Babcock International Awarded Contract by Italy for Airborne Firefighting Service

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

CL-415 fire fighter drops water on flames

Europe and North America both experienced devastating wildfires in 2017, part of a current trend that pits suburban sprawl against hazardous fire-prone geography. Airborne firefighting platforms such as the CL-415 are often vital to firefighting responses following a major fire outbreak.

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Is Croatian Interest in Argentine Border Control Radars Real or Just Politi-Speak?

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

TPS-43 air surveillance radar

An official Argentine government report indicates that during her visit to the country in mid-March, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and her counterpart, Argentine President Mauricio Macri, discussed defense electronics-related business among other topics. Reportedly, Grabar-Kitarović told Macri that her country might be interested in acquiring border control radars from prominent Argentine industrial and electronics giant INVAP. Continue reading

Spirit AeroSystems Set to Expand Fabrication and Defense Portfolio

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

With its restructuring a resounding success, Spirit AeroSystems is investing in growing its core operations to meet demand.

As Spirit AeroSystems’ fortunes mirror those of Boeing (which accounts for about 80 percent of its revenues), the current production ramp-ups are good news.  Backlog remains high at Boeing, and the announced production rate increases on such aircraft as the 737 will only funnel more work to Spirit.  In addition, Boeing’s decision to pursue the 737 MAX – in which Spirit will play a significant role – will continue to add to the backlog. Continue reading

MRO Robotics Enhancing Aircraft Inspections

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

Inspection Robot. Source: Invert Robotics

SR Technics recently announced a partnership with Invert Robotics to implement a robotics solution that will enhance its aircraft maintenance inspections. Developed by Invert Robotics, the robot explores airframe surfaces to assess required maintenance needs.  Continue reading

Turkmenistan’s President Snubs Central Asian Summit

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the 2014 Caspian Summit. Photo from Russian Presidency website.

On March 15, 2018, four Central Asian leaders met at an important summit in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, to discuss regional issues ranging from economic to environmental to security concerns. The summit featured the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, and marked a significant moment for the region, as Uzbekistan, after years of strained relations, has worked under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to improve his country’s ties with the other Central Asian states. Continue reading

Airbus Navigates through a Challenging Year and Lands with a More Stable Outlook

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

A380. Source, Airbus

Airbus had quite the tumultuous year, with corruption investigations, aircraft delivery delays due to engine issues, doubts over the A380’s future, and financial penalties associated with its A400M airlifter.  Despite the difficulties, the company did score a major win during the year with its surprise acquisition of a majority stake in Bombardier’s CSeries program. The year ahead looks to be one of transition as management changeover at the top level continues apace. Continue reading

Raytheon to Improve B-2 Antennas Under $40 Million Contract Mod

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

B-2 Spirit

Raytheon was recently awarded a $39.9 million contract modification to produce an additional two B-2 antenna tool aids. This brings Raytheon’s antenna supplemental contract up to $113.7 million in value.  A similar contract, for $23.4 million, was awarded to Raytheon in September 2017. Continue reading

World General Aviation Aircraft Shipments Up 5% in 2017 – Revenues Slip

U.S. Manufacturers Deliver 529 Aircraft in Fourth Quarter – Up 20 Units from Q4 2016

by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent, Forecast International.

In 2017, for the fifth consecutive year, Gulfstream was the largest general aviation aircraft manufacturer in the world by revenues. The company delivered 120 business jets worth a total of $6.6 billion. Photo: Gulfstream Aerospace Corp

According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), in the fourth quarter of 2017, manufacturers worldwide reported higher deliveries than in 4Q 2016, but on lower revenue. Fixed-wing general aviation aircraft manufacturers delivered 792 aircraft worldwide in Q4 2017, up 4.6 percent from 757 in Q4 2016. Revenues declined 3.0 percent to $7.3 billion, mainly due to lower revenues reported by Bombardier and Embraer. Continue reading

Airbus and Boeing Report February 2018 Commercial Aircraft Orders and Deliveries

Rare Orders for 747-8s and A380s the Highlights of the Month

by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent.

On February 1, 2018, UPS ordered 14 747-8 Freighters and four 767-300Fs. The company currently has a fleet of 16 747s and 61 767s and operated a total of 241 jets at the end of 2017. Photo: The Boeing Co


Boeing and Airbus delivered 49 and 38 commercial jets in February 2018, respectively, compared to 51 and 49 deliveries during the same month last year. Given that Airbus and Boeing expect major delivery hikes this year, it is surprising that both companies are trailing last year’s figures. 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

Unmanned Teaming in the Airborne Retrofit and Modernization Market

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

General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper. Image: USAF Photographic Archives

George Mason University was recently awarded a $25.5 million contract for the Mobile Unmanned/Manned Distributed Lethality Airborne Network (MUDLAN). Under the contract, airborne high-bandwidth, multibeam common datalink, autonomous connectivity will be demonstrated between tactical datalinks and swarming unmanned aircraft systems and small unmanned aircraft systems. Continue reading