Airborne Retrofit & Modernization Highlights

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

This blog post briefly highlights Airborne Retrofit & Modernization news from the past week. More in-depth news can be found in Forecast’s E-Market Alert. To the minute R&M news can also be found via the Forecast R&M twitter account, @MBeresFI.

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International Air Forces Relying on F-5 Fleets to Maintain Battle Readiness

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

Iranian F-5 Saeqeh. Source – Shahram Sharifi

The past year has seen a significant surge worldwide to upgrade legacy fighters. Despite a rapidly aging worldwide fleet with an average of more than 50 years in service, international F-5 fleets are no exception. Even aircraft with more than 40 years of service are receiving upgrades. The 575 aircraft with an on average of between 30-40 years of service, therefore, may provide ample opportunities for retrofit programs. We’ve highlighted two such programs in this article. Continue reading

North Sea S-92 Accident Report Released by AAIB

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

Elgin Field located in U.K. sector of North Sea
Source: Total Energy

The United Kingdom’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has released a Special Bulletin regarding an S-92 accident on December 28, 2016, at the North Sea’s West Franklin wellhead platform. Continue reading

Keeping Legacy Aircraft Current

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

Brazilian Air Force AMXA1 Source: Brazilian Air Force

Brazilian Air Force AMXA1
Source: Brazilian Air Force

As deliveries of new aircraft such as the Gripen and F-35 begin to ramp up, operators must transition their air forces to the new fighter era. In order to do so, legacy aircraft must be equipped with at least minimal fifth-generation capabilities while maintaining an acceptable and safe level of structural integrity. Continue reading

QTA Receives STC for PW304 Engine Inlet Upgrade Program

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

PW300 Engine Source: Pratt & Whitney Canada

PW300 Engine
Source: Pratt & Whitney Canada

Quiet Technology Aerospace (QTA) recently received STC approval for its third PW305 carbon-graphite engine inlet upgrade program. The carbon-graphite inlet mitigates aluminum inner barrel inlet corrosion and acoustic screen degradation through replacement with the new carbon-graphite barrel. The lighter weight alternative looks identical to the original aluminum barrel. Continue reading

Adieu to Super Etendard

by Carter Palmer, Military Aircraft Inventories Specialist, Forecast International.

Super Etendard. Source: wikipedia

Super Etendard. Source: wikipedia

The French Navy’s sleek Super Etendard strike aircraft catapulted into the air for the last time on March 16. The SEM model launched represents the last incarnation of a long line of Etendards (the aircraft was developed as a light strike fighter in the 1950s). The fighter is perhaps best remembered for the role it played in a war over a distant British outpost. The Falkland Islands, seized by Argentine forces in 1982, proved difficult to recapture both on land and sea. Continue reading

Will the Largest In-Flight Connectivity Deal in China Keep Gogo Dominant?

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

Gogo 2Ku Antenna Source: Gogo

Gogo 2Ku Antenna.  Source: Gogo

Gogo recently made the largest announced in-flight connectivity deal in China, which also happens to be the first airline deal for Gogo in the country.

The agreement with Beijing-based Shareco Technologies will see Gogo’s 2Ku in-flight connectivity technology installed on 50 commercial aircraft for Shareco’s airline partners, including Hainan Airlines and Beijing Capital Airlines.  Gogo will also provide its wireless in-flight entertainment solution, Gogo Vision, for Shareco to install on the aircraft. Continue reading

Steep Angle of Climb for Aerospace 3-D Printing

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

GEnx jet engine model

GEnx jet engine model created with 3d printing.  Source: GE

These days you couldn’t swing a dead cat in a community college or magnet school without hitting a 3-D printer. Certainly this isn’t a new technology, but its use in manufacturing is rapidly gaining momentum. 3-D printing, or additive manufacturing, has the potential to significantly improve the process of product design and manufacturing. Continue reading

The Eurofighter Typhoon’s Roller Coaster Ride

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

Eurofighter Typhoon

Eurofighter Typhoon

The Eurofighter Typhoon has had quite the roller coaster ride this year. Germany suspended deliveries of the aircraft and grounded its fleet after one of the external fuel tanks fell off the aircraft prior to takeoff. Also this year, a manufacturing defect was found that affects the connection between the fin and rear of the jet. In 2014 a fault was discovered in the Typhoon’s fuselage, which also led to grounding of European fleets and suspension of orders. In 2010 a failed ejector seat on a Saudi Arabian Typhoon also led to groundings. Continue reading

Old Cat, Old Nukes, New Tricks

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

Jaguar Gr.5

Jaguar Gr.5

You’ve heard it before, a bit of a broken record – often highlighted along with the Rafale multirole fighter roller-coaster ride. India’s highest risk defense concern is a two-front war with Pakistan and China. (For the skeptics, we’re not talking about whether it will happen, but about if it does.) The Himalayas offer a natural protective border, offering Myanmar and Pakistan as the only legitimate ground attack routes, which in themselves offer little advantage for a severely stretched Chinese logistics support line. A naval attack would also offer little advantage on the home turf of the Indian naval forces. Continue reading