Bombardier to Layoff 5,000, Sells Q400 Turboprop Program

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

Bombardier’s Q400 program has been sold to of Longview Aviation Capital. Photo: Bombardier

As part of a broad strategy to streamline its operations, Bombardier announced that it would sell off a number of non-core assets valued at $900 million and cut employment by 5,000. These moves are aimed at focusing the company on in its Transportation, Business Aircraft and Aerostructures segments.

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An Overview of the U.S. Commercial Aircraft Fleet

Recent U.S. DoT Data Reveals Fleet of 7,309 Aircraft Flying as of Year-End 2017

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

The Boeing 737-800 is the most commonly used aircraft by airlines in the United States. As of the end of 2017, American Airlines operated a fleet of 304 aircraft of this type, ahead of Southwest with 181 aircraft, United Airlines (141), Delta Air Lines (77), and Alaska Airlines (61).  Source: BriYYZ (flickr user).

Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation released its annual Schedule B-43 Inventory database, which contains all commercial aircraft in the U.S. inventory as of year-end 2017. Some inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the raw data were identified and fixed by Forecast International by cross-checking with individual airline fleet data.

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Sierra Nevada to Modify Two King Air 350 ISR/SAR Platforms for Saudi Arabia

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

Beechcraft King Air 350 EMARRS. Source: U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center

The U.S. Defense Department reports that Saudi Arabia has ordered the modification of two Beechcraft King Air 350 planes to fulfill an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance role through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) action.  Under the $23.8 million award (FA8620-16-C-4003), Sierra Nevada of Hagerstown, Maryland, will act as the prime contractor. Continue reading

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

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, Forecast International.

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.

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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