International Apache Contracts Abound

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

AH-64 Apache. Source : US Army

Multiple companies have recently been awarded contracts for international AH-64 retrofit programs. As one of the world’s premier attack helicopters, the Apache is well funded, and is upgraded regularly with new and improved technologies. Continue reading

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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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

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

Major Electronics Upgrades a Key Part of the Netherlands’ AH-64D to AH-64E Remanufacture

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

APG-78 Longbow Radar Sits Atop AH-64 Apache. Photo: Northrop Grumman

The Netherlands has received approval from the U.S. State Department for the upgrade and remanufacture of its AH-64D Block II Apache attack helicopters to the AH-64E configuration. While the contract would largely entail work on the helicopter itself, it would also include the replacement of many of the helicopters’ primary electronics systems. The overall deal carries an estimated value of $1.191 billion. Continue reading

Military Increases ADS-B Out Upgrades

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

Boeing C-17 heavy lift transport aircraft (Source: Boeing)

Raytheon was recently awarded a $30 million ceiling increase modification to a previously awarded contract for T-38A/B, C-17, C-5, and A-10 Automatic Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B Out) upgrades. Continue reading

Japan Upgrades Its E-767 AWACS

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

Japanese AWACS. Source Japanese Air Self Defense Force

Boeing was recently awarded a $60.9 million hybrid (fixed-price-incentive-firm, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and cost-plus-incentive-fee) contract to perform the mission computing upgrade installation and checkout on four Japanese E-767 aircraft and associated ground systems. Work will be performed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; San Antonio, Texas; and Seattle, Washington, and is expected to be completed by December 31, 2022. 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

A Wide-Angle View of the Airline MRO Market

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

AAR Corp’s Airframe MRO facility in Indianapolis, IN.

It’s well known that the international MRO market is going to grow. The important question is, how is the market going to grow? Certainly whether you are an OEM or a traditional vendor – if you aren’t up to date with the latest technological momentum and industry trends, the ocean is going to look very red. Continue reading

Airline Seating Trends: Economy Class Densification, Premium Cabin Retrofits

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

Zodiac Seats

Airlines around the world are moving toward economy seating densification. This doesn’t necessarily mean less comfort for passengers. Rather, it is an effort to decrease weight on the plane (with lighter seats), and to increase the number of passengers that can fly in economy sections. On the flip side, premium seating is going through a renaissance. Operators of mid- and widebody airliners are retrofitting their premium seating to accommodate a growing market demand for luxurious accommodations. Continue reading