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

In-Flight Connectivity Retrofits

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

Gogo AVANCE-L5

Gogo recently announced that its AVANCE L5 has been selected for installation on Falcon and Embraer airframes. The AVANCE L5 offers live streaming video and audio, on-demand movies, and use of personal smartphones. Dassault will offer the technology on new-production Falcon 2000S, 2000LXS, 900LX, 5X, 7X, and 8X airframes.  AVANCE L5 will also be available for installation at Dassault-owned service centers. Continue reading

Fuel Efficiency a Driver of Retrofits for Airliners and Military Transports

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

Airbus A319. Source: Airbus

CTT Systems recently received an order from Eurowings to retrofit its Zonal Drying System on 25 A319 aircraft.  The retrofit’s big draw is that it reduces an aircraft’s weight by preventing water accumulation in the fuselage. The weight of just one B737/A320 can be reduced by up to 200-300 kilograms. Continue reading

U.S. Scrambles to Address Naval Aviation Readiness Issues

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

F/A-18 Equipped with ALQ-214. Source: Harris/Exelis.

Commander of U.S. Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker spoke about naval aircraft readiness at the 61st annual Tailhook Convention in Reno, Nevada, in September. He stated that international commitments and budget constraints are making it difficult to meet aviation readiness standards. He added, however, that the FY17 U.S. defense budget has $1 billion earmarked for naval aviation readiness – part of a slow push in the right direction. Continue reading

The Doklam Plateau and Indian Air Superiority

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

Historical Map of Sikkim. Source: Wikimedia

The standoff between China and India on the Doklam plateau hasn’t quite exploded onto the international headlines, but the situation nevertheless has great implications.  These are the largest nations in Asia, and the two countries have growing – and competing – economies. Aside from Russia, India is the last remaining Asian deterrent against Chinese territorial expansion in Asia. Continue reading

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

Poland’s Legislature Backs 2017 Defense Earmark

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Flag of Poland

Poland’s defense allocation for fiscal year 2017 received approval from the country’s highest legislative body on January 4. The defense oversight element, the Senate National Defense Commission, remarked positively on the planned PLN37.152 billion ($9 billion) military budget, which represents a 3.4 percent year-on-year nominal increase from 2016. 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

F-15 Modernization is Hot Again, but EO and Radar Upgrades Have Been Underway for Years

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

U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle

U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle

The conversation has heated up again: the U.S. Air Force will be modernizing its aging fleet of Boeing F-15s.  Although CNN and Fox have both recently reopened discussion of the topic, this upgrade has been a long time coming and was confirmed to news sources even in advance of one of the aerospace and defense industry’s most prominent coming out parties, July’s Farnborough Air Show.  However, one of the humorous aspects behind the latest wave of news reports (including those this past July) is that information on the F-15 upgrade had been available for a significant amount of time through regular government reporting. Continue reading