venture to suggest that this existing slots had to be fully
years? You know it makes readers to learn that the Swiss ­lovely country might be the ­utilised, then the A380 would
­economic sense. and UK governments formalised ­victim of its own success. be sustainable.
Tim Mear a bilateral deal in February to Four large airlines are ­enjoying Rev Craig Smith
Uckfield, East Sussex, UK ­preserve trade relations between high utilisation of their fleets Manchester, UK

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Keeping the airspace under control

Shanice Woodman is an air traffic controller at London Biggin Hill airport, a role she relishes because
of the “balancing act” required by the wide variety of aircraft types that use the facility on a daily basis

How did you get into aviation? and even heritage aircraft such as
My journey to becoming an air Spitfires. There are very few
traffic controller at London Big- ­airports left in the c­ountry that
gin Hill airport began when I serve such a variety of aircraft,
was 13. I joined the RAF Air and as a controller it really does
Training Corps, staying with make you think on your feet. The
them for eight years. That was annual Festival of Flight air
where my love for aviation was show in August is also every
born. When I later saw an advert plane spotter’s dream.
for a role at my local airport for What are the challenges?
an air traffic control assistant, I I’m one of those lucky people
took the opportunity. I was in who wakes up to a job they love
that role for seven years, and the every day, but I would say the
airport kindly offered to help toughest element of it is being a
fund my studies. shift worker, when most of my
How has your career friends and family work
progressed? ­Monday to Friday jobs. I have to
To get to where I am now, I com- try just that bit harder to make
pleted five months’ study at an my social and home life fit in

London Biggin Hill Airport

aviation training college in around my job.
Gloucestershire, where you Where do you see yourself five
learn the theory behind air traf- years from now?
fic control and complete a cer- I’d like to continue my career
tain number of hours on a very Woodman loves her job, but says shift work can impact family life progression and work towards
realistic 3D simulator.  I’ve now one day becoming a senior air
started on-the-job training with aerodrome. I will then receive a traffic controller. I was inspired
a mentor at London Biggin Hill,
“London Biggin Hill’s handover from a controller who by the example of women like
where I’ll build up hours to be- air traffic varies from is already plugged in, telling me Yvonne Sintes, the first female
come solo controller. light aircraft to private what the current traffic situation air traffic controller, and I’d like
What have been the highlights? is. Once I agree to the handover, to give something back, encour-
The first time I interacted with a jets, helicopters and my mentor and I take over from aging more young people to
pilot and aircraft in a live situa- even Spitfires” where the last controller left off. ­consider science, technology en-
tion was a real highlight for me. Controllers can only legally gineering and maths, or STEM,
I don’t think I’ll ever forget that work for a maximum of two subjects and a career in air traf-
experience or the nerves that ty of business, leisure and herit- hours at a time before having to fic control. n
came with it. I could tell you the age aircraft that fly in and out of take a break, to prevent fatigue. Looking for a job in aerospace?
type, registration and destina- the airport every day, it’s a real In these breaks I receive a de- Check out our listings online at
tion right now! balancing act – especially brief on my performance, study
What does your current job ­because there aren’t any slot manuals and enjoy a well-
entail? ­restrictions, meaning there are earned coffee. If you would like to feature in
As an air traffic controller I use no set daily flight arrivals or What do you enjoy most? Working Week, or you know
surveillance technology to track ­departures. Each day I arrive at No two days are the same – and I someone who would, email
planes “en route” to London the control tower and check for love that London Biggin Hill’s air your pitch to kate.sarsfield@
Biggin Hill and keep in touch any notices and weather reports, traffic varies so much, from light
with pilots. With the wide varie- or any closures to parts of the aircraft to private jets, helicopters 12-18 March 2019 | Flight International | 43

K N O W I N G M O R E P U T S Y O U A B O V E T H E C L O U D S.
A N D A N A LY T I C S T O K E E P T H E W O R L D I N M O T I O N .

A s m a r t e r wa y.