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

Update: Conformal Fuel Tank Retrofits

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

The Block III F/A-18E/F Super Hornet has conformal fuel tanks, new radar, and updated cockpit and communication systems (Photo: Boeing)

Boeing has recently been awarded a $219.6 million delivery order for the design, development, test and integration of the conformal fuel tank in support of the F/A-18.  Work will be performed in various locations, and is expected to be completed in July 2022.  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

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

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

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