Taking Satellite Propulsion from Fabergé Eggs to Mass Production: Interview with Brad King of Orbion Space Technology

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Orbion Space Technology’s Hall effect thrusters.

Orbion Space Technology is developing the Aurora propulsion system to serve the growing small satellite market. Orbion is relying on tried-and-true Hall effect propulsion technology as the basis for its Aurora system. Instead of developing a system based on entirely new technology, Orbion is working to mass produce systems based on proven technology. Continue reading

Forecast Roundtable – The Global Defense Spending Environment: A Look Back, a Look Forward

By Matthew Beres and Dan Darling, Forecast International.

 

Welcome to the Forecast Roundtable Podcast. Forecast Roundtable brings together expert analysts, industry professionals, and government officials to discuss the latest issues in the aerospace and defense markets. Produced at the Forecast International headquarters, Forecast Roundtable offers unique and in depth insight and discussion on any range of topics from geopolitics to aerospace and defense markets.

This episode features Dan Darling, International Military Markets analyst, and Matthew Beres, Airborne Retrofit and Modernization analyst, as they discuss the global defense spending environment. Continue reading

Airbus, Boeing January Commercial Aircraft Orders and Deliveries & 2018 Forecast

Both Companies Report Weak Numbers As Expected Following Wild December Surge

by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent.

On February 13, the Airbus A321LR marked a new milestone by completing a nonstop Paris-New York flight – demonstrating its ability to serve new markets and operate on North Atlantic routes. The A321LR has the longest range of any single-aisle commercial aircraft and is able to fly 4,600 miles nonstop. Photo Courtesy of Airbus SAS

Boeing and Airbus delivered 44 and 27 commercial jets in January 2018, respectively, compared to 44 and 25 deliveries during the same month last year. Following the traditional December deliveries surge, weak delivery figures were expected last month. 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

BAE Systems’ Semi-Autonomous Software Speeds Combat Decisions in Contested Environments

by Matthew Beres, Airborne Retrofit & Modernization Analyst, Forecast International.

Distributed Battle Management System. Photo: DARPA

BAE Systems recently announced the development of semi-autonomous software under the Distributed Battle Management program.  The DBM program of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency provides timely and relevant information to operators and pilots when communication is not assured so they can better manage and control air-to-air and air-to-ground combat in contested environments.  DBM technology enables pilots to continue operations when satellite communications and tactical datalinks are shut down – a likely scenario in the modern battlefield, and one that militaries are preparing for. Continue reading

NASA Finally Sets a Direction Under President Trump, But Will Its Plans Make It Through Congress?

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

This artist rendering shows an aerial view of the liftoff of the 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity configuration SLS from the launchpad. Funding for the SLS will continue. Source: NASA

America’s preeminent space agency is proposing a major change in focus for FY19. Along with the rest of the federal government, NASA released its fiscal year 2019 budget request on February 13. While NASA’s budget faced few changes in President Donald Trump’s FY18 budget request, for FY19 NASA is looking to shift its priorities and thereby change how its funding is spent. Continue reading

JSTARS Replacement Program Canceled Yet Again

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System Recapitalization (JSTARS Recap) program funding dropped in FY19.

It’s official.  The U.S. Air Force has taken formal steps to implement its stated intention to abandon the JSTARS Recap program. In the Department of Defense’s recently released forecast year 2019 budget documents, all requests for funding related to JSTARS Recap research, development, testing, and evaluation were dropped, with FY18’s budget of $417.2 million reduced to nothing. Continue reading

Pratt & Whitney’s GTF Woes Continue as Regulator Warns of Potential In-Flight Dual-Engine Shutdown

by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent.

Airbus is assessing the situation after the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an emergency airworthiness directive concerning a potential dual-engine in-flight shutdown on A320neo family aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G PurePower geared turbofan (GTF) engine.  Photo Courtesy of Pratt & Whitney

On Friday, February 9, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive warning operators of a potential dual-engine in-flight shutdown on A320neo family jets powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G geared turbofan engine. Such a directive is issued when an unsafe condition exists that requires immediate action by an aircraft’s owner or operator. Continue reading

General Dynamics Expands IT Offerings with $9.6 billion CSRA Buy

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

In a move aimed at gaining even more critical mass in its information technology services, General Dynamics has agreed to acquire CSRA in a deal valued at $9.6 billion, including the assumption of $2.8 billion in CSRA debt.  Continue reading

Falcon Heavy Launches Successfully, but What Does the Future Hold for SpaceX’s Giant Rocket?

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

spacex falcon heavy tesla roadster launch

SpaceX Falcon Heavy blasting off on its first flight – Source: Flickr / SpaceX

With much fanfare, SpaceX successfully conducted a test launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket. The rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 3:45 p.m. EST (8:45 p.m. UTC) on February 6. Following launch, the Falcon Heavy successfully placed its payload, one of CEO Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadsters, into its intended orbit. Two of the three boosters also returned for a successful landing. The one small mark against the mission was the failure to land the core stage on SpaceX’s ocean barge. Continue reading

India’s Illusory Defense Budget Hike

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

India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unveiled the government’s fiscal year 2018 Union Budget on February 1. Included within the budget is a year-on-year nominal increase of 5.91 percent for defense. The latest outlay marks the fourth consecutive increase by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pushes India’s topline defense budget from its 2017 revised estimate of INR2.79 trillion ($43.6 billion) up to INR2.96 trillion ($46 billion) for 2018. Continue reading