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
The U.S. Air Force is finally getting a new helicopter to replace its aging UH-1N Huey fleet. The venerable Huey will be replaced by the MH-139, a militarized version of the AW139, being built by a team of Boeing and Leonardo. The UH-1Ns primarily provide ballistic missile base security but also perform VIP transport and search-and-rescue operations. Continue reading
Earlier in September, a curious development took place in Spanish-Saudi bilateral relations. On September 4, Spain announced that it had terminated the sale of 400 precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and would return a $10.6 million payment to the Gulf nation.[i] The announcement won praise from human rights agencies, but prompted head-scratching even within the Spanish government. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat the day after the report emerged, the Spanish Consul to Saudi Arabia, Pablo Perez, said, “The Spanish embassy was surprised by these claims,” noting that “our ties with Saudi Arabia are fraternal and friendly.”[ii] Around a week later, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell announced a reversal, saying that the Spanish government “found no reason not to carry” the munition sale out.[iii] Continue reading
In a live-streamed presentation, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be the first paying passenger aboard the company’s developmental Big Falcon Rocket (BFR). Maezawa plans to fly aboard the BFR on a week-long mission that will orbit the moon in 2023. Maezawa reserved an entire rocket so that he could take along artists who will use the experience to inspire their work. Continue reading
The U.S. Congress continues to push the Department of Defense to develop new missile defense technologies, but it remains to be seen if some of these efforts will come to fruition. In particular, the FY19 defense authorization bill recently signed into law calls for developing a new space-based missile defense layer and a boost phase intercept capability. Last year’s FY18 defense authorization bill also included provisions for space-based and boost phase missile defense, if consistent with the Ballistic Missile Defense Review. The new FY19 authorization bill essentially reworks those original provisions, and calls for the development of these technologies subject to the availability of appropriations. Continue reading
Boeing Reaffirms Full-Year Delivery Target, Makes Good Progress toward Fixing Delays
by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent, Forecast International.
Boeing and Airbus delivered 64 and 54 commercial jets in August 2018, respectively, compared to 66 and 46 deliveries during the same month last year. August is traditionally an average month for deliveries. With only 39 deliveries in July as a result of 737 delays due to late deliveries of fuselages and engines from suppliers, Boeing made a strong comeback. While the company’s supply chain woes have not disappeared, the company has taken steps to mitigate the problem and has stated that it is making good progress toward fixing the logjam by year end. The company 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
After years of difficulty, Bombardier has made some bold moves under its five-year restructuring plan, begun in 2015.
The most dramatic of these steps has been the formation of a joint venture, majority led by Airbus, to take over the CSeries program. This effort, begun in late 2017, became official in July 2018 when Airbus assumed a 50.01 percent controlling stake in the program. The CSeries was quickly rebranded as the Airbus A220 after the joint venture took control of the program. The two new models in Airbus’ lineup, the A220-100 and A220-300, were formerly known as the CS100 and CS300, respectively. Continue reading
The helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) sector has been one of the bright spots for civil rotorcraft manufacturers at a time when the industry has tended to struggle due to very low demand from the key offshore oil and gas sector. Solid demand for new rotorcraft from emergency medical services (EMS) operators has helped to soften somewhat the steep decline in the civil turbine helicopter market experienced since 2013, and is now helping to kickstart recovery in the market. Continue reading
by Larry Dickerson, Unmanned Vehicles Analyst, Forecast International.
The United States has selected Boeing as its contractor for the MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aerial tanker. Boeing won an $805 million engineering and manufacturing development contract to provide four aircraft. The MQ-25 Stingray will allow for better use of combat strike fighters by extending the range of deployed naval combat aircraft, according to the U.S. Navy. Continue reading
Forecast International has introduced a critical new upgrade to the Industrial & Marine Turbine Forecast module of its Platinum Forecast System. With this latest update, the Platinum Forecast System, Version 4.0, now provides forecasts of total additional annual installed capacity. Now, users can see three vital statistics projections for the industrial and marine turbines market – unit production, value of production, and total capacity of production – over the next 15 years, plus historical data stretching back 10 years. Continue reading