fredag 20. juli 2018

Farnborough sett gjennom øynene til Royal Aeronautical Society

TIM ROBINSON, BILL READ and KHALEM CHAPMAN provide a look at some of the most important news and highlights of the fourth trade day of the Farnborough Air Show 2018 – as well as a summary and analysis.
With the Singapore Air Show earlier this year being a sales flop, Brexit storm clouds, the world on the brink of a global trade war and the UK MoD's mini-defence MDP review being delayed - expectations were low going into the 2018 Farnborough Air Show that this year's exhibition would end up being a damp squib.
While it is true that the first day saw show news competing with other headlines from Helsinki and more that one visitor remarked on the sparse flying display (with, unusually a civil Herc, the LM-100J being the show-stopper), by the end of the week there had been a bumper show with over 1,400 orders (firm, options and MoUs) signed, worth $190bn and only beating by the 2014 show. Indeed, the first day's order total was double that achieved on the 2016 show. Boeing was the eventual winner with 673 commitments announced (145 of these, however, were already in the order book), overtaking Airbus' 431 sales tally.
Though Farnborough is a global exhibition, this week also had a more British theme to it, coming on the heels of RAF100 celebrations in London - and UK aerospace, aviation and space sectors pulled out all the stops - with a dazzling showcase of innovation from flying Aston Martin to in-orbit satellite servicing and spaceport news, to hybrid-electric VTOL bizjets, to 'conscious aircraft', sixth-generation fighter concepts and solar-powered drones. Let's take a look at some more highlights.

Low observable fighters....

The Empire Strikes Back? (BAE Systems)
Dominating the news this week on the military front was the reveal of a full-size mock-up from UK's Team Tempest of a sixth-generation fighter concept - aimed at being in service by 2035. Part of Britain's Combat Air Strategy, also launched this week, the concept was unnamed until Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson referred to it in his speech as the 'Tempest' jet - an appropriate moniker that has stuck and also makes it stand out from the myriad other FCAS-named projects.
Though the Tempest that enters service will end up looking different from the concept revealed, the UK's vision and capabilities for a next-gen combat system, that will be affordable, flexible and incorporate cutting-edge tech have undoubtedly sparked lots of interest around the world - especially with its overriding message that Britain is looking for partners to turn this into reality.
The significance of this goes beyond the UK military aerospace sector itself, in that it (along with the Franco-German FCAS) establishes that the US F-35 is no longer the 'only game in town' for a stealth fighter programme in the 2040s. Indeed, this sees the UK leap-ahead of the US in inviting others to join its sixth-generation combat programme - something that the US has yet to do for its comparable F/A-XX/PCA projects.
Though this is still early days and 'Tempest' represents a R&D programme rather than a final design - this unveiling has been a wake-up call to those that have written the UK off in military aerospace as in gradual decline.

... and stealth customers

'No comment...'
Also keeping a low profile at Farnborough this year were several customers who ticked the box marked 'no publicity' when placing airliner orders with Airbus and Boeing this week. Nearly one third (476 aircraft worth $35bn at list prices) of the total commitments were to 'undisclosed customers' - an unusually high proportion at a global trade show where the goal is to grab headlines for your airline's new fleet.
The reason for mystery airline customers keeping their heads down, to the frustration of airframers marketing and PR teams? The threat of buying the 'wrong' side's aircraft and getting caught in the crossfire of a global trade war. Air travel predictions from Airbus, Boeing and Embraer all agree that more airliners will be needed to cater for the insatiable demand - but it is noteworthy that some airlines are taking steps to make sure that their growth plans are not derailed by politicians seeking an easy target due to protectionism.
Another trend in civil orders was a boost in cargo orders at the show, with Boeing picking up 53 commitments for freighters from DHL Express, Qatar Airways, GECAS and Volga-Dnepr/CargoLogic.

UK space blasts-off

British rockets, launching from a UK spaceport - who would have predicted that? (Lockheed Martin)
This was also a significant Farnborough for UK space, with A'Mhoine in Sutherland, Scotland, chosen as the host of the UK's first vertical launch spaceport, Cornwall partnering with Virgin Orbit for horizontal launches, Lockheed Martin to build upper-stages in the UK for an undisclosed rocket to be launched from Scotland and secretive UK rocket company, Orbex also to launch its Prime launcher from Scotland. The UK's space sector, then is now accelerating even faster.

Boeing wins sales race

There was a Hawaiian shirt theme at Boeing’s final press conference.
Anonymity appears to be the name of the game at this year’s Farnborough as Boeing signed a $11.7bn commitment with another unidentified customer for 100 737 MAXs plus agreements from two undisclosed airlines for 15 787-9s – one of which is a new 787 customer.
Other orders about which Boeing was more forthcoming were an order for up to four 777-300ERs from Dubai-based aircraft lessor Novus Aviation Capital, together with Hawaiian Airlines finalised an order for ten 787-9s plus ten additional purchase rights.
In its wrap-up press conference at the end of the trade show, Boeing announced a total of $98.4bn in orders and commitments for commercial aircraft, together with $2.1bn in commercial and defence services orders and agreements. According to Boeing’s figures, the US manufacturer gained 673 orders and commitments, including 48 for the 777F, five for the 747-8F, 52 orders for the 787 and 564 for single-aisle 737 MAX.

Gripen E's Wide Area Display gives pilots the big picture

Giving the Gripen pilot a view to a kill.... 
Over at Saab, the company were showing off for the first time its Gripen E simulator with a Wide Area Display (WAD). This giant 18in x 8in display developed by Brazil's AEL Sistemas features touchscreen interface, backed up by multifunction display keys and HOTAS. Particularly noteworthy was its functionality is supporting long-range missile combat with the Meteor BVRAAM - as the display allows the pilot to shift the 'own aircraft' symbol to one corner of the screen, while the swashplate AESA radar is able to still track enemies slightly past 90degs of the nose. This allows the Gripen E to fire Meteors at distant targets and then 'crank' to the limits of the radar to slow closure to the merge. With the WAD, situantional awareness in these sorts of long-range air battles is increased as the pilot can zoom in to seperate tracks and sort bandits, while still keeping a 'map overview' window open to see what is happening in the immediate vicinity.

Airbus ends on a high

Meanwhile, over at Airbus, there were also last-minute announcements with an order from AirAsia X for 34 Airbus A330neos plus an MoU from another unidentified customer for ten A320neos. At its wrap-up press conference, Airbus said that it had received new business for 431 commercial aircraft (93 firm orders and 338 MoUs) at this year’s Farnborough show. These comprised 60 A220-300s, 304 A320 Family aircraft, 42 A330neos and 25 A350 XWBs.

Fancy a game of running an airline?

Paul and Judith Clark, Directors of Through the Looking Glass
Walking through the halls of air shows to look at trade stands is always an exciting experience, as you never know who or what you might meet. Today’s new discovery was Through The Looking Glass (TTLG) – a company devoted to ‘creative consulting and education in airline strategy’, run by Paul and Judith Clark. TTLG ( offers both advice and training on fleet planning, both through Buying the Big Jets - live in-company fleet planning teaching programme and also through SkyChess – a simulation airline operation business simulation game for airline professionals in which four teams compete for two days to run an imaginary airline. The seven members of the team work together to make operational, financial and commercial decisions for their airline and keep it solvent while at the same time gaining insights into leadership, teamwork, scheduling, slots, pricing, fleet cost and cash management.

Inside Britain's superdrone factory

'No photography' signs hint at how advanced some of the Zephyr's features are. 
Just a stones throw from the show, and aptly enough also where 110 years ago, in 1908 Sam Cody made the first-ever powered flight in Britain, a high-tech factory contains what might be described as the long-endurance equivalent of the record-breaking X-15 - aeronautical engineering pushed to its very limits. It is an aircraft so light (70kg), it has to be strapped down inside the factory, in case a gentle breeze gets it airborne.
The Kelleher Building, which Airbus Defence and Space only moved into a couple of weeks ago, is home to production of the spindly looking Zephyr S, HAPS (high altitude pseudo-satellite) an unmanned solar-powered UAV that flies at 70,000ft for weeks and eventually months at a time. Described as having the wingspan of an A320 while weighing only as much as an airline seat, the Zephyr S is constructed from ultra-lightweight composites and features advanced ultra-efficient solar panels.
The original Zephyr 7, developed by QinetiQ, still holds the ultimate flight endurance record of two weeks aloft, and during the show Airbus revealed that the first production version, the Zephyr S, was undergoing its maiden flight in Arizona after being launched on 11 July. The intention is that it will stay airborne for 30 days, doubling the existing world record before returning to the ground. Beyond that, Airbus see flights extending to 100 days, before the ultimate goal of staying aloft for a year.
Flying above weather and air traffic for months on end and having a worldwide range (the Zephyr can cover 1,000nm a day) opens up a number of applications and missions, such as surveillance, imaging, maritime/border patrol, Earth observation, science, communications relay or high bandwidth spot broadband. Unlike a satellite it has an unpredictable flight profile and while not being a stealth design is more difficult to detect thanks to its ultra-lightweight design.
Three Zephyr Ss have already been ordered by the UK MoD, with the aircraft winning another 'undisclosed' commercial customer and immense interest from the commercial sector for airborne connectivity roles.
Initial results from the first flight are even more promising, with the vehicle reportedly sustaining daylight altitude 24hrs a day, when more usually it has to descend during nighttime when running on lower power. More efficient batteries and solar panels means Zephyr-S is "even more capable than we were hoping for" according to Sophie Thomas, Head of Zephyr Programme, opening up heavier and more sophisticated payloads, such as LIDAR or SAR radar.

UAVs with attitude

SteelRock's range of UAVs and counter-UAV kit. 
Another imaginative stand was that of SteelRock Technologies (SR) which featured a number of military camouflaged drones in a ruined building. SteelRock produces a range of customised rotary-wing UAVS for military, security and commercial applications, together with counter-UAV detection and defence systems. SR’s UAVs can be used for surveillance, facial recognition, delivering military and emergency supplies, target tracking, detecting and mitigating IEDs, and can even be used as a missile-launch platform. Other products include the ODIN counter-UAV system (developed by SteelRock together with Silent Sentinel and Kelvin Hughes) which can detect and track DJI Phantom-style drones at ranges of up to 1.5km and then ‘deny control’ to the UAV operator, forcing it to either land or return to the controller.

Second lease of life for superjumbo

Hi Fly's A380 dropped into the show on Thursday.
Portuguese-based wet-lease operator, Hi Fly, has shown off its new Airbus A380 at the Farnborough International Air Show, which bore a special environmentally-minded scheme. The aircraft arrived on 19 July, wearing a "Save the Coral Reefs" scheme, to highlight and promote environmental preservation and conservation efforts with regards to the world's ocean coral reef system, many of which are in danger. Hi Fly has ordered two of the super jumbo airliners, which were formerly operated by Singapore Airlines and the airline aims to operate them on international routes, having a current contract term of roughly six years.

Diversity and inclusion event draws record audience

Ballot Box to Wing Box panel discussion
Thursday also saw the Royal Aeronautical Society, in cooperation with Airbus, Cobham, ADS, Women in Aviation, International Aviation Womens Association and Women in Defence hold Ballot Box to Wing Box - a panel discussion on women in aerospace and aviation. The event, Livestreamed by the RAeS Facebook Live page, proved immensely popular with a full 170-seat conference room and one audience member enthusing: "this is the only event I've been to this week where I've had to queue up to get in!" Speakers included Katherine Bennett, SVP Airbus and Minister for Aviation Baroness Sugg, who announced a new Women in Aviation Charter which 53 companies and organisations had already signed up to.
The panel, facilitated by space journalist Sarah Cruddas, ranged from easyJet Capt Marnie Munn, ex-RAF Wg Cdr Sophy Gardner, CEO, Lux Aviation, Charlotte Pederson, Director, UK Space Agency, Dr Alice Bunn, Jane Basson, Chief of Staff to Tom Enders, Airbus, and the only male on the panel, Director of Engineering, BAE Systems John McCollum.
The highly topical and lively discussion ranged from how to encourage diversity and inclusion, attracting more women to be pilots, the challenge of flexible working, the importance of role models and whether Instagram selfies of glamorous globe-trotting female pilots helped or hindered the cause. There were also topics that crossed gender boundaries such as building diverse teams, the value of inclusivity to busineses and the cost of flight training for young people.
Watch the FacebookLive video here.

Final order totals

Boeing 673 (208 undisclosed)
Airbus 431 (268 undisclosed)
Embraer 176
Bombardier 4
ATR 25
TOTAL – 1,329 (including 476 undisclosed)
SalamAir  6 x A320neos     New order
Goshawk Aviation (lessor)20 x A320neos  New order
Macquarie AirFinance Group  20 x A320neos New order
Starlux Airlines  12 x A350-1000s + 5 x A350-900s MoU
‘Leading global lessor’  80 x A320neo Family MoU
Wataniya Airways25 x A320neos Confirmation of MoU 
Sichuan Airlines10 x A350sConfirmation of MoU
Vistara13 x A320neosLetter of intent
New US airline start-up60 x A220-300sMoU
Undisclosed customer 25 x A321neos + 75 A320neos MoU
Undisclosed customer 8 x A350-900sNew order
Viva Aerobus25 x A321neos + 16 x A321neos  Amendment to order
Peach 2 x A321LR Amendment to order
Undisclosed customer 6 x A330neo FamilyMoU
Uganda Airlines 2 x A330-800neosLoI
AirAsia X 34 x A330neos New order
Undisclosed customer 10 x A320neos   MoU 
DHL Express 14 x 777F + 7 options New order
Jet Airways75 x 737 MAX 8sNew order
Jackson Square 30 x 737 MAXPrev unidentified order
United Airlines4 x 787-9sPrev unidentified order
Tarom5 x 737 MAX 8sPrev unidentified order
GOL30 x 737 MAX 10s + 15 MAX 8s Amended order
Qatar Airways 5 x 777Fs Confirmation
GECAS (lessor)20 x 737-800 BCF + 15 options New order
Volga-Dnepr/CargoLogic 29 x 777Fs LoI 
Volga-Dnepr/CargoLogic 5 x 747-8FsConfirmation 
Air Lease Corporation3 x 787-9s + 20 x 737 MAXsNew order
Air Lease Corporation55 x 737 MAX 8s Commitment
Aviation Capital Group 20 x 737 MAX 8s New order
Vistara6 x 787-9 + 4 options New order
Seacons Trading 1 x BBJ MAX 7New order 
Undisclosed customer 100 x 737 MAXsCommitment
Two undisclosed airlines 15 x 787-9sOrder
VietJet80 x 737 MAX 10s and 20 x MAX 8s   MoU
‘Four customers’93 x 737 MAXs LoI
Novus Aviation Capital (lessor)Up to 4 x 777-300ERs Order
Hawaiian Airlines10 x 787-9s + 10 purchase rights Finalised order
United Airlines25 x E175 New order
Mauritania Airlines2x E175sNew order
Helvetic Airways12x E190-E2s + 12 options LoI
Wataniya Airways 10x E195-E2s + 10 optionsNew order
Republic Airways 100 x E175s + 100 optionsLoI
Azul21 x E195-E2 jetsLoI
Customer from Spain3 x E195-E2s + 2 options LoI
Nordic Aviation Capital 3 x E190s  LoI
Uganda Airlines4 x CRJ900s New order
EasyFly 3 x ATR 72-600s + 2 x ATR 42-600s MoU
HAS 2 x ATR 42-600s + 1 optionMoU
Urumqi Air                                          20 x ARJ21-70                                                        LoI

Sea King still reigns

Long live the King!
Among the more modern helicopters on display at the show was a veteran Sea King helicopter operated by training provider HeliOperations. Located at the former SAR helicopter base at Portland in Dorset, the company provides search and rescue training for German Navy helicopter pilots.

Is it a bird, is it a plane, no it’s a whale

The first BelugaXL takes-off from Toulouse on 19 July. (Airbus)
On 19 June visitors to Farnborough were able to watch live coverage from Toulouse of the maiden flight of Airbus’ new BelugaXL air transporter. Featuring a distinctive whale-themed livery, the first of an eventual five new aircraft that will replace the current Airbus Beluga fleet, the BelugaXL flew for four hours and 11 minutes. Following the first flight, the BelugaXL will undergo some 600 hours of flight test over ten months to achieve type certification and entry into service later in 2019. Based on an A330-200 Freighter, the BelugaXL is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.

UMS Skeldar launches revamped V-200B

The V-200B features a substantial upgrade from the previous version (UMS Skeldar)
This week also saw UAV specialists UMS Skeldar launch a new version of its ship and land-based rotary-wing UAV - the V-200B. Although identical externally and retaining the same heavy-fuel engine, the V-200B has been overhauled internally, with new INS, datalink, GPS and antennas. Performance has also been improved with the V-200B able to carry a payload of up to three different sensors for five hours. The company has already won its first unnamed governmental customer, and has doubled its workforce in Sweden to cope with productionising the UAV.

And finally...

When we asked for hot aviation news...
If you thought the temperatures this week were high, spare a thought for the unlucky visitor resting their weary legs on what from some angles would appear to be a comfy airline seat in one of the halls...

See you in Paris in 2019!

News Team
20 July 2018

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