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Farnborough International 2000: Day Two

FARNBOROUGH, England - The second day of FI2000 was highlighted by additional commitments to the Airbus A3XX superjumbo airliner from ILFC, which placed a total of $7.5 billion in orders with the European planemaker today at the show.

Boeing celebrated the launch of the longer range 777 program with a signing ceremony and champagne toast to its launch customers. All Nippon Airlines today also placed an order for the 777LR, and Emirates ordered the long range twinjet.

Orders at FI2000 have swelled to more than $36 billion in value, with Airbus now pulling slightly ahead of Boeing in this respect.

Day Two of FI2000 ended on a tragic note as news of an Air France Concorde crash at Charles de Gaulle Airport outside of Paris spread through the show grounds. Many FI2000 attendees were particularly affected by the terrible news, not only because of the Anglo-French partnership behind the Concorde program, but because the supersonic airliner holds a special place in the hearts of the British and the French nationals. Concorde is, of course, a flagship symbol of the British Airways and Air France fleet.

ILFC Signs for 5 A3XX, Places $7.5 Billion Order for 87 Airbus Jets

International Lease Finance Corp provided an additional vote of confidence in the superjumbo Airbus A3XX program at Farnborough today.

ILFC signed on for five A3XXs as part of an 87 aircraft order valued at $7.5 billion. Besides the A3XX, ILFC signed a letter of intent for 20 Airbus A330-200s and 62 Airbus A320 family jets. The LOI further provides for the possible acquisition by ILFC of up to 10 A330-500s, subject to the launch of this aircraft program.

ILFC chief executive Steven Udvar-Hazy endorsed the business case for the A3XX as a viable product for his customers, calling the A3XX the flagship of the 21st century.

"There is a big case for the A3XX," Hazy said today. "Our analysis of the inherent and residual values and earning capabilities of Airbus aircraft continues to be borne out by the market, and we are just as confident of securing airline placements for our A3XXs as for the rest of our Airbus fleet."

ILFC plans to take delivery of its first A3XX in 2006.

Hazy said ILFC has studied closely the markets now served by the reigning jumbojet, the Boeing 747, and found these markets growing at a rate of 5%-12% per year.

"By 2005, these markets will be saturated in terms of frequencies and slots, and the 747's ability to serve these markets will be diminished," says Hazy. "We need bigger aircraft to serve these markets."

Hazy also added that he has not ruled out buying the 747X, as well.

"By 2005, there will be room for the A3XX and potentially the 747X," said Hazy. "We're still gathering information on the 747X, but the A3XX has achieved the momentum. Boeing is looking at how to respond. But they have put versions of the 747X on the table, and we are evaluating them."

However, based on the latest figures from Boeing on its stretched derivative, Hazy says the operating costs for the A3XX are superior.

Today's ILFC 87-aicraft deal follows a commitment for 50 airbus jets announced in May. ILFC is Airbus' biggest single customer and has 480 Airbus jets on order.

- by Rebecca Rayko


Boeing 777LR Launch Customers Make it Official

Five major customers have now signed on for the longer range version of the Boeing 777, representing a total of 39 orders and commitments.

Attending the signing ceremony today were executives from All Nippon Airways, EVA Airways of Taiwan, GE Capital Aviation Services, International Lease Finance Corp, and Japan Airlines.

ANA announced its order for six 777-300LRs today, although four of these are conversions from other 777 models.

Of the longer range 777 commitments, EVA has committed to seven (four -300s and three -200s); GECAS, which ordered yesterday, will take 10; ILFC will take eight (also announced yesterday), and JAL will take eight -300LRs.

Also on hand for the ceremony was James McNerney, president of GE Aircraft Engines, the exclusive powerplant supplier for the longer range 777 program.

The GE90-115B will be the most powerful turbofan engine in the world providing 115,000 lbs of thrust. Next month, JAL will officially announce the GE90-115B as its engine selection for its 777-300LR fleet, with delivery to begin in 2004.

Testing of the high-flow swept fan blade began in mid-June at Boeing's Low Speed Aeroacoustic facility. FAR33 type certification of the GE90-115B by the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Community's Joint Airworthiness Authorities is targeted for 2002, with the longer range 777 to be ready for entry into service in 2003.

- by Rebecca Rayko

Emirates, ANA Order 777

All Nippon Airways has added its name to the growing list of customers for the longer range models of the Boeing 777, with an order for six of the -300 model.

In a champagne clinking ceremony, Boeing and GE executives could hardy contain their pleasure at a symbolic signing for the new models when EVA Air, JAL, GECAS and IFLC welcomed ANA to the launch customer group.

"This airplane is a game-changer for the industry," said James McNerney, president and CEO at GE Engines.

However, Boeing is yet to sign customers such as Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Air France and Cathay Pacific - all who have been touted as launch customers.

Emirates added to the 777's successful week at Farnborough with an order for six 777-300s but is yet to commit to the longer ranged models.

The order is valued at $1 billion and is expected to be finalized in three months.

- by Edward James

British Midland, Finnair, Kuwaiti Bank Also Go Airbus

The good news from Airbus didn't end with the ILFC announcements. Finnair ordered six additional aircraft from the Airbus A320 single-aisle family. The contract was signed today by Finnair's president Keijo Suila and Airbus managing director Nol Forgeard at the show.

It includes two A319s and four A320s. The aircraft are scheduled for delivery from 2002 and will be operated on the carrier's European scheduled network.

Separately, UK-based British Midland formally announced its order for its first Airbus widebodies. The airline plans to operate a fleet of up to 12 Airbus A330-200s, which will begin delivering in 2001.

British Midland also confirmed its commitment for two Airbus A320s, which will deliver in 2001 and 2002.

Kuwait Finance House, an Islamic bank and the parent company of Aviation Lease and Finance Company, an aircraft lessor based in Kuwait, announced its intention to purchase four new A320-200s from Airbus.

The aircraft, valued at approximately $200 million, will be delivered over a two-year period starting in 2003. They will be powered by CFM56 engines from CFM International.

- by Rebecca Rayko

C-27J Partnership on Track, Say Alenia and Lockheed

Alenia and Lockeed Martin have scotched rumors that their Trans-Atlantic partnership on the C-27J light tactical airlifter future is in doubt, when Alenia enters EADS.

Carmelo Cosentino, senior vice president of business development at Alenia said that there was no confusion over the future of the program and that the C-27J would be part of the EADS stable and Lockheed Martin would be a 50% partner.

"There is no confusion, the C-27J program continues with LM," he said.

However, there had been some setbacks on the progress of sales with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) suspending its competition for a replacement for 13 Caribou aircraft as it reviews its defense needs.

Australia is facing a budget shortfall and will review options and possibly reopen the competition next year.

But Greece was close to making a choice, with an order for 15 aircraft expected.

Total market is put at 500 units with Alenia hoping for 240.

The Italian Air Force has purchased 12 with the first deliveries expected in July 2001.

- by Edward James

Exostar Is Born

A few more details on the e-commerce exchange founded by Boeing, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon were unveiled in dramatic fashion today at FI2000.

None other than industry heavyweights Phil Condit (Boeing), Dan Burnham (Raytheon) John Weston (BAE Systems) and Vance Coffman (Lockheed Martin) revealed the name of the web-based exchange - Exostar - which will be operational by the end of September. The Exostar website ( was activated today.

This venture was originally announced in the spring.

"In 118 days, we've made amazing progress," Condit said. In that timeframe, the four partners have signed a definitive agreement and developed a plan to integrate the e-business activities of these companies, which are more often competitors than partners.

Exostar now has around 100 people staffing and setting up the venture that will bring supply chain management to a global exchange, said Coffman.

The international headquarters will be in Washington, DC, but Exostar will have a significant presence in Europe and Asia.

Also on hand to launch the aerospace B2B exchange was Commerce One chairman and CEO Mark Hoffman. Commerce One is the core technology provider for the exchange.

Again, not much in the way of details as to how the exchange will be structured was revealed. The aerospace CEOs, however, remained adamant that Exostar would rise above any antitrust challenge laid before it by governmental bodies.

"We'll answer any questions put before us," said Coffman. "There's nothing in our network that we don't do today in interacting with each other."

Boeing's Condit said, "We've built walls in the system so that we don't have access to each other's proprietary information."

The CEOs also issued repeated invitations for other aerospace companies to join the Exostar trading exchange.

- by Rebecca Rayko

Saab Ericsson Wins Space Contracts

Saab Ericsson Space won two electronics contracts with Astrium and Hughes Space and Communications.

The company will supply microwave electronics for the new Intelsat satellites (Intelsat-X) through subcontract with Astrium of Toulouse. The spacecraft are being built to provide telecommunications services over the Atlantic and will be located in the West Atlantic Ocean region. The Intelsat-X satellites are the largest and most powerful ever procured by Intelsat.

Saab Ericsson Space will develop and construct the satellite receivers for the C and Ku bands. The order requires 45 receivers to be delivered in 2001.

The Saab-Ericsson joint venture will also supply microwave electronics for a new high-speed Ka-band multimedia satellite system called Spaceway, which is part of Hughes Network Systems. Spaceway will provide high-speed bandwidth-on-demand satellite communications service in 2003.

Saab Ericsson Space will provide 18 upconverters and 32 downconverters. Delivery will take place in May 2001.

- by Rebecca Rayko

Alenia Marconi Sets Priorities for Future Development

ASM (Alenia Marconi Systems) is on its way to becoming one of the largest European defense systems by the year-end following the forthcoming addition of Plessey Electronics company from BAE Systems. Owned by BAE Systems of UK and Finmeccanica of Italy on 50/50 basis, the company claims to have an annual turnover of over $1.6 billion and a customer base in 100 counties.

David Singleton, CEO of Alenia Marconi Systems, told AWN that roughly 60% of the AMS business is to do with defense and further 10% with ATC systems. According to him, ASM spends 18% of its income on research and development (R&D) programs.

Except for development and manufacture of long range radars for various military services, AMS work on future command management systems which would integrate tactical C2 (communications and control), intelligence and information-processing means, data links and strategic command support systems, under "digitization of the battle space" conceptions.

In particular, AMS is shaping a future C2 system for the UK MoD in response to the critics on insufficient C2 capability demonstrated by European armed forces during the bombing campaign in Yugoslavia. Considerable investments are made into development of modern customer support, logistics and personnel training systems for the military. Industry's investments are required to help the armed force cut their expenses on maintaining their equipment.

It aims at becoming the key provider of air traffic control (ATC) equipment. Singleton said that by 2020 the UK would require five new Heathrow-sized airports, should the traffic continue to grow at the current rate of 7%. This growth requires modern ATC systems able to provide save movement of thousands of airplane in congested airspace in real time, and AMS says it is able to handle this job.

- by Vovick Karnozov

Boeing, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Broaden Space Cooperation

Boeing and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), partners in the International Space Station program, confirmed their long-term commitment to the ISS by expanding support projects for the program.

Boeing and MHI will work together on a range of payload integration for the H-II Transfer Vehicle, systems integration support for the Centrifuge Accommodation Module (CAM), US payload accommodation analysis for Kibo (the Japanese Experimental Module), and logistics activities related to those key elements.

The two companies announced plans to expand their cooperation in aerospace and other business areas in May. Besides the ISS, Boeing and MHI are studying electronic systems, launch programs, manned and unmanned space systems.

Development of new commercial airplanes, product services, financial support activities, and intelligent technology are also being studied in the commercial airplanes arena under the MOU signed last May.

Alan Mulally, president of Boeing commercial airplanes group, says he anticipates MHI will eventually work on the new longer range 777-200 and -300 programs, as well as the 747X as Boeing develops that program.

- by Rebecca Rayko


Continental Express Orders ERJ-145XR for $3 billion

Continental Express awarded Embraer a contract for 175 aircraft, including 75 firm orders and 100 options. The contract's value is $3 billion, of which $1.2 billion covers firm orders.

The aircraft order launches the new ERJ-145XRs (XR for Extra Long Range), a special version tailored to the airline's requirements. With the new contract in place, Continental's order book for ERJs totals 375 (firm orders and options), out of which 68 50-seat ERJ-145s and 12 37-seat ERJ-135s have been delivered. Some of the previously ordered 145s might come into the XR version.

The 145XR is to fly in first quarter of the next year; deliveries should start in August 2002, according to Mauricio Botelho, Embraer's CEO and president. Should the options turn into firm orders Continental Express will take delivery of the last aircraft ordered today in late 2004.

The ERJ-145XR differs from the basic airframe in having winglets, extra tanks and improved engines. Supplementary tanks are covered with fairings for smoother aerodynamic flow and fixed to the fuselage aft of the wing's centerplane section.

Extra fuel capacity allows for 2000 nm range with 50 passengers aboard, which is 500 nm more than for the basic ERJ-145. Winglets are added to reduce fuel burn. To cope with an increase in the maximum weight - the latter rose from 22 to 24 tons - some structural elements are beefed up. The cruise speed of Mach 0.78 and max payload of 5560 kg remain unchanged.

The XR features better field performance in hot-and-high conditions due to improved engines the AE3007A1E turbofans. Rolls-Royce says that it gets $1.02 billion for supplying engines for the newly ordered Continental airplanes.

According to Betelho, the extra fuel capacity allows regional airlines to explore new markets with the ERJ-145XR. Improvements made on the XR increased the plane's sticker price by $1.5 million.

- by Vovick Karnozov


Lockheed Teams With UK on Defense Projects

Two Lockheed Martin subsidiaries announced partnerships with UK-based defense companies today. Sanders, which soon will change hands to BAE Systems, will work with Pilkington Optronics, part of Thomson-CSF Racal, to work on the UK Fast Jet Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS) program.

The two companies signed a separate agreement under which Pilkington will manufacture electro-optical missile warning sensors to Sanders for in-country requirements.

Sanders will serve as prime contractor and systems integrator for the development and production phase of the Fast Jet MAWS program. Pilkington Optronics will provide electro-optical infrared sensors and circuit card fabrication, final assembly and test, and integrated logistics support.

Fast Jet MAWS will be provided on the Royal Air Force Tornado, Jaguar and Harrier aircraft against IR threats.

In a separate agreement, Pilkington will provide electro-optical missile warning sensors (EOMS) over the next five years to help meet Sanders' anticipated in-country sensor requirements.

Another Lockheed subsidiary, the Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems, and BAE Systems announced that the two companies will jointly pursue whether opportunities exist on international radar programs for surface ship applications.

The four-month study will focus on opportunities to upgrade the companies' respective radar products to enhance weapon system performance against ballistic missile threats.

The companies hope to defray R&D costs on developing a new shipboard radar suite for next-generation ships. A family of such radar systems could also be available for back-fit into existing ships to counter increasingly stealthy anti-ship missiles while providing defense against ballistic missiles.

- by Rebecca Rayko


Danish AF Orders Two More Challengers

The Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) ordered two more Challenger 604 jets from Bombardier, in addition to one such aircraft delivered last year. The respective agreement was signed by Major General Lars Fynbo (on behalf of RDAF) and Rob Gillespie, president of Bombardier's business aircraft division.

The two planes will come with additional equipment - presumably a surveillance radar and other sensors - for sea observation missions, while regaining VIP interior.

General Fynbo said that the planes will be used for fisheries protection, anti-pollution, observation and coastal patrol missions over waters washing territories under Danish jurisdiction in Europe and Greenland. Apart from that, the Challengers will also serve the Queen, other members of the royal family, ministers and state officials. All the three aircraft will be based at Vaerloese, north of Copenhagen. "Green" airplanes will leave factory in Tucson this fall for Montreal where they will get VIP interior and special equipment.

- by Vovick Karnozov


Work on IndAF AL-31PF Engines Nears Completion

Lyulka-Saturn design bureau, which has a stand in Hall 1, is completing work on AL-31PF engines for the Indian Air Force (IndAF) Su-30MKI multi-role fighters.

In 1998 India awarded AVPK Sukhoi a contract for 50 Su-30 fighters, including 42 aircraft in the Su-30MKI variant with thrust-vectoring nozzles. Talks are in progress on production of 200 Su-30MKIs in India under license. The Su-30MKI, whose deliveries to IndAF are scheduled to start next year, is to become the world's first in-service fighter with thrust vectoring capability.

The AL-31FP differs from the original AL-31F engine in use of the Su-27 (NATO codename Flanker) in having deflectable nozzles. Placing the order for Su-30MKI fighters, India demanded that the engines for those aircraft should have a TBO (time between overhaul) of 1000 flight hours, while the in-service AL-31-series engines on Su-27 family fighters have a TBO of 500 to 700 flight hours, depending on production series.

Albert Volkov, chief designer with Lyulka-Saturn, told AWN that the TBO extension program for the AL-31FP has been completed, but there is some work remaining to be done before the engine can be rendered fully meeting the customer's requirements. The work necessitates completion of the flight test program which is well in progress on a Su-30MK prototype, Blue 06, at the Flight Test and Research Institute in Zhukovsky near Moscow. For completion of the program two more Su-30 airframes in MKI configuration are being prepared at Sukhoi experimental aircraft factory in Moscow.

Meanwhile, the design bureau continues working on civilian versions of the AL-31 engine, such as the Al-31ST for gas-pumping stations. Nine of such units have been delivered to RAO Gazprom natural gas corporation.

At FI2000 there are two full-scale models of the AL-31F engine displayed, one at Lyulka-Saturn stand in Hall 1 (Su-27's AL-31F variant with no thrust vectoring manufactured by UMPO factory of Ufa), and the other at MMPP Salyut (experimental model with a thrust-vectoring nozzle, manufactured by MMPP Salyut of Moscow).

- by Vovick Karnozov

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