USAF Awards $2.3 Billion to Develop New Launch Vehicles

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Blue Origin New Glenn 2.   Source: Blue Origin

The U.S. Air Force has awarded three companies a combined $2.3 billion in contracts to help fund the development of new launch vehicles under the Air Force’s Launch Service Agreement (LSA) program. Under contracts announced on October 10, United Launch Alliance was awarded $967 million to develop the Vulcan Centaur launch system, Northrop Grumman was awarded $791.6 million to develop the OmegA launch system, and Blue Origin was awarded $500 million to develop the New Glenn launch system. Continue reading

AUSA 2018 Wrap-Up

by Thomas Dolzall, Defense Analyst, Forecast International.

The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) opened its annual meeting in Washington, DC, on October 8. The three-day exposition brings together a host of U.S. and international military personnel, defense industry representatives, and journalists and provides them with a common space in which to discuss emerging challenges in the field of international security and to take stock of the latest doctrinal and technological developments put forward by the defense sector and military planners. Continue reading

It’s a Mess Up There!

By Richard Sterk, Defense Electronics Analyst, Forecast International.

An Ever Increasing Number of Items Are Orbiting the Earth
Source: NASA

Until somewhat recently, space was a peaceful domain where orbital and flying craft were unprotected, but adversaries are now developing systems to counter advantages.  Traffic is building in space, as many new entrants have joined the ranks of spacefaring nations and counter‑space capabilities are becoming more of a concern. The United States must adapt its satellite constellations in response to such growing threats and elevate its game in space situational awareness. Continue reading

Airbus and Boeing Report September 2018 Commercial Aircraft Orders and Deliveries

Both Manufacturers Report Strong Deliveries; Boeing Still Well Ahead in Orders Race

by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent.

On September 3, Airbus booked an order for 25 A321neos for VivaAerobus, a low-cost carrier based in Mexico. The order was originally announced in July and also converts 16 A320neos to A321neos. VivaAerobus operates an all-Airbus fleet and has a total of 60 A320neo family jets on order. Photo Courtesy: Airbus SAS

Boeing and Airbus delivered 87 and 69 commercial jets in September 2018, respectively, compared to 78 and 55 deliveries during the same month last year. September is traditionally a busy month for deliveries. Boeing has made a strong comeback after the company only delivered 39 aircraft in July as a result of 737 delays due to late deliveries of fuselages and engines from suppliers. Boeing has stated that it is making good progress toward fixing the logjam by year end and has also reaffirmed its full-year delivery target. In 2017, Boeing delivered 763 jets (748 in 2016), in line with company expectations, while Airbus surpassed its delivery target of 700 jets by handing over 718 aircraft during 2017 (688 in 2016). Continue reading

Heads or Tails – or Wedgetail? Britain Weighing E-7 AEW Purchase

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Australian Wedgetail AEW&C Aircraft

The British Ministry of Defence has launched exclusive negotiations with Boeing regarding a potential buy of Wedgetail E-7 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed on October 2 that discussions with the U.S. manufacturer are underway, though exactly how many aircraft and at what cost are still yet to be outlined. Continue reading

Elbit Systems Gains Critical Mass with New Acquisitions

by Richard Pettibone, Aerospace & Defense Companies Analyst, Forecast International.

Condor 2 – EO/IR Long Range Oblique Photography (LOROP) system. Source: Elbit Systems

Ongoing conflicts and terrorism have increased the focus on defense systems for low-intensity conflicts, homeland security and cyber warfare – areas in which Elbit Systems is firmly established. Continue reading

Aircraft Procurement Soars in FY19 Defense Bill

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

Three F-35As and an F-35C fly over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Source: Lockheed Martin

Aircraft programs won big in the FY19 defense appropriations bill, which was released by Congress in September.  Lawmakers bolstered the major service aircraft accounts by a combined $2.5 billion in the bill, which includes an additional $1.2 billion for the Navy, $841.8 million for the Air Force, and $500.6 million for the Army.  Most of the major changes made to the aircraft coffers stemmed from the House Appropriations Committee markup, which originally called for an additional $2.4 billion in aircraft funding.  The Senate markup added $1.7 billion for aircraft, but the Army would have actually lost nearly half a billion dollars under the Senate bill.

Continue reading

USAF T-X Win Could Be Just the Start for New Boeing/Saab Aircraft

By Ray Jaworowski, Senior Aerospace Analyst, and Carter Palmer, Power Systems SpecialistForecast International.

Boeing/Saab T-X Trainer. Source – Boeing

On September 27, Boeing and Saab emerged as the winning team in the U.S. Air Force’s T-X advanced jet trainer contest.  The Air Force chose the team’s all-new, clean-sheet aircraft to replace its fleet of some 444 Northrop T-38Cs.  The service awarded Boeing an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, worth up to $9.2 billion, for the program.  The contract includes an initial delivery order, valued at $813.4 million, for five engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) aircraft and seven simulators. Continue reading

New-Start Programs Highlight Long-Term Outlook in Light Military Rotorcraft Market

By Ray Jaworowski, Senior Aerospace AnalystForecast International.

Airbus’ H160 selected for France’s hélicoptère interarmées léger (HIL) effort. Photo: Airbus

Data generated by Forecast International’s Platinum Forecast System 4.0 indicate that a number of planned new-start acquisition programs will kick-start demand in the long term in the light military rotorcraft market.  A total of 1,630 light military rotorcraft is projected to be produced during the 15-year timeframe between 2018 and 2032.  The value of this production is estimated at $24.4 billion in constant 2018 U.S. dollars.  In general, we define a light military rotorcraft as having a maximum gross weight of less than 6,804 kilograms (15,000 pounds). Continue reading

ULA Selects Blue Origin’s BE-4 Rocket Motor for Next Generation Launch Vehicle

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

vulcan, be-4, ar1, eelv

Artist’s Rendition of Vulcan Lifting Off

ULA has selected Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine for the Vulcan Centaur’s booster stage. The selection follows the completion of a competitive procurement contest. The liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueled booster will be powered by a pair of BE-4 engines, each producing 550,000 pounds of sea level thrust. ULA held a multiyear competition that pitted startup Blue Origin against industry incumbent Aerojet Rocketdyne, which proposed its AR1 engine. Once operational, the Vulcan, powered by the BE-4, will end reliance on the Russian-built RD-180 that powers the Atlas V currently used by ULA. Continue reading