It’s a Mess Up There!

By Richard Sterk, Defense Electronics Analyst, Forecast International.

An Ever Increasing Number of Items Are Orbiting the Earth
Source: NASA

Until somewhat recently, space was a peaceful domain where orbital and flying craft were unprotected, but adversaries are now developing systems to counter advantages.  Traffic is building in space, as many new entrants have joined the ranks of spacefaring nations and counter‑space capabilities are becoming more of a concern. The United States must adapt its satellite constellations in response to such growing threats and elevate its game in space situational awareness. 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.

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

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.

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

Spain Halts, Renews Saudi Arms Deal

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

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (then the Deputy Crown Prince) in a 2016 meeting in Riyadh with then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Source: U.S. Department of Defense.

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

Elon Musk Reveals Identity of Passenger to the Moon and Updates BFR Progress

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

BFS Around the Moon, credit: SpaceX

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

Congress Pushes Development of Space-Based and Boost Phase Missile Defense Capabilities

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

North Korea Missile Launch. Source: Korean News Agency via Reuters

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

Airbus and Boeing Report August 2018 Commercial Aircraft Orders and Deliveries

Boeing Reaffirms Full-Year Delivery Target, Makes Good Progress toward Fixing Delays

by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent.

In August 2018, Boeing booked orders for a total of 90 737 MAX narrowbodies, 30 of which will go to Air Lease Corporation. The ALC order was originally announced at the Farnborough International Airshow in July, along with an order for three 787-9 Dreamliners. Source: The Boeing Company

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

Bombardier Looks to Future After CSeries

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

Bombardier CRJ1000

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