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95 APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019

KC-390 Aircraft Interiors Innovations

Aviation Week Counter-UAS Conundrum

Workforce Initiative Pilots Weigh In on MAX Fix

Supported by: The Wings Club

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April 22-May 5, 2019 . Volume 181 . Number 8

Dominion Energy and the Mid-Atlantic Aviation

45 Partnership have tested beyond-line-of-sight operations
for linear inspection of power lines using drones.

DEPARTMENTS FEATURES 32 | UK Tempest program draws

5 | Feedback 12 | The Launchpad notice of potential partners
14 | Crisis Control
6 | Who’s Where 64 | Classified Boeing makes advances on 737
8 | First Take 65 | Contact Us 34 | Switzerland begins assessing
MAX MCAS changes and new
10 | Up Front 65 | Aerospace replacements for its aging fighters
training for pilots
11 | Going Concerns Calendar
42 | The Chicken and Egg Problem 57 | MBDA’s family approach for
A web of regulations and lack of British miniature standof missile
standards are major obstacles to
COMMERCIAL AVIATION 58 | U.S. Air Force fleet is structured
developing a market to counter
19 | MAX crisis raises questions about small unmanned aircraft for the wrong war, CSBA warns
Boeing’s NMA timing and definition
50 | Mobility With Agility MILITARY SPACE
20 | JetBlue’s London plans advance its Flying Embraer’s biggest aircraft 36 | U.S. recapitalizes space assets,
Mint cabin strategy yet, the KC-390 tanker-transport, focuses on future architecture
21 | CFM monitors Leap fleet for issue reveals a flexible aircraft with a
powerful fly-by-wire system PROPULSION
linked to engine failures
39 | Reaction Engines pre-cooler
22 | European airlines contend with 62 | Interior Innovations
This year’s Aircraft Interiors passes Mach 3.3 test
ongoing uncertainty over Brexit
Expo revealed suprising and MANUFACTURING
AIR TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT creative ways of providing
60 | Recycling of carbon fiber
24 | Irish authority evolves as Europe’s more passenger comfort
materials remains elusive
26 | Airbus plans to ofer enhanced 31 | DARPA hints at future platform 66 | How green politics could imperil
vision system on head-up display for mobile hypersonic launcher aviation and aerospace

27 | After decades of flat budgets, ON THE COVER
NASA shoots for the Moon Aviation Week’s Evaluation Pilot Tim Wuerfel and Senior Editor Guy Norris flew the Embraer KC-390
as flight tests continue toward Brazilian military certification. Wuerfel’s pilot report begins on page 50,
28 | Stratolaunch carrier aircraft
and Norris’ accompanying program update starts on page 54. The multi-role tactical transport
completes “spot-on” first flight
and air refueling aircraft is due to enter service later this year. Embraer photo.
30 | Israel’s Beresheet lunar mission Aviation Week publishes a digital edition every week. Read it at
ends in a crash landing
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Artists Scott Marshall, Colin Throm
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WHAT TO WEAR? that some time in the future it will be To imply or even state that had the
All the discussions about getting revealed that Boeing’s fight-test de- crews been informed and trained on
back to the Moon by 2024, including partment did indeed query the choice the MCAS system this would have
“Trump’s (Quasi) Kennedy Moment” of a single-AOA indicator. prevented the crashes is not sup-
and “Baby Steps to the Moon” (April ported by the primary rule of fying:
8-21, pp. 16 and 18), respectively, have Tony Blackman, London, England Maintain aircraft control.
been focused on politics, appropri- Then, and only then, would knowl-
ations, budgets, schedules, launch MCAS—ANOTHER ANGLE edge of all the details of the new sys-
vehicles and test fights. As to the MCAS situation, all eyes tem have been helpful to analyze to
A few perceptive writers have appear to be on Boeing and the FAA. determine the cause of the malfunc-
even mentioned that we need a new But it might also be interesting to tion—after regaining aircraft control,
ask why Boeing Com- of course.
mercial Airplanes is The multiple complaint write-
not AS9100-certifed (a ups by pilots who experienced the
standard of aeronautics, MCAS malfunction causing a run-
space and defense organi- away trim—and who corrected for
zations), which it requires it—demonstrates that by following
of its suppliers and sub- existing procedures the situation can
contractors. be rectifed. Media focus should be on
Its chief competitor, the training of the crews involved in
Airbus, is EN 9100-certi- the crashes.
fed for all its aircraft. The MCAS modifcations that
Indeed, this standard are to come will undoubtedly make
requires risk manage- the 737 MAX a better airplane, but
ment for all activities, sullying Boeing’s reputation along the
from design straight way will do nothing to improve crew
through to post-delivery competency, which contributed in
lunar landing vehicle, but I have read activities, and the company is audited large measure to the crashes.
nothing about developing appropriate at least annually by an independent
space suits for the mission. body to maintain its certifcation. Jean-Claude Demirdjian, Los Angeles,
A study some years ago noted the California
incredibly abrasive characteristics Christian Masson, EN 9100 certifcation
of the lunar regolith, but that was all. consultant, Aussonne, France STRETCHING THE LIMIT
To my knowledge, there has been no The commercial factors that sent Boe-
contract issued to actually design, ROOT CAUSE: CREW ABILITY ing down the current twisted road are
manufacture and test new lunar suits. The daily pillorying of Boeing regard- unfortunately still fully in place.
ing the 737 MAX MCAS both in print The company appears to be des-
Bill Pohnan, Jr., Streamwood, Illinois and on social media is grating. The perate to retain the common type
tone of the interrogation by members rating for the 737 MAX. The bottom
CERTIFICATION STRONG-ARMING of Congress is pure showmanship, line for the company seems to be: If
Throughout my career, I’ve been a displaying little understanding of the the MAX loses its common type rat-
chief test pilot for Avros in the UK, issue or the common sense to seek ing with previous 737s, more training
a technical member of the UK Civil out appropriate experts to educate will be required, and the aircraft will
Aviation Authority and a member of them. have to sell for less.
the UK Air Registration Board. Yes, there is a problem with Boe- But beyond the immediate issue of
As to the sad state of afairs related ing’s MCAS, which, by improperly the MCAS, the MAX faces a larger
to the Boeing Maneuvering Char- activating the stabilizer trim motor, problem. Is the fight-control archi-
acteristics Augmentation System became the probable cause of two tecture—designed in the 1960s for
(MCAS) situation (April 8-21, p. 5), I recent crashes and 346 deaths. the 737-100 and modifed with patch-
believe that as test pilots we would But the signifcant contributory es and fxes—still ft for purpose on
never have agreed to such a powerful cause is the elephant in the room that the 737 MAX family?
device as the MCAS relying on a sin- few dare to mention: Crew error. Both The proposed MAX 10 will be 86%
gle angle-of-attack (AOA) indicator. crews were at fault for not immediate- heavier and 53% longer than the
At that time (and I suspect not much ly turning the STAB TRIM switches original version. When is a stretch a
has changed), we knew that when we to CUTOFF, a memory item for any stretch too far?
noted an anomaly that could delay aircraft with electronic stabilizer trim
certifcation and delivery, we would motors. Guy Wroble, Denver, Colorado
fnd ourselves under terrifc pressure
from the manufacturer for whom we Address letters to the Editor-in-Chief, Aviation Week & Space Technology,
worked. Our views were often chal- 2121 K Street, NW, Suite 210, Washington, DC, 20037 or send via email to:
lenged. Letters may be edited for length and clarity;
In the case of the MCAS, I believe a verifable address and daytime telephone number are required. AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 5


Cory Bird has been NHV Group, a ance. He was deputy

appointed Scaled business-to-business general counsel at
Composites president. helicopter services Spirit AeroSystems.
Bird has been with company, has pro- Mynaric has made
the company 33 years, moted Stefen Bay to changes to its man-
holding multiple CEO from chief com- agement board, hiring
positions including mercial ofcer. Bay Bulent Altan to lead
Stratolaunch chief had held leadership its space business
engineer, vice president/general man- positions at Waypoint Leasing, ERA and Hubertus von
ager and executive vice president/chief Helicopters and Airbus Helicopters. Janecek to head sales
technical ofcer. John Peery has been named pres- of airborne products.
Aero Vodochody has promoted Dieter ident and chief operating ofcer of Altan had been a
John to president and CEO from chief Mercury Air Cargo Inc. based in Los SpaceX vice presi-
fnancial ofcer. John has held exec- Angeles. dent and Janecek a
utive positions at Bombardier, Euro- NASA has named Mark Sirangelo as vice president at Bosch Sensortec.
copter and Airbus, among other com- a special assistant to the administrator, McGuireWoods has hired Deepak
panies. He succeeds Giuseppe Giordo, to further develop the agency’s strat- Reddy as a partner in New York. He
who is leaving the company. egy to return astronauts to the lunar was an advisor on aviation fnance at
Duncan Aviation has promoted Andy surface by 2024. Winston & Strawn.
Richards to executive vice president AJW Group has hired Barry Swift as Frank Naeve has been appointed
and chief operating ofcer. Succeed- group director of procurement. Swift Lufthansa vice president of sales for the
ing him as director of modifcations was UK procurement Americas.
is Nate Darlington, who also remains director for Thales L.S. Starrett Co.
paint department manager and over- Defense Missions has hired Jon-
seer of the avionics and interior shops. Systems. Michael Raymond as
Duncan also has promoted Joshua H. Julie Kitcher has director of sales of
Chischilly-Keyonnie to manager of its been promoted to industrial products
Scottsdale, Arizona, satellite avionics Airbus executive vice in North America. He
shop from crew leader. president of commu- succeeds Tony Aspin,
He succeeds Jim Da- nications and corporate afairs/chief who will retire on June 30.
vis, who has retired. of staf to the CEO. She was head of The National Space Society has named
Ben Diachun has investor relations and fnancial com- Geofrey Notkin president; he will re-
been hired as presi- munication. tain his board seat.
dent of Opener, maker Silver Airways has named Pedro
of the all-electric, Motta senior vice president for com- HONORS & ELECTIONS
fxed-wing, personal mercial, covering Florida, the Baha- David Davenport, FlightSafety Interna-
ultralight, vertical-takeof-and-landing mas, the Caribbean and beyond. Motta tional co-CEO and president for com-
BlackFly. Diachun was president of was vice president, chief revenue of- mercial, has been elected president of
Scaled Composites. cer and chief fnancial ofcer at Webjet The Wings Club Foundation.
General Dynamics has elected U.S. Linhas Aereas SA. The British Business Aviation As-
Navy Adm. (ret.) Cecil D. Haney as a di- Jamon Osborne has joined Aevex sociation has given Infite Jet Center
rector. He was commander of the U.S. Aerospace as vice president of business CEO Penny Stephens the Michael
Strategic Command and before that development and strategy for the intel- Wheatley Award for outstanding ser-
commander of the U.S. Pacifc Fleet. ligence solutions, fight operations and vices to general aviation.
Web Industries Inc. engineering and technology business Warren Kroeppel, chief operating of-
has hired Eric units. He was senior intelligence ofcer fcer of Sheltair Aviation, has received
Whitman as chief for the U.S. Army Special Operations the New York Aviation Management
operating ofcer. He Aviation Command. Association’s William F. Shea Award for
piloted Sikorsky David Carter joins Universal Avionics signifcant contributions to New York
SH-60B Seahawk as sales manager for the northwestern state’s aviation community.
helicopters while U.S. He held a similar position with L3 The Aeronautical Repair Station As-
serving in the U.S. Commercial Aviation. sociation has presented the Legislative
Navy and has held executive positions Aerion has named Douglas Coleman Leadership Award to Rep. Sam Graves
at Raytheon, Bodycote and Draper. general counsel and executive vice (R-Mo.) for his support of the aviation
Steve Robitaille has been appointed president of governance and compli- industry. c
Bombardier senior vice president, gen-
eral counsel and corporate secretary. To submit information for the Who’s Where column, send Word or attached text files (no
He succeeds Daniel Desjardins, who PDFs) and photos to: For additional information on
will serve as a special advisor and companies and individuals listed in this column, please refer to the Aviation Week Intelligence
continue as chairman of Bombardier Network at For information on ordering, telephone
Transportation’s board. U.S.: +1 (866) 857-0148 or +1 (515) 237-3682 outside the U.S.


MAY 7-8, 2019
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TAKEFor the latest, go to
federal support for the International
Space Station in 2025.

AVIATIONWEEK.COM Air-launch space company Stratolaunch

few its six-engine, 385-ft.-span, mother-
ship from Mojave, California, on April
13, beginning a planned 18-month test
program (page 28).


Embraer’s 195-E2 has received simul-

taneous Brazilian, European and U.S.
CARLETON BAILIE certifcation, clearing the way for initial
SPACE deliveries of the stretched 146-seat air-
SpaceX recovered all three first stages liner early in the second half of the year.
and the payload fairings from the Falcon STRATOLAUNCH
Heavy launch of Arabsat-6A on April 11. Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Em-
Two boosters landed vertically at Cape COMMERCIAL braer has selected Francisco Gomes
Canaveral, but the core stage was toppled Boeing says plans to cut 737 production Neto, currently president of bus body
by heavy seas after landing on the drone nearly 20% will have minimal efect on supplier Marcopolo, to be its next CEO
ship in the Atlantic Ocean (page 12). deliveries of non-MAX aircraft, includ- and president.
ing remaining 737NGs, Boeing Business
The frst privately funded lunar lander, Jets and P-8 maritime patrol aircraft JetBlue Airways plans to launch trans-
the Beresheet, built by Israel nonproft (page 14). atlantic service to London from its New
SpaceIL, failed and crashed minutes be- York and Boston hubs by 2021, using
fore a planned April 11 landing on the New Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury will re- long-range Airbus A321LRs (page 20).
Moon (page 30). tain his previous position as president
of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, mark- Engine-maker Continental Aerospace
DARPA has selected three companies— ing another step in the integration of Technologies has invested in Ampaire,
Vector Launch, Virgin Orbit and one the European manufacturer. a startup developing hybrid-electric
as yet unidentifed—to participate in a propulsion for regional airliners.
challenge to launch small payloads on The Trump administration released a
demand. proposed list of European products to Russia’s ministry of industry and trade
be hit with U.S. import tarifs, including has suspended reengining of the Beriev
The Trump administration is abandoning Airbus nonmilitary aircraft and helicop- Be-200 amphibian with Russian-French
its controversial proposal to end direct ters, in the continuing subsidy dispute. SaM146 turbofans, reportedly over con-
cerns about parts supply from NATO

Delta Chief to Boeing: Bring on NMA

Delta Air Lines is “very interested” in Boeing’s proposed new
midmarket airplane (NMA)—but only if the price is right. That is
the word from CEO Ed Bastian, who told Aviation Week’s MRO
Americas conference and exhibition that the NMA could be a
The Polish Flaris LAR 1 single-engine
“perfect candidate” to replace many of the 200 Boeing 757s and personal jet made its frst fight on April
767s the airline plans to retire during the coming decade. “We have 5 at Zielona Gora Airport, powered by
an interest in being one of the launch customers,” Bastian said in a Williams FJ33.
an onstage interview at the event, which drew more than 15,000 DEFENSE
attendees to Atlanta. But Delta, the second-largest U.S. carrier, is U.S. Air Force Lockheed Martin F-35As
cautioning Boeing not to overengineer the NMA. “We want it to arrived at Al Dhafra Air Base in the
United Arab Emirates on April 15 on
deliver the type of range and expectations you see currently in our the type’s frst deployment to support
757/767 feet,” Bastian says. “Obviously, you want to take the latest combat operations in the Middle East.
technology and drive greater fuel efciency, economics and range,
A Japanese F-35A disappeared over
but don’t overbuild it and price us out of the market.” the Pacific Ocean on April 9, having
evidently crashed. The fghter was 135


km (84 mi.) east of Misawa when it dis- Brazil: Latin America’s Major Force
Transport 123 11
Groupe Dassault wants to sell its 96.85% Fighters
stake in SABCA, less than two months Maritime 49 14 SAAB Gripen 36
after acquiring GKN’s 43.57% holding in Northrop F-5 48
the Belgian aerospace company, which
supports European F-16s. Scout 52 Douglas A-4 3 2

AVX Aircraft and L3 Technologies have AMX 53 8

revealed a coaxial-rotor, ducted-fan Total:
compound helicopter design for the U.S. 738 In Service
Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Transport & Tanker 152 37 110 On Order
Aircraft prototyping competition. Embraer
EMB 312/314 91

Maritime 23 2
C4ISR 14
Source: Michael Tint and Michael Wang/
Trainer 130 Aviation Week Intelligence Network

Brazil has the largest military aircraft fleet in Latin America. Despite political and
OBITUARIES economic challenges, it is proceeding with several ambitious modernization pro-
NASA Skylab and space shuttle astronaut grams, including Embraer KC-390 tanker-transports, replacement of F-5 fighters
Owen Garriott died April 15 at his home with Saab JAS 39E/F Gripens and the triservice X-HBR program to indigenously
in Huntsville, Alabama. He was 88. An manufacture Airbus H225 helicopters.
electrical engineer and U.S. Navy vet-
eran, Garriott was selected as a scien- For more information about Aviation Week’s Military Fleet Discovery
tist astronaut in 1965. He launched in Database, go to
1973 on the 59.5-day Skylab 3 mission,
participating in three spacewalks. He
launched again in 1983 on the 10-day
Spacelab-1 shuttle mission aboard the though she, along with 12 other women, to fy her after John Glenn returned to
orbiter Columbia. Garriott retired from qualified for flight in 1961 when NASA space on the shuttle, ostensibly for medi-
NASA in 1986. scouted for its frst class of astronauts. cal research for the aging. But it was not
The corps was not open to women then. to be. She returned to missionary work in
Aviation pioneer Geraldyn “Jerrie” Cobb Four decades later, the National Organiza- the Amazon. Cobb, 88, died March 18 at
never got a chance to test her space legs, tion for Women and others lobbied NASA her home in Florida. c

Aviation, as this magazine was
known, underwent a major design
overhaul in April 1929, introducing
splashy four-color drawings on its
covers to replace black-and-white
photographs. Some advertisements
also received a similar upgrade. The
first of the new covers highlighted
the second All-American Aircraft
Show in Detroit. Held in the city’s Convention Hall, the show featured exhibits of 107 air-
planes—12 more were rejected for lack of space—from 66 manufacturers. An accompany-
ing article noted that U.S. aviation exports had surged in 1928 to 170 aircraft, up from 63 the
prior year. The new design would be short-lived, as the onset of the Great Depression forced
the magazine to sell the cover space to advertisers starting in 1931.

Subscribers can access every issue of Aviation Week back to 1916 at: AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 9


“I’D RATHER HAVE DECENT ANSWERS weakness would undo the Soviet Union; the advent of
to the right question than great answers to advanced information technology married to precision
irrelevant questions.” guidance would revolutionize warfare; and China would
This pithy precept appears at the top of page 1 of rise to compete with the U.S. for global leadership.
The Last Warrior, an intellectual history of Andrew Taking Marshall at his word, one presumes these
Marshall, the furtive, 42-year director of the Pentagon’s early-warning insights were derived from analyses he
Ofce of Net Assessment (ONA), who died in March at commissioned after carefully determining the right
the age of 97. So often was the maxim repeated in ap- questions to ask about the strategic challenges of the
preciations of Marshall that it has me wondering about late Cold War, post-Cold War and early 21st century,
the “right questions” we should respectively. According to
be trying to answer today. Krepinevich and Watts, what
Those who do not recognize
the name can rest assured that
Marshall’s Maxim Marshall called “strategic man-
agement” required developing
even Marshall’s colleagues The legacy of the most infuential insights about “one or two of
would refer to him as “the the most pressing problems or
most infuential man you’ve
man you have never heard of attractive opportunities in a
never heard of.” His resistance given competition, and [doing]


to celebrity notwithstanding, I so early enough for the defense
have known of Andy Marshall secretary to make decisions
for a very long time, and not about them that would infu-
because we knew one another. ence their outcome.”
His name has fgured as a How better to honor this man
leitmotif in the development and his legacy, therefore, than
and practice of my own think- to take up what I will call the
ing about strategy. From see- Marshall Maxim and propose
ing Graham Allison’s efusive three questions whose answers
acknowledgement of Marshall may help illuminate choices
in the pathbreaking 1971 book about the strategic manage-
Essence of Decision to chum- ment of the nation, its defense
ming with a clique of Marshall establishment and the industry
acolytes at the Center for Na- which serves it:
val Analyses during my tenure ■ How will America’s role in
there in the immediate post- the world change when the
Andrew Marshall was honored on his last
Cold War years, I came early tectonics of national power—
to admire the gravitas of Andy day of work at the Pentagon in 2015 by wealth, technology and demo-
Marshall. Even my current then-Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work. graphics—are no longer tilted
practice in business strategy in our favor? We will need a
echoes Marshall, who in 1992 famously invited a group new grand strategy by which to create power.
of business strategists from IBM, AT&T, Sun Microsys- ■ How do we deter, defend against and defeat adver-
tems and Xerox to lead an ofsite on innovation before a saries in a world where kinetic power is depreciating?
reluctant group of admirals and generals accustomed to As information progressively trumps lethality as an
themselves being at the front of every room. instrument of war, we will need to organize and equip
Until recently, amplifying mere admiration with our military forces diferently.
actual knowledge of Marshall’s oeuvre has been a ■ What is the business model of the next great defense
privilege accorded few outside the brotherhood of company? The Aerospace Industries Association’s re-
ONA alumni dubbed “St. Andrew’s Prep.” Marshall’s cent report, “Vision 2050,” afrms that “established
self-efacing temperament, combined with the secret A&D players are fnding their existing operating and
classifcation and exclusive distribution of nearly investing paradigms may need to change.”
everything he wrote in government service, had lent These may not be the best “right questions,” and
an aura of mystery to the chief priest’s actual views I ofer them with the abject modesty beftting their
and analyses. inspiration. But now as much as at any time over
While ONA’s assessments remain locked away, Mar- Marshall’s career, we who share his unbounded curi-
shall’s retirement coincided with publication of several osity about strategic management should be laboring
magazine profles, academic assessments and The Last to discover the right questions for which decent an-
Warrior (the latter by proteges Andrew Krepinevich swers are needed. c
and Barry Watts), all of which give credit to Marshall’s
early identifcation of three insights that decisively Contributing columnist Steve Grundman is the principal of
shaped the Pentagon’s outlook: Long-term economic Grundman Advisory and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.



A STRANGE THING HAPPENED the 1B remained about two weeks behind schedule
after Boeing announced on April 5 that in general. “I really want to get caught up!” he says.
it would slow production of new 737 nar- The disparity in responses between Boeing and its
rowbodies to 42 aircraft a month from the suppliers seems amazing at first, especially consid-
current rate of 52 by the middle of April: Nobody else in ering the fact that many suppliers were leaning for-
the supply chain did the same. ward to rate 57, which until recently was expected
Despite what amounts to a 19% cut in production at to be announced by Boeing by the Paris Air Show in
the top, every major supplier—from aerostructures June. Why would everyone but Boeing keep plowing
giant Spirit AeroSystems to engine-maker CFM In- forward? The answer is because many of them were
ternational—says they are continuing at or near their barely keeping up and could use the extra time.
current rates. To that efect, several fnancial analysts praise Boe-
“Spirit and Boeing have agreed to work together to ing’s decision to slow production, especially as it seems
minimize the disruption to Spirit operations and the to try to strike a balance between allowing the OEM to
supply chain,” says Spirit AeroSystems CEO and Pres- address necessary MAX fxes while not risking costlier
ident Tom Gentile. The Wichita-based company, Boe- cutbacks for suppliers. While many now expect a rough-
ing’s most important supplier by far in terms of work ly six-month grounding of MAXs fying or being de-
livered—admittedly twice
their original estimates of
Last Chance To Catch Up a 2-3-month grounding—
they still do not believe
The MAX production cut means suppliers can catch their breath the developments threat-
en the long-term money-
Boeing 737 MAX Grounding Estimated Supplier Impact, 2019 making prospects of Boe-
ing or the industry.
~40 Fewer 2019 MAX Deliveries
“The productivity story
Percent of
Shipset Revenues Earnings Percent of is unchanged in our view
(U.S. $ millions) (U.S. $ millions) per Share Revenues
per Share but will be pushed out,”
Astronics $0.1 $4 $0.01 0% 1%
say Jeferies analysts.
Crane Co. 0.2 8 0.02 0 0
Indeed, the 737 reduc-
tion may not register too
Ducommun 0.2 7 0.04 1 2
much on the bottom line
Hexcel 0.5 18 0.03 1 1
for many suppliers (see
Spirit AeroSystems 5.5 220 0.28 3 4
table). Triumph Group,
TransDigm Group 1.0 40 0.10 1 1
which provides landing
Triumph Group 0.8 32 0.05 1 2 gear, gearboxes and actu-
Note: Estimated 2019 fgures from companies and Canaccord Genuity. Source: Canaccord Genuity
ation systems as well as
interior components and
content and dependence, will maintain its production ducting for the 737 MAX, does not expect any materi-
at rate 52 and store accumulated MAX shipsets at its al fnancial efect. “The program historically has con-
facilities until they can be sent to Boeing under the tributed a single-digit percentage of annual revenue,”
slowdown plan. Triumph says in a regulatory fling. “The company will
“This staggered production approach allows us use the intervening months to de-risk any supply chain
and our supply base to better prepare for and sup- areas of concern.”
port 737 production,” Gentile says. The company This is critical, as the supply chain appears to think
stresses that it will minimize any impact to its full- the breather will not last long, according to Canaccord
time workforce by reducing contractors and over- Genuity analyst Ken Herbert. “Consensus among sup-
time, as well as suspending hiring to backfill open pliers seems to be more like August-September,” he
positions. says, referring to when the slowdown might end. How-
CFM, a joint venture of General Electric and Sa- ever, a production increase to 57 new 737s a month
fran, likewise has no plans to decrease production of probably will not happen until 2020.
Leap 1B powerplants for 737s. “We have great confi- Boeing is being held to account for the two 737-8
dence in Boeing and the 737 MAX and will continue crashes, the grounding of the MAX feet and the f-
our close coordination on this program,” CFM says. nancial impact on airlines. It will also absorb the costs
Indeed, the engine program now should catch of the 737 production slowdown, as the rate cut gives
up on deliveries to Boeing in 3-4 weeks, the CFM suppliers time to catch up in production and position
program director told Aviation Week on April 10. themselves for further rate increases. Hopefully, the
Speaking on the sidelines of Aviation Week’s MRO supply chain will never get a break like this again—but
Americas, Kris Shepherd also acknowledged that it also should not squander it. c AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 11


EIGHT YEARS ways takes precedence. We
A F T E R S PAC E X do not expect future mis-
unveiled a heavy-lift sions to be impacted.”
version of its Falcon 9 SpaceX fared better re-
rocket, the triple-core booster deliv- trieving the Falcon Heavy’s
ered its frst commercial satellite into payload fairing, with both
orbit, clearing the way for a U.S. Air halves plucked from the
Force Falcon Heavy mission this sum- ocean by recovery ships
mer that, for the frst time, will add shortly after they splashed
the military as a customer for reus- down. The fairing will be
able rockets. reflown when SpaceX
Acknowledging the progress launches the frst batch
SpaceX and other companies have of its operational Starlink
made in reusable rocket technology, low-Earth-orbit broadband
Congress last year directed the satellite network in May,
Air Force to drop the word “ex- CEO Elon Musk noted on
pendable” from its launch services Twitter.
procurement program. In March, the But it is the Falcon
Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Heavy’s side boosters that
program was ofcially reborn as Na- most interest the Air Force.
tional Security Space Launch. The pair successfully land-
Space Test Program 2 (STP-2), ed at Cape Canaveral AFS
scheduled to fy on a Falcon Heavy after helping to deliver the
no earlier than June, will be the mili- 14,250-lb. (6,464-kg) Arab-
tary’s frst run with a reusable rocket Falcon Heavy lifted of on April 11. sat-6A satellite into orbit
since the U.S. stopped fying military on April 11.

Falcon Family Grows

SpaceX’s heavy-lift launcher
enters commercial service
satellites on NASA’s space shuttles in December 1992.
SpaceX stuck its frst Falcon landing in December
2015 and has since successfully recovered 37 vehicles. Its payload fairings
The tally would have been 38, but the center core from were recovered.
the Falcon Heavy that launched on April 11 could not be
secured after touching down on a drone ship in the At- “We’re looking forward to using these side boosters
lantic Ocean due to high seas. again on STP-2,” the Air Force Space and Missile Sys-
“With 8-10-ft. swells, the booster began to shift and tems Center wrote on Twitter.
ultimately was unable to remain upright,” SpaceX noted The loss of the Falcon Heavy center core due to rough
in a statement four days later. “While we had hoped to seas will not afect STP-2 preparations since a new cen-
bring the booster back intact, the safety of our team al- ter core was already earmarked for that mission.
More than a year after its February 2018 fight test,
Its side boosters touched down. the frst operational Falcon Heavy lifted of from Kenne-
dy Space Center Launch Complex 39A at 6:35 p.m. EDT
on April 11 to deliver Arabsat-6A into a geostationary
transfer orbit stretching as far as 55,900 mi. from Earth.
Built by Lockheed Martin, the satellite is designed to
provide TV, radio, internet and mobile communications
services to customers in the Middle East, Africa and
In addition to STP-2, the Air Force plans to fy two

classifed missions on Falcon Heavy rockets in 2020-22.

Additional Falcon Heavy commercial customers include
ViaSat and Sweden’s Ovzon. c


COMMERCIAL AVIATION > MCAS update in simulator p. 16 NMA in question p. 19 JetBlue London plans advance Mint p. 20


Guy Norris Seattle and Sean Broderick Washington

ilots who have tested Boeing’s proposed changes to the
Boeing 737 MAX fight-control law believe the modifcations
eliminate the risk of a fight-control issue triggered by the
system’s malfunction—the strongest sign yet that the man-
ufacturer’s eforts to get the feet back into service are progressing.

Boeing on March 27 provided the tempts to manage an unprecedented tem. Chaired by former NTSB Chair-
frst large-scale overview of Maneu- situation. Because the MAX grounding man Christopher Hart, the JATR team
vering Characteristics Augmenta- started with a Chinese mandate and comprises FAA, NASA and internation-
tion System (MCAS) modifications spread to other countries before the al aviation authorities.
to industry. The meeting was the de FAA followed suit, the company says it While the FAA seeks global consen-
facto start of a global campaign by the is imperative to build a caucus of inter- sus, the agency also is doing its own
embattled U.S. aerospace giant to con- national regulators willing to lift MAX due diligence. On April 12 it hosted rep-
vince regulators that the changes and operations bans that have been in place resentatives from the three U.S. MAX
related training are sufcient to clear since mid-March. operators—American Airlines, South-
the MAX for revenue fying. Most afected airlines are preparing west Airlines and United Airlines—
The campaign encompasses a se- to be without the aircraft for a while. as well as unions that represent the
ries of simulator demonstrations and Many have removed MAXs from fight carriers’ pilots. The 3-hr. meeting in-
briefings at multiple training sites schedules into August at least. cluded reviews of the two fatal MAX 8
throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia and The FAA, which usually sets the accidents—Lion Air Flight 610 on Oct.
Australia. More than 40 of the 50 MAX standards for U.S.-built aircraft, is also 29, 2018, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight
operators “have had the opportunity to shifting gears. The agency has set up 302 on March 10—that triggered the
see the update in action during simula- a Joint Authorities Technical Review MCAS changes and fleet grounding.
tor sessions,” Boeing said April 17. (JATR) to review certification of the Boeing’s progress on the upgrades and
The outreach comes as Boeing at- aircraft’s automated fight-control sys- proposed training was also reviewed.


Leap carbon buildup p. 21 Brexit uncertainty strains p. 22

(FSB) pilot-training and qualifcation Meanwhile, Boeing is close to fnal-

review that determined MCAS train- izing the MCAS upgrade. The updated
ing—like the rest of transition training software was put through its paces on
from a 737 Next Generation (NG) to a a key engineering test fight on April 16.
Boeing’s 737-7E001 landed following MAX—can be accomplished without “That was the fnal test fight before the
an MCAS validation fight. simulator time or an aircraft training [FAA] certifcation fight,” CEO Dennis
device. FSB participants, including 737 Muilenberg says. “We’re making steady
pilots and FAA engineers, conducted progress toward certification.” The
trials on March 25 using 737-800 and software has been tested on 120 fights,
MCAS version-12.1.1.-equipped 737-8 many of them initial post-production, or
full-flight simulators. They also con- B1, fights on MAXs built for customers.
ducted “functional equivalence” and While it works to finalize the new
handing-qualities comparison flight fight-control law logic, Boeing is conf-
tests per the FAA’s FSB guidance. dent that the global outreach program
The pilots detected no handling dif- will lay the foundation for its proposed
ferences between the 737-800 and 737- training package.
8—mirroring conclusions reached by an Mike Sinnett, Boeing Commercial
FSB review conducted in August 2016 Airplanes vice president of product
by pilots from American, Southwest development and future airplane devel-
and Delta Air Lines and representatives opment, says the briefngs continue to
from Transport Canada and the Europe- emphasize that the MCAS, which was
an Aviation Safety Agency. The handling added to the speed trim system (STS)
equivalency negated the need for simu- to standardize handling qualities with
lator training, both boards determined. those of the 737NG, is neither a stall
The latest FSB review recommends protection or prevention function. “It is
adding the MCAS to a list of four “spe- a handling-qualities function. There’s a
cial emphasis areas” for 737NG pilots misconception it’s something [other],”
transitioning to the MAX. Already on he says. Added to ensure a linear re-
the list: the MAX’s Elevator Jam Land- lationship between stick force per G,
ing Assist feature, landing attitude “speed trim is a function of airspeed,
modifier, gear-handle operation and so if you’re going fast it is a low an-
fight-crew alerting. gle-of-attack [AOA], and if you’re going
“MCAS ground training must ad- slow it is at higher AOA,” Sinett says.
dress system description, functional- “The thing you are trying to avoid is
ity, associated failure conditions” and a situation where you are pulling back
flight-deck alerts, the draft report and all of a sudden it gets easier, and
adds. “These items must be included in you wind up overshooting—making the
initial, upgrade, transition, diferences, nose higher than you want it to be.”
and recurrent training.” Making the system work required
The revised FSB review, which will changes from the 737NG STS. “Me-
be fnalized following a public-comment chanically on the NG, there is a column
period that runs until April 30, also adds cut-of switch that stops any automat-
the MCAS to a list of “master differ- ic trim when the column is back to a
ences” between the MAX and NG. The certain spot,” Sinnett says. “On the
While neither the fnal software nor current 737 FSB report, the document’s MAX, we still needed automatic trim
the MCAS training curriculum have 16th revision, does not reference MCAS. when you got to that spot. MCAS dif-
been presented to the FAA for certi- Some regulators and operators are fers from speed trim at elevated alpha
fcation, the agency has been working expected to push for mandatory simu- because it bypasses that switch by
with Boeing for months. Confdent of lator sessions that mimic MCAS failure design. To do so, it activates based on
Boeing’s progress, an FAA ofcial told modes. On April 16, Canada Transport AOA rather than speed, which is what
the April 12 gathering that late May Minister Marc Garneau confrmed his speed trim does. Speed trim is a func-
or early June is a target date for ap- country will be among them. “It’s not tion of airspeed, MCAS is a function of
proving Boeing’s proposed changes, going to be a question of pulling out an angle-of-attack and Mach number, but
a source with knowledge of the pro- iPad and spending an hour on it,” he it only triggers of AOA.”
ceedings tells Aviation Week. The FAA told Reuters. The MCAS activation during the two
would then mandate the upgrades, The FAA could opt to require sim- MAX 8 accident sequences sparked
clearing the way for U.S. MAX oper- ulator sessions but will more likely Boeing’s decision to reexamine how
ations to resume—perhaps without follow the FSB’s recommendation that the system operates and modify its
consensus from other regulators. The calls for Level B, or computer-based, software. The work began shortly after
return-to-service time line is not set in training to cover MCAS description the Lion Air accident. The March 27
stone, the source adds. and failure scenarios. This would set a gathering briefed key proposed MCAS
Participants also discussed a recent minimum standard that regulators or changes to 200 pilots and regulators.
FAA Flight Standardization Board operators could opt to exceed. The frst of three new main layers of AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 15


protection is provided by a cross-chan- not lead to activation of MCAS,” says occurs between the sensors for more
nel bus between the aircraft’s two Sinnett, who underlines that the en- than 10 sec., it will be flagged to the
flight-control computers, which now tire speed-trim system, including the crew on the primary flight display.
allows data from the two AOA sen- MCAS, will be inhibited for the remain- The second layer of protection is a
sors, or alpha vanes, to be shared and der of the flight if data from the two change to the logic in the MCAS algo-
compared. “In a situation where there vanes varies by more than 5.5 deg. If rithm that provides “a fundamental
is erroneous AOA information, it will an AOA disagree of more than 10 deg. robust check to ensure that before it

Pilots Say MCAS Software Updates are detected, the MCAS is inhibited.
Three secondary protections are
Prove Effective in Simulator Demo built into the new software load. First,
the MCAS cannot trim the stabilizer
so that it overpowers elevator pitch
control authority. The MCAS nose-
ANGLE-OF-ATTACK SENSORS down stab trim is limited so that the
> PILOTS ALWAYS RETAIN PITCH CONTROL AUTHORITY elevator always can provide at least
OVER THE MCAS INPUT TO THE STABILIZER 1.2g of nose-up pitch authority to en-
able the flight crew to recover from
Fred George a nose-low attitude. Second, if the pi-
lots make electric pitch trim inputs to

oeing has demonstrated the old ever overpowering the elevators. Boe- counter the MCAS, it will not reset af-
and new versions of the MAX’s ing showed that the pilots can always ter 5 sec. and repeat subsequent nose-
Maneuvering Characteristics retain positive pitch control with the down stab trim commands. And third,
Augmentation System (MCAS) to elevators, even if they don’t use the if the MCAS nose-down stab trim in-
pilots and regulators in its 737 MAX left and right manual trim wheels on put exceeds limits programmed into
engineering cab simulator in Seat- the sides of the center console to trim the new FCC software, it triggers a
tle. The MCAS is a new flight-con- out control pressures after turning of maintenance message in the onboard
trol-computer (FCC) function added the trim cut-out switches. diagnostics system.
to the MAX to enable it to meet lon- Most important, the MCAS now According to a pilot who was shown
gitudinal stability requirements for uses both left and right AOA sensors the changes in a simulator session, the
certification. for redundancy, instead of relying on demonstration begins with the orig-
However, the system is only need- just one. The FCC P12.1’s triple AOA inal MCAS software load. During a
ed to enhance stability with slats and validity checks include an average val- normal takeoff, at rotation, the left
flaps retracted at very light weights ue reasonability filter, a catastrophic AOA indication moves to its maximum
and full aft center of gravity (cg). The failure low-to-high transition filter and reading—as seen from the flight data
aircraft exhibits sufcient natural lon- a left versus right AOA deviation filter. recorder in the Ethiopian Airlines ac-
gitudinal stability in all other parts of If any of these abnormal conditions cident. Pilots currently do not expe-
the flight envelope
without the MCAS
to meet the rules. Original MCAS Control Law
Boeing emphasizes
that the MCAS is Increase AOA Horizontal Stabilizer
not an anti-stall or
stall-prevention sys- Decrease
tem, as it often has
been portrayed in Left OR Right MCAS
news reports. AOA STAB TRIM Command
The new software Increase
load (P12.1) has tri-
ple-redundant filters Decrease AOA
that prevent one or
both angle-of-attack
(AOA) systems from
sending erroneous Pilot Trim Input
data to the FCCs AOA = Angle Of Attack
that could falsely Resets MCAS After 5 Sec.
PFD = Primary Flight Display
trigger the MCAS. It
also has design pro-
tections that prevent
runaway horizontal
stabilizer trim from


ever activates a second time, pilots re- least 1.2g of maneuvering capability,” any potential repeat of the circum-
ally want it to activate,” says Sinnett. he says. “So you don’t just have the stances detected in the tragic Lion Air
The third layer of defense ensures ability to hold the nose level, you can and Ethiopian accidents. “The most
pilots always retain some control- still pitch up and climb.” compelling thing is that the AOA fail-
column authority to counteract MCAS Sinnett says pilots seem satisfied ure case turns into a run-of-the-mill
nose-down stabilizer commands. “The that the three main layers of protection AOA failure case [one] might have on
column itself will always provide at now added to the MCAS will prevent any other airplane.” c

The red-and-white stall-warning tape on the airspeed The updated PFD display indicates angle-of-attack

indicator is well below the aircraft’s indicated airspeed. sensing errors as illustrated by the “AOA disagree” icon
at lower right along with the red-and-white stall-warning
tape extended well above indicated airspeed.

rience this during initial or recurrent AOA reading also creates large-scale data computers to correct pitot and
simulator training. The stickshaker indicated airspeed (IAS) and altitude static pressure variations induced by
fires continuously, using a loud sound errors on the primary flight display changes in nose attitude in relation
and control-wheel vibration to focus (PFD) that can be both distracting to the relative wind. Large errors in
the pilot’s attention on the critically and disorienting. AOA can cause 20-40-kt. errors in IAS
high AOA indication. The erroneous AOA is used by the aircraft’s air and 200-400-ft. errors in indicated al-

New MCAS Control Law

MCAS Horizontal Stabilizer
Increase AOA
1 2
Left AND Right Validity STAB TRIM Command
AOA Check Command Limit
Increase Exceedance
Decrease AOA

AOA Disagree Pilot Trim Input

PFD Annunciation NO Reset of MCAS

MCAS Changes

1. Both AOA Sensors Compared: the MCAS is inhibited if sensors vary by ≥5.5 deg., there is a sudden spike-up in AOA
or if the AOA change rate is unreasonable.
2. Elevator pitch authority exceeds MCAS stab pitch authority; the MCAS is disabled if the command limit is reached.
3. The MCAS will activate only once for each elevated AOA input. There is no 5-sec. reset after pilot trim inputs. AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 17


titude. This is accompanied by the sole] to relieve control pressures. We wheel,” one of the pilots says.
illumination of annunciators on both used manual trim for the remainder “Pitch feel was natural, progres-
PFDs that warn of disparities in the of the fight to landing touchdown and sively increasing as airspeed decayed.
IAS and altitude between the left and rollout. That was quite an eye-opener, Somewhere between the audible low
right displays. As part of the MCAS as I had never been exposed to that airspeed warning and stickshaker, I
redesign, Boeing also is upgrading during sim training,” he notes. felt the slightest lightening on control
the MAX with AOA-disagree-warn- It is critical to follow the checklist pressure in my fngertips,” he contin-
ing annunciators on the PFD as stan- memory items: Pull back thrust to 75% ues. “Quite candidly, if I had not been
dard; AOA dial indicator displays are after retracting slats and faps and set watching for it, I don’t think I would
an option. attitude at 4 deg., nose up. If speed have noticed any diference between
After the high-AOA indication, pilots builds up beyond 220-250 kt., control- the MAX and the Next Gen [NG]
then follow the checklist for “airspeed lability becomes increasingly difcult, models. I kept pulling back through
unreliable,” which assures that auto-pi- he adds. stickshaker, then bufet, then elevator
lot, auto-throttles and fight directors Pilots for three U.S. air carriers tell feel shift [a function that doubles the
are turned off. They then pull back Aviation Week that during their sim artifcial control feel forces near stall]
power to 80% fan speed, set 10-deg. training they had never been exposed and fnally until the yoke was buried
nose-up pitch attitude and climb to to extreme and continuous AOA indica- in my lap. The nose just fopped down
1,000 ft. above ground level. At that tion errors, they have not experienced gently at the stall and I initiated recov-
point, they lower the nose, start ac- AOA-induced airspeed and altitude ery as I would in most other airplanes
I’ve fown.”

During design of the MAX, Boeing

added two more leading-edge vortilons
[generating vortices over the top of the
wing at high AOA] in 2018, for a total of
six per side, and also lengthened and
raised the inboard leading-edge stall
strips to assure stall behavior would
be as docile as that of the NG.
Repeating many of the same maneu-
vers in the engineering cab simulator
with the new software load would have
been academic at best, as the triple-re-
dundant AOA validity checks all but
assure that the MCAS will not be trig-
gered by erroneous AOA inputs in the
future. But FCC P12.1 changes do not
protect against erroneous AOA caus-
ing stickshaker or large-scale distor-
tions in indicated airspeed and altitude
values. Those malfunctions still can
The only change pilots will notice with the upgraded MCAS will be angle-of- cause distraction and disorientation,
attack-disagree symbology availability on the primary fight displays. especially when fying at night and/or
in instrument conditions.
celerating and begin retracting slats deviations on PFDs and have not had The new MCAS protections built
and faps at 210 kt. indicated airspeed. to deal with continuous stall-warning into the P12.1 software load preserve
When the slats and faps are fully re- stickshaker distractions. They also its essential role in enhancing the
tracted, the MCAS kicks in. note that they have never been re- MAX’s longitudinal stability, while
“It’s a good thing we knew what to quired to fy the aircraft from the point virtually guaranteeing that it will not
expect,” the pilot who saw the changes at which a runaway stab trim incident be triggered by erroneous AOA. And
says. “Otherwise tunnel vision from occurred all the way to landing using when it does activate, its nose-down
the ‘airspeed unreliable’ event could only the manual trim wheels. “We’re stabilizer trim command authority
have blinded us to the subsequent just checking boxes for the FAA,” says will be limited to assure the pilots al-
MCAS nose-down trim input. When one Seattle-based pilot. ways can control aircraft pitch with
I noticed the trim wheels racing, I A full aerodynamic stall with the the elevators.
grabbed the left wheel. It was easy MCAS inoperative is another exercise However, the FCC software up-
to stop the trim with hand pressure, pilots experienced in the MAX engi- grades are not the only critical chang-
but I knew in advance what was hap- neering cab simulator. “We reduced es needed to boost safety margins for
pening. We followed the checklist for thrust at 5,000 ft. and slowed the air- operators. Pilots who underwent the
runaway stabilizer, checking again for craft at about 1 kt. per sec. We were demonstration also say the sessions
auto-pilot of and auto-throttle of. We at a midrange cg with gear, slats and underscored the need for additional
turned of both trim cut-out switches fats up. We trimmed until we reached simulator training for dealing with
and cranked the ‘frisbees’ [manual trim 30% above stall speed and then just compound emergencies involving
wheels on both sides of the center con- continued to ease back on the control AOA and runaway trim failures. c


737 MAX Crisis Raises Questions rarily, but permanently,” he says. There
could be two main reasons for that. First,
About NMA Timing and Definition bringing MAX deliveries back could take
longer than originally expected because
exhaustive global certifcation process
> MAX REPLACEMENT WILL BE NEEDED SOONER, ANALYSTS SAY in which regional and national airwor-
thiness authorities do not automatically
Jens Flottau Frankfurt follow the FAA. Second, airlines could be
indicating to Boeing that they want fewer

he MAX crisis is afecting Boeing recoverable.” Boeing lost most of that of the aircraft.
in myriad ways. Most important, share at the top end of the narrowbody So far there is little public evidence
346 lives were lost in the two re- segment. “[That is] driven by the tech- to support the latter point. Only
cent 737-8 accidents. As a consequence, nical inadequacies of the 737 MAX—it is Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air and possi-
the company’s approach to aircraft de- low to the ground, so it has a smaller fan, bly Ethiopian have expressed a wish to
velopment and safety is being publicly thus less power and worse fuel economy cancel existing orders. That does not
scrutinized, leading it to establish an than the Neo,” he says. necessarily mean that other carriers
internal review board concerning its The way the engines have been in- will not follow suit.
processes. stalled on the MAX wings—forward Here is where NMA defnition is
Boeing’s public image is tarnished be- and more upward—led Boeing to de- key. “We have long suspected that
yond anything seen in recent memory. velop the now infamous Maneuvering NMA may really be a cover for a
Because of the global grounding, it can- Characteristics Augmentation Sys- much wider program to replace
not deliver its highest-volume product.
The fnancial and industrial impact will A320neo and 737 MAX Market Share
be painful now that it has cut its produc-
tion rate. But the crisis is also reviving a 7,000
debate about the proposed new midmar-
ket airplane (NMA).
Before the March 10 crash of
Cumulative Orders

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, Boeing
was widely expected to seek authority 4,000
to ofer the NMA to airlines soon and 737 MAX
to use the Paris Air Show in June to 3,000
present more details of its latest proj-
ect, planned to be positioned between 2,000
the traditional narrowbody and wide-
body segments. 1,000
However, some industry observ-
ers believe a change in course is now 0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
imperative. “The cold commercial Years from Launch
reality is that an already pressing
Source: Agency Partners
need to replace MAX soon has now
become all but unavoidable,” writes tem (MCAS), with the aim of bringing MAX, starting at the top end,”
Nick Cunningham, managing part- MAX flying characteristics more in Cunningham writes. “It would have
ner and analyst at London-based A&D line with the 737 Next Generation. Un- been necessary to hide the program
research company Agency Partners. timely MCAS activation played an im- because making it public would im-
He believes the NMA as currently portant role in both the Ethiopian and mediately damage MAX sales. That
planned would be the wrong aircraft the Oct. 29, 2018, Lion Air accidents. is now much less of a consideration
for the job. In the short term, the loss of mar- and was already headed that way,
Vertical Research Partners ana- ket share that has been visible for some given that long backlogs were already
lyst Rob Stallard is raising questions time will likely worsen, given Boeing’s impacting orders.” He says worries
as well. “A number of investors are decision to cut rates to 42 aircraft a that orders might be lost to a new air-
starting to consider longer-term, stra- month, from 52. Rates were about to craft are irrelevant, in the sense that
tegic issues,” he says. “For example, go up to 57 aircraft per month later this if Boeing delays a MAX replacement
does this push back Boeing’s plans year, so by then the gap will be 15 air- orders will be lost anyway.
for another 737 rate increase and the craft per month if planned production A 2018 joint Aviation Week-Bank
launch of the NMA? And does this in- is not reinstated quickly. Given that of America Merrill Lynch survey
turn bring forward a next-gen Boeing high costs are incurred in short-notice showed that a large number of air-
narrowbody?” rate cuts and recovery is difcult, Cun- lines want an aircraft that looks like a
Cunningham maintains that, unrelat- ningham considers Boeing’s decision 737 replacement, not the larger, more
ed to the accidents, the MAX loss of mar- very surprising. capable NMA concept Boeing has pur-
ket share against the Airbus A320neo That is unless “Boeing is expecting to sued so far. They did like the idea of a
has worsened recently “and is now un- deliver fewer MAX aircraft, not tempo- small widebody, though, which is seen AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 19


as efcient for quick turnarounds in

hub-feeding roles.
JetBlue’s London Plans
But others are not so convinced the
concept is about to change. And there
Advance Its Mint Strategy
are still NMA fans, particularly among
carriers such as Delta Air Lines that > JETBLUE PLANS TO SERVE LONDON IN 2021
have to replace many 757s and 767s
in the coming years. Delta CEO Ed > FLIGHTS WILL BE WITH AIRBUS A321LRs
Bastian said at Aviation Week’s MRO
Americas conference in early April Sean Broderick Washington
that an appropriately designed prod-

uct remains high on Delta’s wish list. etBlue Airways’ plans to enter in 2018, many connecting the Europe
“We are very interested in the NMA the highly competitive transat- and the U.S.—to one focused on mak-
and have talked to Boeing at some lantic market in 2021 represent ing money. The change has led to cost
length,” he said. “We’ve given Boeing a new chapter for the 19-year-old air- cutting, including scrapping some
our expectations. You can rest as- line, but it is not a completely unfamil- U.S.-Europe routes.
sured we are spending time in Seattle iar one. Judging by the success of its While changes are inevitable, it is a
talking about that.” U.S. transcontinental market-focused safe bet that JetBlue’s primary London
However, Boeing’s focus on the Mint ofering, betting against the car- competition will be the joint venture
MAX crisis has diverted attention rier’s success would be unwise. linking British Airways, American
from the NMA, Bastian confirmed, The New York-based airline on Airlines, Finnair and Iberia, and a sim-
leading to a slowdown in dialog with April 10 confirmed what many in the ilar cooperation between Air France-
potential customers, including Delta. industry have long expected: It plans KLM, Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air
“It’s understandable that they’ve been to start serving Europe from the U.S. Lines. The two groups control 70% of
distracted. I expect them to be able to East Coast. Details are scant, howev- transatlantic seats between Europe
reengage in some conversations in the er. JetBlue says it will operate multiple and North America, Bernstein calcu-
not-too-distant future,” he said. daily services between London and its lates, and 75% of business-class seats.
Time is of the essence, as many be- “focus city” airports—New York John Looking at routes between London
lieve Boeing needs to have the NMA F. Kennedy and Boston Logan—and it and the two U.S. cities JetBlue is tar-
available by 2025-26 at the latest to is “evaluating” which London airport geting, the concentrations are even
meet the 757/767 replacement cy- to use. higher: 80% for transatlantic seats
cle. Otherwise it risks losing further Heathrow is the most attractive and 88% for business class.
ground to the Airbus A321LR or XLR London airport, but gaining access— Looking at the big picture, JetBlue’s
once that derivative is launched. takeof and landing slots—is difcult. capacity additions, assuming twice-dai-
Industry analyst Kevin Michaels A London-based source tells Aviation ly frequencies in each market, will be
said at the conference that while the Week that JetBlue has acquired two minimal. Bernstein’s analysis shows
MAX situation may have made it a slots for Boston services—enough the carrier will boost daily seats less
little less likely Boeing will move for- for one daily round trip. If it does than 3% and will add about 2% to
ward, he still thinks there is an 80% not secure more, it will serve London business-class inventory. Filling them
chance it will build the NMA. He noted Gatwick Airport instead. JetBlue de- with U.S. passengers figures to be less
that Bastion was on stage practically clined to comment. challenging than selling to European
begging for a new aircraft. The routes will be flown by Airbus customers. JetBlue’s brand is strong
Canaccord Genuity analyst Ken A321LRs, which the airline will acquire in the U.S., and the joint ventures have
Herbert said at MRO Americas that “it by converting 13 of its 85 outstanding the advantage of tailoring their market-
is difcult to determine what impact A321neo orders. The A321LRs, which ing to the brand that makes the most
this will have on the NMA, or even will become an ETOPS subfleet, will sense geographically while offering
the [KC-46A tanker].” Ongoing issues be configured with a revamped version each partnership’s entire package.
with the U.S. Air Force’s acceptance of its highly successful Mint two-class “In the joint ventures, each airline
of the tanker have been overshadowed product, which JetBlue created for markets the entirety of the joint ven-
by the MAX grounding. “But to us it high-demand transcontinental routes ture in its home markets,” Bernstein
sounds like the NMA decisions are and has expanded to other markets. The says. “While JetBlue will have a sales
slipping to the right,” he says, adding: carrier’s 35 Mint-configured A321s have presence and established corporate
“I would not be surprised to see even- 159 seats, including 16 lie-flat premium contracts in the U.S., building those
tual changes at [Boeing Commercial seats. The A321LRs will have more than in Europe . . . will be tough.”
Aircraft] management once the MAX 16 premium seats, JetBlue says. Delta and Virgin Atlantic, already
is successfully returned to service, With JetBlue’s London launch still well-established between London
but this will likely come much later.” two years of, accurately gauging the Heathrow and both New York Kennedy
A change in management now would market it will face is challenging. A and Boston Logan, intend to make it
only create more uncertainty around Bernstein Research analysis notes even tougher. The partners announced
future product strategy. c that the largest threat may be to low- plans to add flights from both U.S. air-
cost, long-haul operator Norwegian, ports and London Gatwick, which Del-
—With Michael Bruno, Sean Broderick which is shifting from a rapid-growth ta has not served in nearly a decade.
and Joe Anselmo in Atlanta strategy—it launched 35 new routes The flights will start in 2020.


JfflBluf hflf 253 flffcfflffl ff fflf flfffl:

130 Afffuf A320f, 35 Mfffl-cflffifuffd
A321f, 28 hffh-dfffffly A321f flfd 60
Emffflff 190f. Ifl fxpfcflf flfl flflkf df-
lfvffy flf ffx A321ffflf flhff yfflf flfd flfl
fffff ffplflcfff fflf E190f ffflh Afffuf
A220f ff 2020.
Addfff flhf ETOPS - cffflffffd
JetBlue will eventually operate three versions of the Airbus A321. A321LRf ffll ffvf JfflBluf fl fifflh fuf-
flfffl, flffumfff flhf 100-ffflfl E190f flfd
A220f flff ffflffchflfffflflf. Gfflflfff
“Wf’ff ffflflfff ff fl vffy fflfld pflff- clflff fffvfcf, flfl ffflflff cflmpfflf ffflh flhf A321LRf ffflufh fflfk flf flfflff-
flfflf, ff flhffk, ffflh fluf pflfflffffhfpf flfl flfffffffffffffffffffff
ffvfllf’ lff-flflflflflflf ffffff ffflffff fff flfllflfflfc flffhflf mfly pfflvf chflllffffff,
ff flhf flfflffflfllflfflfc flfd ffflh fluf cflff Yflfk flfd fflflh Lflf Affflff flfd Sflf Bffffflfff fuffffflf, fflfffff flhf pflfffffl-
pfflducflf flfd fffvfcff flhflfl ffll cflfflff- Ffflfcffcfl. Iflf flffffffll plflf ffvfffflffd ffly flf flhf flffcfflffl fffff uffd flf fflmf flf
uf flfl fmpfflvf flvff flhf ffxfl mflfflhf 11 Mfffl-cflffffuffd flffcfflffl. Bufl flhf flhf mflffl lucfflflfvf fxffflfff Mfffl ffluflff.
flfd yfflff,” Dflflfl CEO Ed Bflfflfflf pfflducfl’f pflpulflfffly, dffvff fy fflfff “Wfflh fmflllff fcfllf ff ffflfffflflfflffll
fflyf. “Af yflu lflflk flfl flfflffflfllflfflfc cfl- flhflfl ffff up flfl 50% fflflf cflmpfl- flpffflflfflff, flhf cflffl flf fixfd-fflff flpff-
pflcffly, flhfff flff fllfflyf fff ffflfflfflf fflflf pffmfum flfffffff, hflf mfldf ffl flflfflff ffll ff hffhff flfd ffll fffd flfl ff
cflmfff, flfd flhfff flff fllfflyf ffflfflfflf fl fifl ff mflff mflfkfflf flhflf fxpfcflfd. fpfffld flvff fl fflffflfff-ffluff flffcfflffl
lfflvfff. . . . Wf’vf hfld fl vffy fflfld Thf kfy Mfffl mfflffcf: ffluflff flf flfl vfffuf flhf cflmpfflfflfflf,” Bffffflfff
cfluplf flf yfflff ff flhf flfflffflfllflfflfc, lfflffl 2,000 fm ffflh pffmfum dfmflfd. fflyf. “Addfflfflffllly, JfflBluf ffll hflvf
flfd ff fxpfcfl flhflfl flfl cflfflffuf.” JfflBluf’f Mfffl ffflfflfk flfluchff 11 dff- flfl pflff flhf ffflfffflflfflffll ffluflff ffflh
JfflBluf ff ffflflfff flf vflluf flfl mflkf flffflflfflff ffflm fflf fff Yflfk, Bflfflflf dflmffflfc fffvfcff flfl flchffvf fufcffffl
flhf fff ffluflff fflfk—ffmflflf flfl fflf flfd Fflffl Lfludffdfllf, Flflffdfl, fflfff. flflck-hfluf pfflducflfvffly.” c
2014 Mfffl ffflfflducflfflf. Thf cflfffff Mfffl flyfff flccflufflf fflf flfflufl 20% flf
fflllfd flufl Mfffl, fflf fifffl fflffly ffflfl flffl- flhf cflfffff’f flvflflflflf ffflfl-mflff. —With Tony Osborne in London

Carbon Buildup May Have Led to Leap 1B Engine Failure

Sean Broderick Washington and Guy Norris Los Angeles

CFM INTERNATIONAL IS MONITORING ITS LEAP ENGINE operating history and compared it against data from
fleet for signs of an issue believed to be tied to the March each of the other 1,560 Leaps in service. Aware of Leap
26 Leap 1B contained engine failure on a Southwest Air- fleet coking, a common issue with gas turbine engines,
lines Boeing 737-8 and has recommended inspections for the manufacturer had set up rotable pools of spare fuel
a subset of engines. nozzles to swap out in-service parts at certain thresholds
The issue: carbon buildup, or deposits of evaporated fuel before the Southwest incident. Following the failure, it
and other material on fuel nozzles, which lead to uneven revised its analytics and reduced those thresholds. En-
temperature flow regions within the combustion chamber gines exceeding the revised limits were recommended
exit plane and hot spots within the high-pressure turbine for inspections.
(HPT). These hot spots can cause premature wear. “CFM continually monitors the fleet, and we have a
On the Southwest engine, it is believed to have trig- method to detect carbon buildup, enabling CFM and our
gered an HPT blade failure. Metallic fragments were customers to proactively manage the issue,” GE says. “In
found in the tailpipe, a source with knowledge of the on- the case of the engine on Flight 8701, we learned from
going investigation confirms. CFM believes the issue may the event that our monitoring analytics and maintenance
be linked to the carbon buildup, or coking, that it has process needed to be adjusted for our Leap engines.
been monitoring. This adjustment has been made, and the fleet was as-
CFM is working to understand both the failure and sessed within hours, with follow-on actions completed
what is causing the coking. The Southwest 737-8, oper- within days.” GE and Safran are joint-venture partners
ating as Flight 8701, experienced the failure about 10 min. in CFM.
into a flight from Orlando International Airport, Florida, to The inspections have turned up issues on about 1%
Victorville, California, where it was to join the carrier’s other of the engine fleet—all on Leap 1Bs, which is the 737
MAXs in storage due to the aircraft’s global grounding. The MAX’s only engine. The Leap 1A is an option for the
two-person crew returned to Orlando and landed safely. Airbus A320neo, sharing the platform with the Pratt &
Within hours of the failure, CFM analyzed the engine’s Whitney PW1000G-JM. c AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 21


European Airlines Contend With and aircraft leasing—also harming

British travelers’ spending power in
Ongoing Uncertainty Over Brexit the Eurozone.
Brexit is by no means the only fac-
tor; economic woes in other Europe-
an countries also are playing a role.
But EasyJet warned on April 1 that
Airlines are confdent they can keep
fying whatever the Brexit outcome.

uncertainty over the issue is curbing

customer demand, and it revealed a
more cautious outlook for the second
half of the year.
The British budget carrier, which
> BRITAIN’S DEADLINE TO LEAVE THE EU PUSHED TO OCT. 31 in July 2017 set up an Austrian sub-
sidiary to protect its flying rights in
> WEAK POUND AND CONSUMER FEARS ARE HITTING CARRIERS the event of a no-deal Brexit, said
it was experiencing “softness” in
Helen Massy-Beresford Paris mainland Europe have done much demand across its network due to
work and spent millions on Brex- macroeconomic uncertainty and

n extension of the Brexit dead- it-proofing their operations—secur- “the many unanswered questions re-
line until Oct. 31 is good news ing European operators’ licenses and garding Brexit which afect customer
for those who hope increasing setting up European subsidiaries to confidence.”
doubts over the process will result in protect their flying rights against the International Airlines Group, the
Britain remaining in the European dreaded “no-deal Brexit”—they are parent company of British Airways,
Union (EU) after all. But with Brexit powerless to do anything about the Aer Lingus, Iberia, Vueling and
uncertainty already afecting demand ongoing drama’s efect on consumers. Level, has expressed confidence that
for flights, the prolonged confusion Carriers have already warned its airlines will be able to keep flying
may not be good news for airlines al- that the lack of clarity is having an and comply with ownership rules
ready struggling with the short-term impact on their operations, with the post-Brexit. But CEO Willie Walsh
economic efects. weaker pound since the 2016 Brexit acknowledged at the company’s full-
While carriers based in Britain and referendum—which increases their year results presentation on Feb. 28
those operating between there and dollar-denominated costs such as fuel that the uncertainty was taking an

Aerospace Industry Counts the Cost

Tony Osborne London
BRITAIN’S AEROSPACE INDUSTRY BREATHED aerospace and defense trade association.

a cautious sigh of relief following the EU’s deci- Everitt says these costs could continue to
sion to allow Britain to delay its exit from the pact. mount as long as there is a threat of a no-deal
Industry was concerned that without interven- exit, an agenda that is still being pushed by
tion, the UK could have crashed out of the EU some British lawmakers, including ministers, de-
on April 12, after the British Parliament repeatedly spite the warnings about its potential impact on
failed to find consensus on Prime Minister There- the British economy.
sa May’s Withdrawal Agreement. “The current uncertainty must be put behind
Preparation for a no-deal exit, say analysts, us and the needs of businesses, workers and
has seen aerospace spend up to £2 billion ($2.6 consumers given greater priority in political dis-
billion), including the cost of extra stocks in case ADS CEO Paul Everitt cussions and decision-making over Brexit,”
supply chains are interrupted. Ultimately, those adds Everitt.
stocks can be used in the production process, but a quar- As well as adding cost, figures released by the UK’s Of-
ter of that sum—around £500 million—across the industry is fice for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that the Brexit un-
unrecoverable, say experts. certainty has also affected production. The ONS’ Index of
“Government and Parliament must use the time they have Production published in February showed that during 2018,
been granted constructively, by working together to reach production in the UK aerospace sector declined by 3.9%,
agreement on pragmatic solutions to the issues the country despite strong global demand and rising production rates
faces around Brexit,” says Paul Everitt, CEO of ADS, a UK worldwide.c


economic toll. “Whether you are for obtaining additional operating licens- rity developments which adversely
or against the UK leaving the EU, all es,” says John Strickland, director of impact fares for close-in bookings
the credible forecasts I’ve seen pre- JLS Consulting. “The October deadline between now and the end of March.”
dict that Brexit will have a negative means airlines cannot fully turn back The airline said it did not share
economic impact in the short-to-me- to other aspects of running the busi- some competitors’ optimistic view
dium term that is likely to damage ness—Brexit is still going to be there that air fares would rise this summer.
consumer confidence and act as a somewhat in the background.” “Some airlines have reported lat-
further drag on business investment,” For EasyJet, the lack of clarity is er bookings due to consumer uncer-
Walsh said. “We need to remain very affecting bookings. “Customers in tainty about Brexit,” says Strickland.
agile in the months ahead.” general are wary and waiting to see “Airlines say traffic is buoyant and
EasyJet is also confident it will what’s going to come out of it. We’re that forward bookings are in line
keep fying, even in the event of a no- seeing a softness in all our core Euro- with expectations but are having to
deal exit. That Brexit outcome has pean markets,” CEO Johan Lundgren be stimulated by lower pricing fur-
become much less likely since the EU said April 1. ther ahead in the year.”
granted a delay to the UK’s scheduled Virgin Atlantic also reported an However, looking on the bright
departure, but it is still a possibility, annual loss for 2018 on April 10, cit- side, Strickland says there is a lim-
albeit a remote one. ing the weaker pound and higher fuel it to how long Brexit confusion will
While airline executives are conf- costs, both of which can be linked to afect consumer spending patterns.
dent they can avoid grounded feets Brexit and the referendum’s efects “If the uncertainty continues beyond
when the Brexit clock strikes mid- on the economy since June 2016. October, at some point consumers
night, the climate of uncertainty will Presenting its third-quarter results may simply become weary and just
pile further pressure on prices as to Dec. 31 on Feb. 4, Dublin-based start ignoring it,” he says. “We see af-
carriers seek to persuade nervous low-cost carrier Ryanair warned that ter events such as security incidents
consumers to book fights. despite “reasonable visibility” on its and terror attacks that trafc is typ-
“Most airlines managed the uncer- fourth-quarter bookings, it could not ically afected, but it does come back.
tainty in the run-up to the planned rule out further cuts to air fares or its Even if there are ups and downs on
March deadline, though it took a lot of full-year guidance, “especially if there the way to wherever we end up, this
efort, time and money, for example, in are unexpected Brexit and/or secu- will be a temporary situation.” c

MRO Baltics, Eastern Europe & Russia (BEER)

May 20, 2019 Welcome Reception

May 21-22, 2019 Conference & Showcase
Vilnius, Lithuania
Join the region’s largest MRO event for access to local
and global suppliers, industry thought-leadership and best
practices for growing your business.
Learn more at

Speakers include: • Supplier showcase

for sourcing services
and products
• FL Technics facility tour

Zilvinas Anca Piotr Samson David Vazquez

Lapinskas Mihalache President, Civil Big Data and Predictive
CEO, VP Engine Trading, Aviation Authority Maintenance Program
FL Technics APOC Aviation of the Republic Manager, Air France
of Poland Industries KLM Engineering


Irish Authority Evolves messages rather than by voice.

As of March, according to the Sin-
as Europe’s ‘Gateway’ gle European Sky ATM Research
(SESAR) Deployment Manager, 16
states complied with ground-network
mission’s Data Link Services mandate,
> FREE-ROUTE AIRSPACE AND DATA LINK ARE INTRODUCED which air navigation service providers
(ANSP) were required to meet by Feb-
Bill Carey Ballygirreen, Ireland ruary 2018.
Described as a commercial semi-

time line from the past to the and southern oceanic transition areas. state company, the IAA generates most
future runs through the Irish Airspace sections the ACC man- of its revenue by charging airspace us-
Aviation Authority’s (IAA) ages serve as the interface between ers for air trafc control (ATC) services
North Atlantic Communications Cen- North Atlantic oceanic and European and receives no government funding.
ter at Ballygirreen, a townland on the domestic air traffic, and the center In addition to embracing air traffic
Shannon Estuary in western Ireland. handles most transoceanic flights. In management (ATM) innovation, it is
Originally known as Shannon Aera- 2018, the IAA handled 1.1 million total modernizing facilities across Ireland.
dio, the station dates to 1936, when a movements, consisting of 505,397 This year, the authority expects to
transmitter hut, a receiver hut and a North Atlantic communications flights, complete construction of a new ATC
short-wave radio direction-finding hut 345,403 en route flights that did not tower at Dublin Airport, which handled
were built to provide communications land in Ireland and 301,195 terminal a record 31.5 million passengers and
by Morse code with flying boats cross- movements at Dublin, Cork and Shan- 233,000 aircraft movements in 2018,
ing the North Atlantic Ocean between non airports. making it Europe’s 16th-busiest airport.
Ireland and Newfoundland, Canada. “We are the gateway for Europe,” Standing 285 ft. (86.9 m) tall, the
The experimental flying-boat trials says Sean Patrick, Shannon ACC en tower will support parallel runway op-
were “a complete success,” paving route and North Atlantic communica- erations by 2021, when the Dublin Air-
the way for the future of transatlan- tions general manager. “We’re taking port Authority (DAA) introduces a new
tic aviation, reads a signpost in front all this trafc coming of the North At-
of the station. lantic and then starting to sequence North Atlantic
The current building, opened in 1952, it, starting to put radar separations in
accommodates 50 radio officers and place, starting to feed trafc into the En Route Air Traffic
engineers who provide high-frequen- London TMA [terminal maneuvering
cy (HF) radio communications for the area] at Heathrow, and we’ve got over-
500,000 flights that transit the ocean- flights going into continental Europe,”
ic airspace each year. Under an agree- he explains. “Our role is hugely signif-
ment the UK and Irish governments icant in terms of the North Atlantic.”
reached in 1966 to avoid duplication of The IAA implemented Free Route
services, UK controllers in Prestwick, Airspace (FRA) above 24,500 ft. in the
Scotland, provide air trafc control and Shannon FIR upper airspace and oce-
radio ofcers at Ballygirreen communi- anic transition areas in 2009; it extend-
cations for aircraft transiting the east- ed FRA into the Shannon FIR’s lower
ern half of the North Atlantic Ocean in airspace to 7,500 ft. in October 2017.
the Shanwick oceanic control area—a The concept allows operators to flight-
volume of airspace named from a port- plan the most direct routes between
manteau of Shannon and Prestwick. published waypoints or radio naviga-
The joint service agreement be- tion aids within the airspace. Outside
tween the UK and Ireland most recent- of Dublin’s airspace and some low-level
ly was updated in 2004. routes the military uses, there is no
A newer wing at the station was fixed route structure in Irish airspace.
being readied in March to house a “You file an entry point and an exit
contingency en route operations cen- point. You’re going in a straight line—
ter that can replicate the majority of the most efcient form of airspace. To
services provided by the IAA’s Shan- facilitate that, we break all this airspace
non Area Control Center (ACC) at down into [sectors] to make sure we
Ballycasey in the event of an outage or can maximize efciency. And we have North Runway situated 1.6 km north
emergency. The ACC near Shannon full CPDLC,” Patrick says, using the of its current main runway. The latter
Airport manages a flight information acronym for controller-pilot data link runway “is efectively full at peak times
region (FIR) covering Ireland and the communications. every day” following a 45% increase in
Atlantic Ocean to 15 deg. W. Long.—the The authority deployed CPDLC in passengers since 2014, says the DAA.
range to which it can track aircraft by the Shannon FIR above 16,000 ft. in A remote tower center facility that
terrestrial radar and communicate by 2012-14, enabling controllers at the Saab installed at Dublin Airport under a
VHF radio—and adjacent northern Shannon ACC to communicate by text SESAR project will be relocated to the


The Irish Aviation
Shannon ACC. Controllers
there eventually will man- Authority’s Shannon Area
age movements at Shan- Control Center near
non Airport, which handled Shannon Airport manages
1.86 million passengers and air trafc in Irish airspace
25,556 takeofs and landings reaching into the North
last year. Atlantic Ocean.
In 2006, the IAA was
a founding member of ing ANSPs Nav Canada,
the Cooperation between Naviair and Italy’s Enav

Air Navigation Service as well as Iridium Com-

Providers (Coopans) Alli- munications. UK NATS
ance, with Sweden’s LFV joined the company in
and Denmark’s Naviair. May 2018.
Austria’s Austro Control The IAA will operate
joined in 2010 and Croatia’s Croatia 5.4 million km2, with 150,000 annual Aireon’s Aircraft Locating and Emer-
Control in 2011. movements. gency Response Tracking (ALERT)
The purpose of the Coopans Alli- Isavia and the IAA initiated joint op- service, providing users with the last
ance was to standardize the partners’ erations in 2007 by sharing a common known position of any ADS-B-equipped
air trafc management systems on a operating system. The project was ex- aircraft in distress. Aireon announced
single platform—Thales’ TopSky—to panded in 2015 with the introduction that it would ofer the service free to
benefit from common software and of virtual joint-center operations, registered airlines, ANSPs, regulatory
synchronized upgrades. “The idea is allowing the ANSPs to operate inde- agencies and search-and-rescue orga-
to develop once and deploy five times,” pendently of each other or jointly using nizations in September 2014, after the
explains Patrick. In September, the the internet-protocol-based Rohde & loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a
alliance accepted Nav Portugal as its Schwarz VCS-4G Voice Communica- Boeing 777-200 that disappeared earli-
sixth member. tions System for HF, VHF and satellite er that year in the Indian Ocean.
The Shanwick Oceanic Control Area voice communications at their respec- Preregistration for the service began
last August; as of March, Aireon count-
ed 143 registrants.
SHANWICK Aireon ALERT services will be pro-
OCEANIC-AERONAUTICAL vided by the watch manager at Bally-
COMMUNICATIONS girreen, who will have access to a ter-
IRISH-CONTROLLED minal with constantly archived position
AIRSPACE data from Aireon’s surveillance system.
On request by telephone, the manager
SHANNON will provide a 4D report, including the
latitude, longitude, altitude and time of
an aircraft’s last known position, based
on its flight identification code or In-
ternational Civil Aviation Organization
24-bit address, a unique identifier for
the aircraft’s transponder. The IAA will
follow up by email with a comprehen-
sive report covering the last 15 min. of
the flight.
With Europe’s June 7, 2020, mandate
requiring aircraft operators to equip
for ADS-B “Out” position reporting
soon approaching, the IAA plans to
Irish-controlled airspace, managed from apply space-based ADS-B for surveil-
Shannon Area Control Center, acts as a lance in its domestic airspace. It also
gateway between Europe and North America. has installed a number of terrestrial
ADS-B stations.
“It will help us at the peripheries of
(OCA), in which the IAA provides com- tive centers in Gufunes, Iceland, and our airspace, where we are at the lim-
munications, covers 2.2 million km2 Ballygirreen. its of our classic [radar] surveillance
(850,000 mi.2) in the eastern half of Adoption of the Aireon space- coverage [of] 250 mi.,” says Patrick.
the North Atlantic Ocean and handles based automatic dependent surveil- “We’ll start using it in a fill-in role,
more than 500,000 aircraft movements lance-broadcast (ADS-B) system is the augmenting radar in relation to how
each year. Iceland’s Isavia, through IAA’s latest technology advance. The we operate. It will also give us an in-
Iceland Radio, provides services in the authority became an equity partner in creased level of resilience in terms of
northern Reykjavik OCA, which covers the Aireon joint venture in 2014, join- radar failures.” c AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 25


Airbus To Offer Enhanced out lighting. Regional turboprop manufacturer ATR is

closing in on the certifcation of a similar system (AW&ST
Vision System on HUD Feb. 25-March 10, p. 40).
Airbus engineers will draw from the experience gathered
> EFVS COULD EXPAND CARRIER OPERATIONS with the A400M and at sister company ATR. They have their
own design drivers, however.
> CHINA TARGETS WIDESPREAD USE IN 2025 Roy suggests Airbus may set the bar higher than ATR.
“We want to be certain we meet customer demand; we do not
Thierry Dubois Lyon know yet how many sensors we need,” he says. The Airbus
A320’s radome is larger and will thus more easily accommo-

irbus is developing an enhanced fight vision system date the sensors.
(EFVS) that could equip all its in-production aircraft. While ATR has chosen a wearable display, Airbus favors a
The idea is to improve airport access, regardless of HUD for “image quality and reading comfort,” says Roy. He
weather or landing aids on the ground. would not disclose the names of the potential EFVS suppli-
The move is part of a commercial aviation trend of grad- ers, but Thales and Elbit Systems are two likely contenders.
ually adopting military and business aviation technologies Thales already provides the HUD.
to improve pilot situational awareness, such as head-up dis- Airbus has started a frst EFVS fight-test campaign this
plays (HUD) and its accompanying symbology. A road map year with A320 MSN6101, which the airframer uses as a
the Civil Aviation Administration prototype. Optronic sensors were

of China (CAAC) issued in 2012 installed under the radome, just
has been a factor. More equip- above the weather radar. The
ment on board decreases the re- campaign will involve “dozens of
quirement for costly ground aids hours” of trials, says Roy.
such as instrument landing sys- Representatives for Chinese
tems (ILS), thus multiplying the carriers may participate in a
number of airports into which an second series of evaluations. The
aircraft can fy. CAAC’s road map for HUD and
An EFVS displays on a HUD EFVS equipment targets wide-
an image created from several spread use in 2025. With the
optronic sensors. Each sensor is aim of having a greater number
suited to a specifc range of wave- of airports reliably served in the
length, corresponding to the run- country with minimal investment
way’s thermal signature or some on the ground, the CAAC is incen-
incandescent lighting, for example. tivizing carriers to install the sys-
The picture resulting from the tems in their aircraft.
merger of the different inputs “Therefore, some Chinese air-
will thus provide the pilot with an lines have asked us to make them
exhaustive—albeit only two-col- available,” says Roy.
or—view of the runway and its Onera, France’s aerospace
environment, even when fog, pre- research center, has tested the
cipitation or darkness prevents sensors with obscurants such as
natural vision. Airbus has installed optronic sensors on a prototype artifcial fog in a weather simu-
Under the FAA’s definition, A320, the radome of which has been modifed. lation chamber. “We look at how
an EFVS operation is conducted our sensors can see a light at a
when a pilot uses the image provided by an EFVS to operate given distance,” says Roy. An issue is that the aircraft may
in the visual segment of an instrument approach. There are have to fy through layers of diferent obscurants.
major operational benefts, especially under FAA rules, says He believes EFVS will be of interest to markets other than
Airbus test pilot Jean-Michel Roy. Using an EFVS allows an China. “Each operator has to study whether it has a busi-
operator to dispatch an aircraft when weather at the desti- ness case,” says Roy. Fedex has long used EFVS, he notes.
nation is below authorized visibility minimums. The crew The greater proportion of ILS Category 2- and 3-equipped
may fy down to 100 ft. above the runway threshold before airports in Europe may make the region slower to embrace
switching to natural vision. If the approach has a form of EFVS.
vertical guidance, such as augmented GPS, the EFVS may be Airbus last year began fight-testing an A350 with a head-
used to touch down. The expected bottom line is a reduced down synthetic vision system (SVS), which uses a database
number of fight cancellations and delays. to represent terrain and obstacles on the artifcial horizon.
The FAA has the most advanced set of rules for EFVS ATR is working on a combined vision system (CVS) that
operations, and the European Aviation Safety Agency is fol- merges SVS and EFVS images. An SVS better represents
lowing suit. distant terrain but cannot provide information on a runway
An increasing population of business jet pilots are familiar incursion. What about a CVS on an Airbus? “We will study
with such operations because that sector relies on a high this question,” Roy answers.
proportion of small airports with few landing aids. Military Last October, Collins Aerospace said it had signed an
pilots, such as those fying the Airbus A400M transport, agreement with Boeing to develop an EFVS as a factory op-
have used an EFVS equivalent to land on airstrips with- tion for the 737 MAX. c


SPACE > Stratolaunch first flight p. 28 SpaceIL lunar lander crash p. 30

IN 2024

Irene Klotz Colorado Springs


he Trump administration’s call for boots on the Moon by Lockheed is proposing a Gateway
2024—four years earlier than NASA’s already stressed with an Orion-derived lunar landing
current schedule—prompted a joke at this year’s Space system.
Symposium: A small lander, chartered under the agen- the Moon, Mars, back to the Moon, an
cy’s ongoing Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, asteroid and back to the Moon again,
touches down on the lunar surface and unveils its cargo: a pair but the agency adapted by maintain-
ing its focus on developing the Orion
of astronaut boots. capsule for deep-space human travel
Without a significant budget boost, NASA’s strategy has been to slowly and the heavy-lift, human-rated, Space
that is about as far as NASA will get to- evolve the ability to sustain astronauts Launch System (SLS) rocket, wherever
ward landing astronauts on the Moon beyond low Earth orbit, paying what it they may be needed.
by 2024, a time line that could be a can aford under a budget that has been Those projects, along with support-
blessing or a curse. Accelerating work relatively stable for decades at roughly ing ground systems, have cost NASA
by four years to accommodate such a 0.5% of total U.S. federal spending. upward of $20 billion, with the SLS
landing basically entails consolidating Presidential administrations have debut flight still 20 months away, at
NASA’s nine-year, roughly $50 billion come and gone, shifting NASA’s goal to best. The first SLS launch with crew
deep-space exploration budget into five
years, for an estimated annual increase
of around $5 billion per year, unless
cheaper alternatives can be found. NASA is studying options
Details of the proposal are expected for a human-class lunar
to be delivered to Congress before the landing system that could
end of April. be ready by 2024.
“NASA has always wanted to have
another ‘JFK moment,’ where they’ve
got the goal and the resources to go do
the job,” Special Aerospace Services
consultant Wayne Hale said on the
sidelines of the conference in Colora-
do Springs, April 8-11. “At least three
times since then, we’ve had a president
stand up and say, ‘I want you to go do
this great thing,’ and the resources nev-
er come through.”
Lacking a John F. Kennedy-type
directive and significant budget hike, AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 27


aboard Orion remains 3-4 years away. ship for the Obama administration-era The concern is that the agency would
More recently, NASA unveiled plans asteroid expedition. sacrifce its fexibility if fails to meet
for a lunar-orbiting outpost, currently “We’ve always said that Gateway Trump’s deadline or even if it fulflls
envisioned to be some 50 metric tons was fexible and could be evolved and it in a way that significantly delays
(compared to the 450-metric-ton Inter- changed and be part of this open archi- hardware and systems for sustained
national Space Station). The Gateway, tecture. It was a piece of infrastructure deep-space operations, risking a repeat
as it is known, would serve as a com- that could be used for a lot of diferent of the successful but extremely short-
mand-and-control module for sorties things, including even Mars activities,” lived 1969-72 Apollo Moon landings.
to and from anywhere on the lunar sur- Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate “If we’re going to change this phi-
face, platform for astronomical obser- administrator for human exploration losophy of a constant budget wedge,
vations and remote sensing, assembly and operations, tells Aviation Week. where we do as much as we can, year
node for lunar landers and other space- “It’s encouraging that we’re now go- by year, incrementally getting closer to
craft, technology testbed for missions ing to get a chance to show that this going back to the Moon—if we’re going
to Mars and a small-scale science lab. architecture can really do what it was to change that, which is what is being
With an Orion capsule docked, the advertised to do.” proposed here, then it runs the risk of a
Gateway also could host crews for President Donald Trump’s call for new administration coming in and say-
several weeks at a time. Interestingly, NASA to land astronauts on the Moon ing, ‘No, I don’t want to do that. Let’s
its core component, a power and pro- within his possible second term could cancel all that and start something
pulsion element (PPE) that is slated to translate into a sustained high level new.’ That’s kind of scary,” says Hale.
launch in 2022, was once the mother- of funding to accomplish the deed. “We’ve had this bipartisan program

Mega Mothership
Chris Guarente, with Jake Riley as
fight engineer.
The crew few from the cockpit lo-
cated in the right fuselage. The nose of
Guy Norris Los Angeles the left fuselage is not occupied but is
also pressurized to house launch-re-

tratolaunch’s gargantuan launch is the biggest all-composite air- lated systems for the small- or medi-
twin-fuselage launch vehicle car- craft ever developed and, as measured um-size payload rockets that will be
rier aircraft made a successful by its 385-ft. wingspan, also the world’s released from the midpoint of the wing
2-hr. 29-min. frst fight from Mojave largest aircraft. Designed by Burt Ru- separating the fuselages by 95 ft.
Air and Spaceport on April 13, marking tan and built by Northrop Grumman’s Taking of at 6:58 a.m. Pacifc time,
the start of a planned 1.5-year test and Scaled Composites for Stratolaunch, the crew conducted basic handling
certifcation program. the aircraft was fown for its frst fight checks at speeds up to 165 kt. (189 mph)
The six-engine, 285-ft.-long Strato- by Scaled test pilots Evan Thomas and and altitudes up to 15,000 ft. The fight


for 0.5% of the federal budget to NASA companies and, as of March, the frst “We’ll get a chance to test and see
that’s been pretty stable for decades, post-Apollo lunar landing before the what that really means,” Gerstenmaier
and you have a plan that builds out a end of 2024. notes. “I think you’re going to get a
space program under that,” he adds. “The idea is we’re trying to create chance to see how we can essentially
“If you come in with a diferent plan, an infrastructure that is fexible and restructure the Gateway a little bit or
you run the risk that you’ve upset the adaptable and can change to meet just refocus, where we don’t need the
bipartisan apple cart, and it will be market needs. If we do this right, then whole Gateway.”
seen as partisan—and then we’re of we’ve created an enabler. It’s like when Theoretically, a Moon landing in 2024
to the races.” the federal government built the Fed- is possible, though the short time frame
NASA learned that lesson the hard eral Highway System. That became means that only development programs
way in 2010, when the Obama admin- transformative,” says Gerstenmaier. close to producing fight hardware, or
istration canceled the previous ad- “This is what we’re trying to do in hardware already in existence, will ft
ministration’s Constellation initiative, space, to put in as small a piece as we into the fve-year window.
which aimed for a crewed landing on can from a government perspective, NASA is likely to request both fund-
the Moon by 2020. and then have that turn industry loose ing and permission for nontraditional
NASA is looking for options to fulfll to go do things.” contracting arrangements to build a
all of Trump’s human spacefight direc- When Vice President Mike Pence is- minimalistic Gateway and lunar land-
tives, which include a sustained pres- sued the challenge for a lunar landing er, including a system to travel from the
ence around the Moon, partnerships in 2024, he told NASA to accomplish Gateway to the Moon’s surface and an
with other countries and commercial the mission by any means possible. ascent system to launch from the Moon
and return to the Gateway, where the
crew’s Orion capsule would be docked
ended with a touchdown at 9:27 a.m. the fight crew “got straight into our for the fight back to Earth.
on Mojave’s 200-ft.-wide Runway 30. test cards,” he says. “It few very much During the Space Symposium,
Commenting after the test mission, like we had simulated, though we saw a Lockheed Martin presented an early
Thomas said: “I honestly could not few little things that were of-nominal. concept for meeting Trump’s deadline,
have hoped for more on a frst fight, Really, for a frst fight, it was spot-on.” based on repurposing Orion struc-
especially of an airplane of this much The testing focused on airspeed tural components and the propulsion
complexity and uniqueness.” calibration and fight-control system system from its European-built service
Powered by six ex-Boeing 747-400 evaluation through a series of roll module.
Pratt & Whitney PW4056 engines, the doublets, yaws, pushovers, pull-ups “This isn’t the only way to accomplish
aircraft smoothly rotated at liftof. “It and steady-heading sideslips. Stra- this,” says Lockheed’s Rob Chambers,
was defnitely ready to fy and climbed tolaunch plans to conduct a launch director of human space exploration
out quickly,” says Thomas. After turn- demonstration of the aircraft with a strategy. “The objective was to lay out
ing the aircraft to the north with its Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL air an architecture that moves the needle
28-wheel landing gear still extended, launch vehicle. c from ‘Is this possible?’ to ‘How do we do
it best?’ It is almost an existence proof
that it’s feasible to accomplish this by
2024, maintain a continuity of purpose
with an arc toward Mars and then drive
out what are those things that have to
Chambers says the team’s starting
point was safety. “Going fast doesn’t
mean going recklessly—and it doesn’t
have to. . . . But we are going to have
to take some mission-success risk,”
he notes.
Reusing existing hardware elimi-
nates the time needed for new tooling,
qualification tests and unnecessary
development eforts. “It is really im-
portant to use what you’ve got, only
develop what you need to and then get
moving,” Chambers says.
Lockheed’s plan begins with the un-
crewed Exploration Mission-1 fight of
Orion on an SLS rocket around the
Moon, a mission NASA hopes to fy in
late 2020 or early 2021.
The next step would be to add a dock-
ing node or small pressurized habitat
onto a commercially provided PPE. AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 29


NASA expects to announce one or more

PPE partnership agreements in May.
Outfitting the PPE with a docking
Israel Leaves Its Mark on the Moon
node would enable NASA to turn Ex- Irene Klotz Colorado Springs
ploration Mission-2, a crewed flight test
into a shakedown mission and docking Beresheet, the frst privately funded mission to the Moon. On April 11, after a
at the Gateway. nearly fawless, seven-week journey to lunar orbit, Beresheet—Hebrew for “in
The lander elements, derived from the beginning”—began a fnal, 21-min. engine burn to reduce its speed, drop
Orion hardware, would fly separately altitude and land in Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity), near the Apollo 15 and 17
on commercial launchers, or together
landing sites.
on an SLS, in early 2024, setting up
Exploration Mission-3, launching in Beresheet did indeed reach the surface, but it was not a soft touchdown.
late 2024, to become the first Gate- About 6 min. before the scheduled 3:25 p.m. EDT landing, fight controllers
way-staged mission to the lunar surface. reported a problem with one of the spacecraft’s inertial measurement units
“To fly the lander in early 2024, we (IMU), followed by a brief communications dropout and then, most ominously,
have to be bending metal next year, a problem with the main engine.
which means tooling has to be in- By the time communications were restored and commands issued to try to
house,” Chambers says. “I hope some-
restart the engine, it was too late. Telemetry indicated Beresheet had crashed
body ordered a bunch of aluminum,
because we’re all going to need it pretty into the Moon at about 3:23 p.m. “We didn’t make it, but we defnitely tried,”
soon, no matter what goes into this.” Morris Kahn, co-founder of the SpaceIL nonproft enterprise and a key fnan-
NASA briefly considered commer- cier, said during a webcast from mission control in Yehud, Israel.
cial alternatives to the SLS but found A preliminary investigation indicated that after the IMU failure, a command
nothing that could fly sooner and ac- was uploaded to the spacecraft, leading to the main engine being turned off,
complish the mission. Commercial SpaceIL said in a statement.
launchers, however, are expected to
Two days after the accident, Kahn announced that SpaceIL would begin
play a key role in flying Gateway and
lander components as well as crew planning for a follow-on spacecraft, Beresheet 2. “We’re going to build a new
supplies. spacecraft, we’re going to put it on the Moon, and we’re going to complete the
“We’re looking at multiple paths to mission,” he vowed.
achieve the same end state,” NASA Beresheet, developed by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, original-
Administrator Jim Bridenstine told ly was to compete in the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize, but the competi-
reporters at the symposium. “Redun- tion ended last year without a winner. The X Prize, however, decided to award
dancy ultimately enables us to move
SpaceIL $1 million for its technological achievements.
forward, even if something slips. The
vice president said ‘by any means If successful, Israel would have become only the fourth nation after the U.S.,
necessary,’ so we’re going to put those the former Soviet Union and China to soft-land a spacecraft on the Moon and
kinds of redundancies into our plan the only one to attempt the feat for less than $100 million. c
and then ultimately see the consensus
that we can build and whether or not
Congress can support it.”
The Trump administration’s call for
boots on the Moon by 2024 is part of
an overarching efort to speed up de-
ployment of space systems for military,
civilian and commercial use, with the
aim of growing the U.S. economy and
maintaining technical superiority in a
changing world.
“It is absolutely the right focus for
the nation,” says Wayne Monteith, for- Beresheet relays a
mer commander of the U.S. Air Force’s last look at the Moon
45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral before crashing.
AFS, who now heads the FAA’s Ofce
of Commercial Space Transportation.
“We have to dedicate ourselves to big
goals, big missions, big ideas. That is
the only way we’re going to maintain
our leadership in the world. Whether
we actually accomplish a Moon landing
by 2024, we have to have a goal or we’ll

never get there.” c


DEFENSE > Tempest gets attention p. 32 Swiss assess fighters p. 34 MBDA takes family approach p. 57
CSBA warns about USAF fleet structure p. 58

Heavy-Duty Mobile glider, but it is classified. The Navy

plans to begin testing the new HTD
in the latter half of the year.
“This HTD will further mature
vide upgrades to key components to
> OPFIRES’ PROPOSED ROCKET IS SIZED FOR LAUNCHING make the system more survivable
SMALL SATELLITES and efective,” a spokesman for Army
headquarters tells Aviation Week.
Steve Trimble Washington Underscoring the Army’s urgency
to feld the follow-on LRHW, manage-

lthough classifcation shrouds Corps, which uses it as a wrecker and ment for the HTD has transitioned
many details of the Pentagon’s cargo hauler, not a missile launcher. from the research-oriented Space and
$10.5 billion, fve-year rush to The possible selection of the LVSR Missile Defense Command to the Rapid
field hypersonic weapons from sea, offers new insight into the ground- Capabilities and Critical Technologies
air and land, only the Army’s launch launched component of the U.S. mili- Ofce, a high-ranking ofcer says.
platform remains a mystery. tary’s expanding pursuit of hypersonic Whereas the LRHW will be de-
The Mk. 41 vertical launch system weapons. Not only does it suggest a ployed with proven technologies,
tubes embedded in the U.S. Navy’s possible Marine Corps role in the the goal of OpFires is to push the
surface vessels and submarines Army’s second-generation hypersonic boundaries of rocket propulsion, us-
will launch the future Conventional weapons program, the heavy chassis ing liquid and hybrid prop.ellants,
Prompt Strike (CPS) weapon. Boeing


B-52s will launch the Air Force’s near-
term Hypersonic Conventional Strike
Weapon (HCSW) and medium-term
Air-launched Rapid Response Weap-
on (ARRW). In February, a senior de-
fense ofcial said the Army was likely
to use a “new” mobile launcher for the
future Long-Range Hypersonic Weap-
on (LRHW) instead of a fxed silo but
did not identify the mobile system.
Now a clue has emerged within a
Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)
draft solicitation published on April 10
by DARPA. Just as the defense agen-
cy’s Tactical Boost Glide program is
intended to help the Air Force field
the advanced ARRW—arguably the
world’s most sophisticated hypersonic
glide vehicle—on time, DARPA’s Op-
Fires program is focused on helping
the Army deploy a second-generation The 10-wheel-drive Logistics Vehicle System Replacement has emerged as a
hypersonic weapon in the next decade. new candidate for the Army’s mobile launcher for hypersonic weapons.
The BAA informs the three bid-
ding teams (Aerojet Rocketdyne, Si- required for OpFires points to a mis- variable-thrust nozzles, pulse motors
erra Nevada Corp. and a Dynetics-led sile with a booster that is large enough and reignitable propellants to vary the
efort) for the Phase 3 contract under for possible space launch applications. thrust and range of the booster.
OpFires, that the Logistic Vehicle Sys- In the near term, the Army plans to A member of the Dynetics-led-team
tem Replacement (LVSR) is a possible deploy the LRHW with a booster and tells Aviation Week that it has tested a
launch platform. glide vehicle derived from the CPS subscale, throttleable rocket motor de-
The LVSR is an intriguing option Hypersonic Technology Demonstra- signed by California-based Exquadrum,
for the Army’s most advanced artillery tor (HTD). The glide vehicle is a de- whose CEO Kevin Mahafy, notes: “We
system. The 10-wheel-drive LVSR is rivative of the Advanced Hypersonic can throttle our solid rocket motor
larger than, but comparable to, the Weapon (AHW) demonstrated by the (SRM) and turn it of when we reach
Army’s only heavy artillery launch- Army in 2011; the Navy demonstrated the right weapon-release conditions.
er—the eight-wheel-drive Heavy Ex- an adaptation in 2017. Another version From ignition on, we can throttle the
panded Mobility Tactical Truck—that of the AHW glider, which is itself de- SRM or completely turn it of.”
serves as the mobile launch platform rived from the Sandia Winged Ener- A rocket motor of that size supports
for the Army’s exoatmospheric Termi- getic Reentry Vehicle, forms the basis the Army’s objectives for OpFires but
nal High-Altitude Area Defense inter- for the Air Force’s HCSW. Meanwhile, could have other military and com-
ceptor. But the heavier LVSR is now the Army and Navy intend to use a mercial applications, Mahaffy says,
operated exclusively by the Marine common booster for the hypersonic including space launch vehicles. c AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 31


Tempest Program Attracts

International Interest

Tony Osborne London

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fff fiffiffffff ffffiffififfffff fff fififff wffifi ffiff fif ffffiffff wfff ffff ffffvfff ffff fiffififff c AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 33


Switzerland’s Alpine Fighter

Assessments Begin



Tony Osborne London

n the coming weeks, some of the a new ground-based air defense sys-
West’s most advanced fighters tem, all from the same pot of money.
will deploy to Switzerland for How that will be split is yet to be
evaluations to help determine which determined, but OEMS have been re-
will be selected as the Alpine nation’s quested to provide pricing for feets of
future fighter. 30 and 40 aircraft.
Eleven years after the last round The fighters are being evaluated
of trials and fve years since the re- in alphabetical order, starting with
jection by referendum of the selected the Airbus-German government
aircraft, the Saab JAS-39E Gripen, Eurofghter, which arrived for its two-
manufacturers are vying to replace week trial at Payerne Air Base, near
the Swiss Air Force’s dual fleets of Geneva, on April 9. Next up will be the
Northrop F-5 Tigers and Boeing F/A- Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, due
18C/D Hornets with a single feet. to arrive in late April. The Dassault
And the need is urgent: Swiss of- Rafale, Lockheed Martin F-35 and f-
fcials are concerned that the Tigers nally Saab’s JAS-39E Gripen will fol- be dependent on company test pilots
could be easily outgunned by modern low in late June. and recordings of flight-test data.
opponents, and the Hornets, while R ay t h e o n’s Pa t r i o t a n d t h e Swiss test pilots will monitor from
still capable, need a life-extension Eurosam consortium’s SAMP-T sys- the rear seat of two-seat aircraft
upgrade to see them through to re- tem will be considered for the ground- where available.
tirement in around 2030. based element. Aircraft that do not show up for the
And the neutral land-locked nation Switzerland is one of a handful of evaluations are automatically disqual-
is taking its air defense more serious- nations that call for in-country eval- ifed from the competition.
ly than ever. At the beginning of this uations of future combat aircraft. Sweden’s Saab is optimistic about
year, the Swiss Air Force increased Finland is another, with Helsinki plan- its prospects, particularly as the
its readiness levels, putting armed ning a winter test in 2021. Gripen was selected previously, but
aircraft on standby for air policing The Swiss need, say officials, the aircraft is arguably the least ma-
duties for 16 hr. a day, 365 days a year. is driven by the country’s unique ture of the types taking part in the
The next step is to provide round-the- topography. Although simulation is evaluation. The Gripen E’s appear-
clock coverage at 15-min. readiness by now capable of answering many of ance in June will be the frst time the
the end of 2020. the questions asked by the Swiss cus- aircraft has left Sweden; it will be ac-
The changes are in response to tomer and has enabled the number of companied by C and D models.
criticism that the service was unable evaluation fights to be reduced from For the F-35, the deployment
to respond to the 2014 hijacking of around 20 in 2008 to just seven or marks the type’s first overseas
an Ethiopian airliner that landed in eight this year, ofcials still need to evaluation because most national
Geneva just before 6 a.m., 2 hr. be- understand how the aircraft’s sen- evaluations have been performed in
fore military personnel even arrived sors, notably the radar, will deal with the U.S. Four U.S. Air Force F-35As
for work. The escort of the airliner the cluttered Alpine environment. Of will make the transatlantic cross-
was left to the French and Italian air the seven or eight fights, two will be ing, heading to a U.S. air base in Eu-
forces, with which Switzerland has air technical, testing the sensors in the rope, probably Ramstein, Germany,
defense accords. Alpine environment, says Kaj-Gun- before making the short hop into
The embarrassing wake-up call nar Sievert, spokesman for the Swiss Switzerland. The company is hoping
highlighted a dangerous gap in the defense materiel agency, Armasuisse. to build on its recent European suc-
country’s air defense security, and Five of the fights will be represen- cesses; Lockheed notes that Swit-
one that its air force was simply not tative of operations performed by zerland already makes use of U.S.-
funded to fulfll. Swiss fghters such as quick-reaction built platforms, which means some
Such incidents have added credi- alert—scramble and intercept. equipment and weaponry could be
bility to the country’s 8 billion Swiss Because some of the aircraft, no- reused. Questions remain, however,
franc ($8 billion) Air 2030 plans to tably, the F-35 and Gripen E, are whether a nation that only uses its
purchase up to 40 fghter aircraft and only single-seat, data collection will fighters for air defense duties really


soon to be ordered by Germany as
Tranche 1 replacements, ftted with
the new active, electronically scanned
array radar.
Dassault is expected to ofer its F4
upgraded version of the Rafale, with

Switzerland’s Hornets are being

given a life extension to enable
them to operate until 2030.
However, the work is facing delays
due to problems with replacement
parts not ftting as expected.

Paris leaning on its recent purchase of

Pilatus PC-21 trainers and its close re-
lationship with the Swiss government
to get an edge.
Armasuisse will initially use the
data from the trials to confirm the
answers provided by the manufactur-
ers in the frst request for proposals
(RFP) issued last July. Later, it will
be used to make direct comparisons
in support of a second RFP planned
for 2020. A possible hurdle to this
TONY OSBORNE/AW&ST schedule is another referendum, also
needs the low-observable capabili- Airbus, working with the German planned for 2020. Rather than ask
ties offered by the fifth-generation government is using British Royal whether the government should buy
fighter. Air Force (RAF) aircraft for the tests a particular platform, the referendum
Being the incumbent could be valu- because the configuration of RAF will likely be more fundamental, of-
able for the Super Hornet’s chances Typhoons with the Phase 3 Enhance- cials say, such as asking if the country
in Switzerland. This year’s evalua- ments package is the closest opera- should modernize its air defenses.
tions will also mark the F/A-18E/F’s tional configuration to what Swit- With a green light, contracts would
debut, as Boeing pulled the aircraft zerland is being ofered. If selected, be signed after parliamentary approv-
from competition prior to the trials Swiss Eurofighters would be in the als in 2022, and deliveries would begin
in 2008. same configuration as the aircraft in 2025-30. c

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A Shakeup in U.S. Military Space communication and GPS satellites.

With the Air Force working to
speed development and acquisition,
> TENSION IS DEVELOPING BETWEEN THE U.S. AIR FORCE AND THE there is tension inside the Pentagon
SPACE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY about establishment of the Space De-
velopment Agency (SDA), because it
is looking at alternative architectures
for the very same missions. Fred
Jen DiMascio and Lee Hudson Colorado Springs Kennedy, the agency’s director, plans
to present the future space architec-

ow that space is becoming commercial industry presenting ever- ture to his bosses in September and
part of the national dialog, and more tantalizing solutions, the pres- hopes to have a capability on orbit in
American families are discuss- sure to tap into those innovations is 2022—faster than the SMC’s current
ing the fnal frontier around the din- growing. The service must get away modernization plans.
ner table, the Pentagon is requesting from a risk-averse culture focused on “The good news is they get it, and
its largest budget for space in recent large, exquisite high-dollar programs this is a priority inside the Pentagon,”
history, $14.1 billion, to establish a and pivot to more agile execution, says Kennedy says. “One way or the other,
new military service and an agency Space and Missile Systems Center it’s going to happen.”
to focus on a future architecture and (SMC) chief Lt. Gen. John Thompson. At the 35th Space Symposium
modernize a generation of spacecraft. “That sanctuary of space, that be- here, Kennedy unveiled a notional fu-
Pentagon officials have discussed nign environment, no longer exists,” ture space architecture that was in-
the importance of space before, but Thompson says. “The threats that we formed by eight gaps the U.S. is facing
the climate is diferent now. For the have to get after mandate that we go in national security space, targeting,
frst time, a president has called for faster and take our acquisition pro- advanced missile threats, an alterna-
a separate armed service focused on cesses and programs further.” tive to GPS and a battle management
space operations, commercial indus- One result of the reorganization system and creating a military Inter-
try has developed space technology at was the emergence of a space port- net of Things. He warns there may be
a more afordable price point, and the folio architect who focuses on enter- changes to the next-generation satel-
military is looking inward about how prise-wide mission and integration— lite constellation if his experiment is
to reorganize to purchase equipment within the SMC and throughout other successful.
at a rapid rate. national security organizations—as “This is early days, but I believe
The Air Force has spent the last the SMC begins to procure new gen- there will be a long conversation re-
year resetting to move faster, but with erations of missile-warning, strategic garding how the SDA, the Air Force,

Source: Space Development Agency


the other services and the intelligence options open, says Will Roper, assistant Check 6 Aviation Week editors discuss
community work together as a space secretary of the Air Force for acquisi- where there is friction and agreement
architecture,” Kennedy says. “At this tion, technology and logistics, fund- on the future direction of military space:
moment I can’t tell you what elements ing responsive launch, the defense of
of the Air Force architecture will be U.S. satellites in geosynchronous orbit
extant in 2030.” (GEO) and the potential for a proliferat- Roper says it is important for the
An industry official predicts the ed satellite constellation in LEO. U.S. to determine how it can beat
services may continue to hold the “We’ve done a lot of analysis of that laser, but the solution cannot
heart of the mission, because they diferent types of architectures and be too expensive because it would be
have that deep understanding, but constellations, and we believe we need impossible to distribute throughout
they will be able to leverage some of a mixture,” Roper says. “I think you the orbit.
the commercial industry items the would fnd it surprising if we said we Responsive launch is an important
SDA matures through demonstrations have found the silver bullet of space.” option because adversaries will not
such as Blackjack, which had been run Industry and government ofcials know what the U.S. has in its arsenal.
by the Air Force and DARPA. The say the U.S. should place its space- “You’ve got to have global space
services can then begin to use those craft in a mix of orbits—and not rely situational awareness to be able to
demonstrated commercial technolo- on just one. Satellites in LEO are detect,” Roper says. “It’s likely to be
gies for military missions. attractive because each one is less expensive, and that represents a vul-
Five or six years from now, if the expensive than a geostationary satel- nerability for us to exploit.”
proliferated low-Earth-orbit (LEO) lite. But there are downsides to using The U.S. has essentially turned
satellite constellation is successful, it them. To achieve high revisit rates, LEO into a time-critical targeting
would be appropriate to discuss the they would need to be purchased in challenge, which is difcult to counter
correct force mix because the Pen- bulk. And they can be vulnerable to and disruptive.
tagon cannot invest in everything, laser attacks. Even acting Defense Other studies have shown that a mix
Kennedy says. “I wouldn’t tell the Air Secretary Pat Shanahan told the of satellites in GEO and medium Earth
Force to stop planning,” he notes. symposium that China is developing orbits (MEO) may be more afordable,
For now, the nation needs to keep its just such a weapon. as they provide a geographic advantage


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Civil Construction AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 37


tagon’s Joint Requirements Over-

National Security Space Budget Request for Fiscal 2020 sight Council, says Bythewood.
AIR FORCE PROGRAMS (U.S. $ BILLIONS) Speeding up the acquisition pro-
cess did result in a change in how
Four National Security Space Launches $1.7
contractors operate: Moving faster
GPS III Satellite and Associated Projects 1.8 means prime contractors are spend-
Next-Generation Space-Based Overhead Persistent Infrared 1.6 ing money faster than usual.
“[Going fast] front-loads a lot of
the activities,” says Kay Sears, gen-
Land-Launched Conventional Prompt Strike, Extended-Range Weapons eral manager and vice president of
and a Study of Advanced Space-Based Sensors Lockheed Martin Space. Lockheed
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE is supporting two teams of payload
Establishment of U.S. Space Command, Space Force providers, and that competition is
0.3 driving innovation. “But they both
and Space Development Agency
need to spend money to meet their
Source: Defense Department time lines. And we’re at a stage when
they need to do some things like [put
without the need to buy large feets of Lockheed has chosen two payload together] engineering data units, buy
satellites. providers, Raytheon and a team of materials [and] staf their programs.”
Right now, the U.S. is buying satel- Northrop and Ball Aerospace. The The NextGen OPIR program is
lites separately for missile warning, program cleared its systems require- seeking congressional authority
strategic communication and posi- ments review in March and is expect- to transfer funds for fiscal 2019 to
tioning, navigation and timing. Pro- ed to clear its preliminary design re- budget for those initial activities
curement of the original U.S. constel- view in the next six months. That is and keep development on its go-fast
lations for those systems began more “18 months faster than a program of schedule for 2025 delivery. It will be
than two decades ago. But now that all similar size and complexity,” says Col. tough without congressional approv-
of those systems are in the process of Dennis Bythewood, director of the al, Sears says. “I wouldn’t say yet that
being modernized, there is a unique Air Force’s remote-sensing systems we can’t make it, but it will be a chal-
opportunity to capitalize on growth directorate. lenge,” she acknowledges. “We have
in private industry—both in terms of The program is operating under to recognize that if we are going to
modular manufacturing and in tech- requirements from U.S. Strategic go fast, we have to be willing to fund
nology that can be added to the pay- Command and validated by the Pen- it, and we can’t use historic program
load, says Kevin Bell, vice president spends to say, ‘This is how
for space program operations at The we are going to do it.’ It
Aerospace Corp. As the U.S. military considers doesn’t work like that.”
Space and Missile Command has is- buying a constellation of But this is for the initial
sued a request for information asking block of satellites. A future
industry to form a consortium of sat- potentially thousands of set may involve a diferent
ellite bus and payload-makers to de- small satellites, it will architecture of the type
velop a standard interface for a space- need access to being studied by the Air
craft bus and for auxiliary payloads, afordable space Force or the one being ex-
ground systems and communications launches. plored by the SDA.
payloads. The consortium should con- The purpose of the SDA,
sider how the Pentagon can afordably Kennedy says, is to stand up
acquire buses for multiple missions, an agency that has appropri-
including strategic satellite communi- ate authorities and can actu-
cations, missile warning and position- ally move at a rapid cadence
ing, navigation and timing, and asks it to get after the threat.
to chart an acquisition path. “I can’t point to anybody
Essentially, this will look at how in- out there that responds in
dustry can build enough production a timely fashion to these
capacity for it to sustainably build and kinds of threats,” he says.
upgrade payloads and platforms. T h e U. S . h a s p e e r
The Air Force is already moving competitors coming for-
forward with the next generation of ward with multiple direct
missile-warning satellites, having threats to space assets, he
put on contract the Next-Generation points out.
Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next- “A distinguishing fea-
Gen OPIR) program last year. Lock- ture of this agency is that
heed Martin is building three geo- I am not bound by [the
stationary spacecraft, and Northrop Joint Capabilities and Inte-
Grumman is designing two polar-or- gration and Development
biting satellites. System],” Kennedy says. c



Positive Reaction didn’t have control over before, which

is the inlet condition—not just the tem-
perature,” says Reaction Engines Presi-
dent Adam Dissel. The test result, which
> REACTION ENGINES PRE-COOLER PASSES MACH 3.3 TEST saw gas temperatures reduced from
more than 800F (426C)to just above the
> FOLLOW-ON TESTS PLANNED FOR MACH 4.2 AND MACH 5 boiling point (212F), boosts Reaction’s
confidence that follow-on tests with the
Guy Norris Watkins, Colorado, and Culham, England J79 operating in full afterburner will see
more dramatic reductions.

t has been decades in the making, but the inlet of high-speed turbojets for With the J79 operating at full power,
finally, on March 25 in rural Colora- hypersonic vehicles and, ultimately, the pre-cooler is expected to chill the
do, Reaction Engines achieved what will form the basis for the company’s mass flow from over 1,800F at inlet
could be a pivotal moment in the ad- Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket En- speeds representative of over Mach 5,
vancement of air-breathing, high-speed gine (Sabre) for low-cost repeatable to approaching 200F in less than 1/20th
propulsion when its pre-cooler tech- access to space. In this role, the engine of a sec. The higher-temperature test
nology was successfully tested at con- is designed to efciently extract oxygen will stress not only the thermal ex-
ditions representative of over Mach 3. for rocket combustion from the atmo- pansion capabilities of the test rig but
The breakthrough test—conducted sphere. In the fully integrated Sabre, also each tube in the HTX, which are
at the company’s newly opened TF2 the chilled air will be passed from the joined to an inlet and outlet manifold,
test facility at Colorado Air and Space HTX to a turbo-compressor and into thus allowing helium coolant to be cy-
Port near Watkins—comes 30 years the rocket thrust chamber where it cled through.
after Reaction Engines was quietly will be burned with sub-cooled liquid “This is the first test ever of our
formed in the UK around an innovative hydrogen fuel. pre-cooler at highly elevated tempera-
engine-cycle concept to enable access Now, after years of subscale devel- tures, and the performance looks to be
to space and hypersonic air-breathing opment including the first runs of an right in line with predictions, and the
flight from a standing start. operational pre-cooler in 2012, the data quality exceeded expectations,”
The lightweight heat exchanger company’s first large-scale pre-cooler says Dissel. The evaluation was par-
(HTX) forms one of the main building test unit has demonstrated the ability ticularly significant for an operation-
blocks of the company’s novel operat- to rapidly chill incoming heated air ally representative system because it
ing cycle and is designed to significant- generated by a donor General Electric “featured a temperature ramp profile
ly reduce compressor delivery tem- J79 jet engine operating at full military analogous to the flight conditions that
perature (T3). This delays the onset of power. Tests of the pre-cooler, which would be experienced from takeoff
the T3 limit to a higher Mach number, is made from 16,800 thin-walled tubes and acceleration up to a flight speed of
maintaining sea-level conditions in to provide high surface area with low Mach 3.3, the cruise speed of a Lock-
front of the compressor over a very weight, are being conducted under a heed SR-71 Blackbird,” he adds.
wide range of speeds, thus maximizing 2017 DARPA research contract. Sized to match the mass-flow require-
net thrust even at high speeds. “We are adding a dial to the whole ments of a potential flight-test demon-
The HTX is designed to chill air in engine-optimization equation that you strator engine, the HTX run also was


Heated air mass from the GE J79

under the cover (left) is conditioned by the plenum
(center) before being ducted to the pre-cooler in the building. AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 39


the first chance to wring out the TF2 fa-

cility. “All the various facility and ground
support systems performed well during
their first fully integrated test setup; this
was a great accomplishment, as several
systems could not be fully checked out
until they were actually operated at high
temperature,” says Dissel.
The March 25 evaluation, which also
marked the first high-temperature test
at the Colorado site, will be followed in
coming months by tests at Mach 4.2
and Mach 5. The exact timing will de-
pend on the outcome of test-rig condi-
tioning for runs with the engine in full
afterburner. “The last thing we want to
do is put an unknown condition into the that could safely do that in any areas aerospace, automotive and industrial
pre-cooler,” says Dan Larson, Reaction we could safely test. So this is a very applications. These range from boost-
Engines engineering project manager. prized capability, and a lot of invest- ing turbojet and turbofan performance
The connections and piping in the test ment has gone into it from the UK and to increasing power-station efciency
setup experience thermal expansion of the U.S., both private and public,” com- and enhancing racing car engines.
several inches during powered runs and ments Thomas. “We have an eye on what might
may show even greater movement at “We are stepping through the test come downstream of this work, and
higher thrust settings, he explains. campaign in a progressive manner. there is potential to combine our
pre-cooler with a conventional gas
The pre-cooler test unit, visible in the center of the image, turbine,” says Thomas. “This could
contains 16,800 thin-walled tubes. enable faster jet engines, and we
have designed it with that in mind.”
The pre-cooler could enhance the
performance of turbojets, Reaction
says, as well as provide elements of an
advanced thermal management sys-
tem for future more electric aircraft
or next-generation combat platforms
with adaptive-propulsion and direct-
ed-energy weapons systems.
“If this heat-exchanger technol-
ogy is heading into the territory of
ultra-lightweight, high-performance,
minimum-pressure drops and lower
drag, and the form factor is adaptive,
then it becomes attractive in an aero
The fully instrumented pre-cooler is Phase 1 went to the ultimate conditions engine context for arguably the first
“assembled in a manner so that we can we could get to in maximum military time. That means we have to look at
deeply analyze the behavior of that unit [dry] power, and Phase 2 takes us into that as a serious opportunity,” says
when it is subjected to hypersonic en- afterburning temperature levels,” he Thomas. “We are actively engaged with
thalpies,” says Reaction Engines CEO says. The Colorado facility is designed industry on that topic.” .
Mark Thomas. “We will be progressive- to test to Mach 5-equivalent tempera- To bolster its search for commercial
ly building up to those extreme test lev- tures. “That suits the immediate need applications, Reaction has brought in
els. The TF2 is capable of running full and the proof-of-concept. If we want expertise from the Red Bull Racing
simulated missions for the pre-cooler to go beyond, the facility is versatile, Formula One racing team advanced
so we can run it efectively in tempera- and there are things we can do,” says technology group to lead that initiative.
ture terms from the ground to ultimate Thomas. The TF2 is intended to be According to Thomas, it is on course to
flight conditions and back again over a used for other propulsion and hyper- find early applications for miniaturized
sustained period of time,” he adds. sonic test work in the future, he adds. versions of the pre-cooler in high-end
The facility uses a complex heli- The recent test result is also positive automotive applications and in the
um circulator and control systems news for the company’s plans to devel- energy sector.
to deliver the appropriate conditions op nearer-term commercial opportuni- “On the aerospace side, we see other
during the simulated flight cycle. ties from the highly scalable pre-cooler. potential applications in the similar ter-
“That’s a unique capability, when you Through a newly established applied ritory of thermal management. That’s a
think about that volume of hot gas technologies business arm, Reaction is big challenge and so will require more
being transferred for that duration. studying various additional uses for the novel solutions,” says Thomas. He notes
We are not aware of any other facility heat exchanger across a broad swath of that the emerging needs of civil super-


Heated air enters the test unit from ment of the design of the Sabre demon-
the plenum (left) and exits through strator core conducted by Reaction in
an outlet (right). collaboration with the UK Space Agen-
cy and European Space Agency. The
showing growing interest in the Sabre preliminary design review clears the
concept and the pre-cooler technology way for a follow-on critical design re-
at its core. Reaction Engines has raised view and the subsequent development
over £100 million ($130 million) in the and test of the core at Reaction’s new-
last three years from public and private ly built facility in Westcott, England,
sources. In addition to the UK govern- planned for 2020.
ment, which announced a £60 million The demonstrator core will consist
commitment in 2013 to assist with the of an axial air compressor driven by a
demonstrator engines, BAE Systems closed-cycle helium loop, with a liquid
made a strategic investment in 2015, hydrogen heat-rejection system. Reac-
while a further £26.5 million was raised tion, which is building up the test infra-
in 2018 from other investors, including structure at the Westcott site through
sonics and hybrid-electric propulsion Rolls-Royce and Boeing’s venture capi- the remainder of this year, says the core
as two potential markets. “In terms of tal arm, HorizonX. will be fully representative of the Sabre
hybrid-electric, I think we really have But for now, “it’s fair to say all eyes thermodynamic core cycle. Fueled by
something to ofer there. The heat ex- are on the prize, and the results we liquid hydrogen, the unit will incorpo-
changer is a very relevant technology achieve in this test campaign,” under- rate heat exchangers, combustion and
for that application. We have the great scores Thomas. “We are that close to it turbomachinery modules. A site for
beneft now of being backed by BAE now that people, in both industry and testing the fnal full-up demonstrator
Systems, Rolls-Royce and Boeing, and government agencies, are watching engine has yet to be determined. c
they have a lot of things on their plates this closely. This is all great because it
that we can talk to them about.” is exactly where we want to be.” Digital Extra Read more about Reaction
Thomas notes that the three aero- Test progress in Colorado comes on Engines’ purpose-built TF1 test site:
space giants are among several groups the heels of a recent positive assess-




oin Apollo astronauts Walt Cunningham, Charlie Duke and

Al Worden, along with government, military and industry
leaders in the USA Partnership Pavilion to honor the past and
inspire the future of flight! Visit and
sign up for “Mission Mail” updates to track the program from
launch to landing at Le Bourget, June 17-23, 2019.

+1 201.251.2600

UNMANNED AVIATION > Inside the U.S. drone integration program p. 45


Eric Tegler Washington

ix months ago, few outside the defense community in the UK and U.S. under-
stood what the words “counter-unmanned aircraft systems” meant. But a
succession of reported drone incursions at London’s Gatwick and Heathrow
airports and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, which also
serves New York City, changed that. Now the need to protect airports and other infra-
structure from rogue unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) seems obvious. So, too, does
a market for commercial counter-UAS (CUAS).



So far, however, there is no such feel empowered to acquire and use
market. In the U.S. and many other them,” he says.
countries, shooting down, disabling He adds that a July 2018 CUAS
or taking control of drones is illegal. guidance letter from the FAA’s Ofce
There is no liability framework for such of Airport Safety and Standards sug-
operations, no broadly reliable way to gests even drone detection is a shaky
detect and identify drones and drone near-term prospect, likely explaining
users, and the U.S. has yet to figure airports’ reluctance to comment. It re-
out exactly who will have authority to peated an admonishment from an ear-
execute CUAS operations. lier letter from 2016: “It is important
Potential CUAS buyers lack informa- that federally obligated airports under-
tion and viable solutions. There is no stand that the FAA has not authorized
CUAS certification regime and thus any UAS detection or countermeasure
no standard against which to measure assessments at any airports other than
the relative performance of the systems those participating in the FAA’s UAS
now ofered. Despite a crowd of com- detection program . . . and airports
panies promoting potential products, allowing such evaluations could be in
there are few providers globally with violation of their grant assurances.”
systems ready to feld. And outside spo- The 2018 follow-up urged further
radic battlefeld experience, CUAS sys- caution based on the agency’s own
tems have no real-world track record. counter-drone study, stating: “The low
From jamming and cybermanipula- technical readiness of [CUAS] systems,
tion to kinetics and even drone-captur- combined with a multitude of other fac-
ing nets, the handful of active counter- tors, such as geography, interference,
measures now marketed all present location of majority of reported UAS
potential negative side efects. Ironical- sightings, and cost of deployment and
ly, the mitigation portion of the CUAS operation, demonstrate this technology
puzzle requires its own mitigation. is not ready for use in domestic civil
“What this really is,” says Mark airport environments.”
McKinnon, an attorney with Washing- Among the letter’s assessments was
ton-based LeClairRyan, “is a chicken- that airport environments have numer-
and-egg situation. But you need the ous sources of potential radio-frequen-
chicken and the egg at the same time.” cy interference—“more than anticipat-
Airports are not the only land us- ed.” Their dense environments made
ers concerned about drones. Utilities, drone detection difcult “and, in some
telecommunication providers, prisons, instances, not possible.”
sports stadiums and even entire cities A range of challenges was enumerat-
warily eye their threat potential. How- ed: a high level of manpower required
ever, the safety implications of what to operate equipment and discern false
airports do should put them at the fore- positives, large numbers of sensors
front of counter-UAS advocacy. Or so needed to achieve required coverage,
you would think. communication/navigation interfer-
Aviation Week contacted the admin- ence, the deployment of CUAS assets
istration at Hartsfeld-Jackson Atlan- in an environment owned by many
ta International, the world’s busiest entities, prohibitive costs and rapid
airport. The airport’s brief emailed technological obsolescence.
response to a query about CUAS was The FAA will gather more informa-
that we would have to talk to the FAA. tion this year, deploying CUAS systems
For Christopher Oswald, senior vice at five airports to evaluate potential
president for safety and regulatory aviation safety risks and efcacy. An
Lack of a legal framework for afairs at the Airports Council Inter- aviation rule-making committee is also
national-North America (ACI-NA), being established to make recommen-
countering drones is holding Hartsfeld-Jackson’s response is not a dations for CUAS standards.
back commercial applications. complete surprise. The challenges articulated largely
“Airports face signifcant hurdles in leave aside broader legal questions that
getting authorization to use [CUAS] must be answered before a meaningful
systems. There isn’t a legal framework counter-UAS market can develop. Com-
in which U.S. airport operators would mon approaches to detecting and miti- AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 43


gating unwanted UAS run afoul of the difference between two

the Communications Act of 1934, guys with an idea and an es-
the U.S. Criminal Code and Feder- tablished company,” he says.
al Communications Commission Among mitigation ap-
and FAA regulations. proaches, “smart” jamming
For example, the Communi- seems to hold the most po-
cations Act requires that radio tential, says Grant Jordan,
transmitters including jammers CEO of SkySafe, a San
be licensed. No CUAS jamming Diego-based company that
system has been licensed, nor has Developed for has tested ATV-mounted
a licensing mechanism been es- the military, the detection/jamming systems
tablished. Willfully destroying or with the U.S. Naval Special
Anti-UAV Defense
disabling an aircraft is prohibited Warfare Command. “From
by the Criminal Code, as is inten- System has been our perspective, [radio-fre-
tional interference with satellite deployed at quency] solutions get you
communications. “The FAA can’t UK airports to 90% of the way there. They’re
rewrite those laws,” Oswald ob- detect drones. the best, most scalable solu-

serves. “Congress has to rewrite tions in the greatest number
them and recognize what would of real-world situations. But
be lawful activity in a drone era.” there will always be situa-
With passage of the 2018 FAA tions in which a kinetic sys-
Reauthorization Act, Congress has re- battlefeld is difcult for even the mili- tem is required,” he says.
written some of those laws, giving the tary to assess. Anecdotal reporting from the battle-
Department of Homeland Security and Vendors thus face the prospect of feld suggests that kinetics (i.e., shoot-
Justice Department the right to “dis- selling detection and mitigation sys- ing down drones) is the only truly ef-
rupt,” “exercise control” of or “seize or tems without real-world examples of fective countermeasure. The Pentagon
otherwise confscate” drones deemed their efficacy. It is a thorny problem declines to confrm this, citing classif-
a “credible threat” without a warrant. for CUAS manufacturers and po- cation concerns and limited real-world
The provisions will likely face legal tential customers, says Oleg Vornik, metrics. Kinetic mitigation obviously
challenges, and they do little to clarify the CEO of DroneShield, a U.S.- and creates signifcant safety and liability
the commercial market for CUAS pro- Australia-based company providing concerns in a civilian environment.
viders, McKinnon says. multisensor fixed/mobile drone de- Other approaches such as geofencing
“It’s really tricky because the provi- tection and jamming, which it says it are less than optimal as well.
sions are generally limited to operation operates in 50 countries. Actually taking control of rogue
by the federal government itself. This Vornik describes a global sales mod- drones comes with a high degree of
would not give [CUAS companies] el in which airports run controlled tri- difculty, he says. “We don’t love tak-
broader authority to market the same als of prospective CUAS systems, in- ing control of the drone because it’s
technology to state or local govern- stalling them for a few weeks at a time, so dependent on exploring vulnerabil-
ments or individuals,” he says. operating them and assessing perfor- ities of the underlying protocol. You’re
The new grants also imply a strictly mance. The idea is contingent upon basically hacking into an encrypted
federal approach to CUAS for the time drones entering the relevant airspace, connection. You’re fghting against the
being. Airports themselves difer on as- something airport operators would tide,” Vornik says. It is a perpetual cy-
suming drone-detection and mitigation have to arrange themselves unless the bercat-and-mouse game, which he says
responsibility, Oswald reports. Smaller CUAS provider ofers to fy drones in. leads to a 50-50 chance of defeating a
operators tend to see local enforcement The latter is like having a car salesman drone. And if a CUAS system assumes
authorities (with proper resources) as test-drive the car for you, however. fight control of a UAV, it also poten-
better equipped to undertake CUAS. “This is a nascent technology, and tially assumes liability for the aircraft.
Larger airports, which have already there’s no perfect answer,” says Vornik. “No system is a silver bullet,”
taken on anti-terror responsibility, may “We would love to have a mandated set ACI-NA’s Oswald agrees. Layered de-
see CUAS as a logical extension of their of requirements [against which com- tection/mitigation solutions may be the
own capabilities. peting systems are measured] and then only guarantor of sufcient success, an
“They’ve had to be prepared to ad- airports or others choose from those expensive proposition.
dress those situations,” Oswald afrms. [companies] that are certified. That So what is an airport to do? Plan.
“I think there’s also a reality check on doesn’t exist, but doing something is “Beefing up and enhancing UAS
what level of federal resources there better than doing nothing.” contingency planning is ongoing, es-
would be to respond in a tactical sense He estimates there are only about pecially since Gatwick,” says Oswald.
[to drone incursions].” six CUAS providers capable of felding “Even small airports are looking at
There has been no official confir- potentially efective systems. “If you do drone contingency plans and tabletop
mation of actual detection of UAVs at a Google search, sure, you get a couple exercises.”
Gatwick, or Heathrow or at Newark or hundred frms that pop up, pretending Airport operators hope the FAA
elsewhere in the U.S. Drone incursions they’re in the counter-drone space. But CUAS test sites can help produce both
have not drawn attention at other U.S. customers tend to be quite savvy, espe- chickens and eggs, so that a true com-
civilian facilities, and success on the cially in the airport sector, and can tell mercial CUAS market can emerge. c


U.S. Program
Works Toward
Integrating Wing and the Virginia Tech MAAP delivered
popsicles and ice cream to neighbors of
Small Drones the university-owned Kentland Farms test
site in August 2018.


Bill Carey Blacksburg, Virginia

he program U.S. Transportation
Secretary Elaine Chao leads to
introduce small commercial
drones regularly into the airspace
system already has some notable
Since Chao named 10 industry-gov-
ernment-university collaborations to
participate in the Unmanned Aircraft
Systems Integration Pilot Program
(UAS IPP) in May 2018, at least three Wing’s Hummingbird 7000 hybrid drone is designed to deliver small
of the partnerships have announced packages, which are carried in a cardboard container and lowered by tether
major developments. The Trump to the ground, where a latching mechanism releases them.
administration initiative aims to ac-
celerate both entry into the airspace beginning of numerous planned daily In January, insurance provider State
and commercialization of drones at revenue flights,” said the IPP partners: Farm said it obtained a long-term FAA
the state and local levels, providing a UPS, Matternet, WakeMed, the FAA waiver to operate drones BVLOS and
push to the slow-moving FAA regula- and the North Carolina Department over people, also restricted by the FAA,
tory process. of Transportation. for damage-assessment flights nation-
On March 26, UPS and drone- Earlier, on March 8, delivery system wide after natural disasters.
delivery system developer Matternet developer Flirtey said it received FAA State Farm achieved the milestone
launched a new service using approval to conduct drone flights be- through an IPP partnership led by
Matternet’s M2 quadcopter to deliv- yond visual line of sight (BVLOS) of the the Virginia Innovation and Entrepre-
er blood and other medical samples operator, which the FAA allows only by neurship Investment Authority and
weighing up to 5 lb. from the main waiver, through an IPP project with the the Center for Innovative Technolo-
hospital of WakeMed Health and Hos- city of Reno, Nevada. Flirtey plans to gy (CIT), an economic development
pitals campus in Raleigh, North Car- use multirotor drones to deliver auto- corporation that supports technology
olina, to a nearby medical ofce park. mated external defibrillators to cardiac startups in the state. But the company
The first operational flight marked “the arrest victims, as well as packages. had been working with the Mid-At- AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 45


lantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) Road, a transportation research facil- er, beyond line of sight, over people,
at Virginia Tech for nearly two years ity, in September 2016 and delivered with multiple aircraft—that’s what
before receiving the FAA waiver. popsicles and ice cream to neighbors of people are coming to us for now.”
The MAAP manages day-to-day the university-owned Kentland Farms Test site directors now hold month-
operations of the IPP program in Vir- test site in August 2018 under the IPP. ly calls with participation by John
ginia for the CIT. The test site opera- Among the customers were Blanks’ Reinhardt, the FAA’s external part-
tion dates to December 2013, when the three children. “They came to expect nership program lead. The sites have
FAA selected six lead organizations to this, that every afternoon a drone was a standard certifcate of authorization
manage UAS test sites nationwide. going to show up and deliver a popsicle (COA) from the agency that allows
(New Mexico State University at Las and ice cream,” he muses. them to fly small UAS to 1,200 ft. in
Cruces had operated an FAA-recog- A large photo of an earlier version Class G uncontrolled airspace; spe-
nized UAS test site since 2008.) Two of Wing’s Hummingbird 7000 hybrid cifc operations from airports require
other FAA-designated test sites from drone overlooks the MAAP’s offices. separate COAs.
that class, led by the University of The 15-lb. vehicle has 12 electric lift The MAAP has a COA that covers
Alaska-Fairbanks and the North Da- motors spaced on two rails for vertical airspace up to 7,000 ft. in central Vir-
kota Department of Commerce, are fight and two propulsion motors on its ginia and includes several airports.
also participating in IPP partnerships. 5-ft. wingspan to fy horizontally. It hov- The permission allows it to test larger
Neither the test site nor any IPP pro- ers at 21 ft. and lowers small packages unmanned aircraft such as Textron
grams are supported by federal fund- by tether to the ground, where a latch Systems’ 75-lb., catapult-launched
ing, although Congress recently appro- mechanism releases them. Aerosonde Mk. 4.7, which it has fown
priated $6 million to support company “Our test site jump-started the IPP from Blackstone Army Airfeld.
research at the test sites, money that because all of the projects that we’re
does not go directly to the facilities, doing under IPP we were already doing
says MAAP Director Mark Blanks. as a test site,” says Blanks. “But the IPP
Created by Congress in the FAA brings prioritization on the FAA side,
Modernization and Reform Act of so they’re accelerated. IPP takes it to
2012, the test site program originally a whole other level,” he adds.
was scheduled to expire in 2017 but was After previously serving as UAS
later extended for two years. The FAA program manager at Kansas State
reauthorization legislation that Pres- University’s Applied Aviation Research
ident Donald Trump signed into law Center, Blanks was named as Virgin-
last October continues the program ia associate director of the MAAP in
through September 2023. Plans call for August 2015. He became director in
the IPP efort to end in October 2020. July 2016 when it became solely a Vir-
Based at Virginia Tech, a land-grant ginia entity.
research university in Blacksburg, the Former AAI Textron executive Rose
MAAP is pursuing three projects un- Mooney led the MAAP in its early days,
der the IPP. It is working with State when the state-supported test sites
Farm on damage-assessment oper- struggled for relevance with uncer-
ations, with Wing, a subsidiary of tain missions. “When I first started,
Google parent company Alphabet, on I asked all the test site directors at a
commercial package delivery and with panel presentation in a public forum to
Richmond, Virginia-based Dominion give me a 30-min. spiel on what their
Energy to apply drones for “linear in- value proposition was,” Blanks recalls.
frastructure inspection” of transmis- “The frst test site director said, ‘I’m
sion lines and towers. not sure what that is. We haven’t fg-
Progress made with those compa- ured that out yet.’ That was the frst
nies as an FAA test site underpins the week I started here.”
organization’s work for the IPP, says The FAA’s Part 107 regulation gov-
Blanks. State Farm is one example. The erning the commercial operation of
safety case the MAAP prepared for the small UAS weighing less than 55 lb., After testing by the MAAP, State Farm
company helped it obtain short-term which became efective in late August
waivers to operate the 1.52-lb. SenseFly 2016 after a decade of preparation in January announced a long-term FAA
eBee Classic fying wing BVLOS and within the agency, helped the test sites, waiver to operate the SenseFly eBee
over people after Hurricane Florence Blanks says. Classic, which comes ftted with an
in the Carolinas and Hurricane Michael “Our value proposition was based caption
RGB 9.5/12
camera andBenton
modem,Sans Cd rag-
for damage-
in Florida in 2018. The FAA approved on demand—people were coming to ged right fushed
assessment fights. left
the submission that led to the long- us wanting to do everything else they
term, nationwide waiver announced couldn’t do [with drones],” he says.
in January in a day’s time, says Blanks. “When Part 107 was released, it accel-
Wing and the MAAP ferried Chipotle erated the industry and, for us, was a
burritos by drone along the Virginia huge beneft. With that, we are able to
Tech Transportation Institute’s Smart focus on harder problems: fying high-


Situated within the university’s Insti- for companies seeking waivers and ap- were for operations and certain air-
tute for Critical Technology and Applied provals from the FAA to fy drones to space; 2% were for the simultaneous
Science, the MAAP has been self-sus- higher altitudes than normally allowed, operation of multiple drones.
taining for the past couple of years, BVLOS, over people, using multiple air- Despite the waiver process, most op-
says Blanks, who declined to disclose craft or for air carrier operations. The erators actually are fying “extended”
its budget. It had 12 full-time employees process starts by defning a concept of visual line of sight rather than BVLOS
during Aviation Week’s visit in March operations, assessing risk and identify- flights, according to Blanks. “They
and planned to hire eight more people. ing mitigations. The site then collects can fly beyond line of sight, but only
Among its major funders is NASA, data by testing—only about a quarter to a certain range, only as far as they
which is supporting work the MAAP, of the work it does, Blanks says. can see the airspace visually, which is
Gryphon Sensors and other partners Using the FAA’s Order 8040.4B Safe- what all the BVLOS approvals are right
are conducting using ground-based ty Risk Management Policy as guid- now,” he says.
radar to help drones detect and avoid ance, the site completes safety cases “What we’re using is visual detection
other air trafc, a capability they must when all risk mitigations are verifed for beyond line of sight. Our range is
have to fly BVLOS. Researchers are with data. The presentation made to limited still, but it’s much farther than
testing airborne detect-and-avoid ca- the FAA includes the concept of oper- Part 107 will get you. That is the case
pability for NASA using a thin, hand- ations, testing data, end-to-end system for 99% of all the BVLOS approvals
size Echodyne EchoFlight metamate- analysis and level or risk summary. right now,” says Blanks.
rial electronically scanned array radar “This is our core value to industry. Exceptions include BNSF Railway,
ftted to a Titan X8 multirotor drone. The Boeings of the world can do a lot of which obtained the frst waiver to fy
The test site develops safety cases the engineering and development, and drones BVLOS for track inspections
they can build those safety cases them- the day Part 107 took efect. A year ear-
selves. But you take a nontraditional lier, the FAA had selected the freight
aviation company, they don’t have that rail carrier to participate in a “Path-
expertise, the facilities, all those pieces fnder” drone research efort.
of the puzzle,” Blanks says. During testing along a 200-mi. sec-
“Our customer set now is not so tion of track in BNSF’s Clovis, New
much the traditional [aviation] primes; Mexico, subdivision, the rail company
it’s the enterprise companies that are controlled aircraft using the Collins
trying to use this technology,” he says. Aerospace CNPC-1000 data link,
The MAAP’s main fight-test facil- which operates within the L-band avi-
ity is Kentland Farms, an 1,800-acre ation spectrum. Harris Corp. supplied
property with a small, 300-ft. runway portable automatic dependent surveil-
for vertical-takeof-and-landing opera- lance-broadcast “Xtend” receivers to
tions, located 9 mi. from the university. track drones at low altitudes.
Other facilities include Gryphon’s mul- Last October, Avitas Systems, a GE
tisensor Skylight system for detecting Ventures company based in Boston,
and tracking drones and a trailer-based announced FAA approval to fy a Va-
mobile operations center. It manages por 55 conventional helicopter drone
a football-feld-size, netted drone park weighing more than 55 lb. for extend-
that Virginia Tech ofcially opened in ed-range BVLOS operations without
April 2018, an enclosure that allows a visual observer, using ground-based
students and faculty to fy drones with- radar supplied by DeTect Intelligent
out the need for FAA authorization. Sensors for an equivalent level of safe-
The test site collaborates with the ty. Avitas says it worked closely on the
Center for Injury Biomechanics at the use case with Shell Oil Co., which wants
university on researching injury risk to use drones for aerial inspection of oil
to humans from low-fying drones. At and gas infrastructure in west Texas in
an impact lab on the campus, small the Permian Basin, one of the world’s
drones are propelled by pneumatic top-producing oil felds.
energy down a rail at up to 80 mph, In April 2018, Xcel Energy of Min-
then stopped short of the rail end to neapolis obtained an FAA waiver to
sail by free-fight into an instrumented operate the 35-lb. Altus ORC2 un-
crash dummy. manned helicopter BVLOS to inspect
As of early April, the FAA had issued transmission lines within a designated
2,547 waivers to Part 107 requirements area 20 mi. north of Denver Interna-
dating to the efective date of the regu- tional Airport.
lation in August 2016. An Association The ability to conduct flights over
for Unmanned Vehicle Systems Inter- people, as well as BVLOS, will help fa-
national analysis of the 1,960 waivers cilitate the types of commercial opera-
issued two years after the rule’s release tions the MAAP and other IPP partici-
found that 92% authorized drone oper- pants are developing, but regular fights
ations at night. Five percent of waivers over people await regulatory guidance.


In February, the FAA published a no- as severe as being struck by a rigid it will not allow routine drone fights
tice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) object moving at 25 ft.-lb. of kinetic over people and at night until it com-
to amend Part 107 to allow operations energy. It could not have exposed ro- pletes a separate rulemaking process
of small unmanned aircraft over people tating parts or operate over people on remote identifcation and tracking
under certain conditions and at night with safety defects. of drones.
without requiring a waiver. For night Operational limitations would pro- “Because of the importance of this
flights, the agency proposes that re- hibit fights over any open-air assem- particular issue, the FAA plans to f-
mote pilots complete knowledge test- bly of people and keep the aircraft nalize its policy concerning remote
ing, which includes new subject matter within a closed or restricted-access identifcation of small UAS—by way of
related to night operations, and ft their site. If the operation is not within a rulemaking, standards development or
aircraft with an anti-collision light visi-
ble for at least 3 mi. Under a NASA project, the MAAP is testing the Echodyne EchoFlight MESA
The agency recommends three radar, the small white panel ftted to the front of this Titan X8 multirotor
categories of operations over people drone, for airborne detect-and-avoid capability.
based on the risk of injury presented.

Category 1 applies to drones weighing
less than 0.55 lb. Because they pose a
low risk of injury, remote pilots would
be able to fy them over people, subject
to Part 107 requirements, but without
additional restrictions.
Cat. 2 applies to drones weighing
more than 0.55 lb., with added per-
formance-based requirements. The
aircraft must be designed so that if it

other activities that other federal agen-

cies may propose—prior to fnalizing
the proposed changes in this rule that
would permit operations of small UAS
over people and operations at night,”
the agency states in the NPRM.
Blanks notes that the FAA’s ap-
proach to allowing drone fights over
people uses as a metric the injury risk
posed by a rigid object with a certain
Working with Shell Oil, Avitas Systems received FAA approval to fy the Vapor kinetic energy value striking some-
55 BVLOS using a ground-based radar in place of a visual observer. one—a scenario the MAAP is testing in
its impact lab with blocks of wood. But
strikes a person, it will not cause an closed site, the drone may transit, but the “jury is still out on the numbers” in
injury as severe as being struck by a not hover, over people. terms of kinetic energy values, he adds.
rigid object moving at 11 ft.-lb. of kinetic Simultaneously with the flights- The test site also takes issue with the
energy. It cannot have exposed rotating over-people NPRM, the FAA pub- FAA’s prohibition against operating
parts that could lacerate human skin. lished an advance notice seeking drones over moving vehicles, which it
An FAA-identifed safety defect such public comment on “safe and secure believes can be done safely.
as exposed wires, hot surfaces, sharp operations” of drones, a response Until the regulatory landscape be-
edges, faulty construction or corrupted to concerns by the Defense, Energy, comes clearer, the march toward inte-
software would disqualify the aircraft Homeland Security and Justice de- grating drones into the airspace sys-
from being operated over people. partments over the threat of malicious tem continues. “Under IPP the plan is
Cat. 3 allows for a higher injury use of drones over large public gather- not to be doing demonstrations,” says
threshold than Cat. 2 but reduces ings or critical infrastructure. Blanks. “The plan is for true, commer-
the risk of injury through operation- Comments to both notices were due cial, deployed operations. We’re work-
al limitations. If it strikes a person, April 15. In both, the agency emphasiz- ing toward broad-scale commercial
the aircraft will not cause an injury es that due to security considerations, deployments.” c







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FLYING THE KC-390 > Embraer focuses on military certification p. 55




Tim Wuerfel Sao Jose dos Campos and Gaviao Peixoto, Brazil

hen the Brazilian Air Force began talks with
Embraer about replacing its aging airlifters more
than 10 years ago, the initial idea was to build a
high-wing version of the E190 regional jet. But
option. In normal law, the sidestick
it quickly became clear that given the scope of the mission commands pitch rate until the landing
requirements and the ambitions of the manufacturer, only a gear is selected up, after which gam-
clean-sheet design would do. ma-dot and pitch-rate command is ap-
plied. Gamma-dot is the rate of change
The objective was to create a fast After an introduction to the KC- of the flightpath angle. In backup mode,
and flexible multimission, midsize 390’s flight controls in the engineering it is a direct stick-to-surface command.
tanker and transport aircraft using ad- simulator at Embraer’s headquarters Embraer has defined a complex
vanced but proven technology. When I in Sao Jose dos Campos, we moved flight envelope to meet the various
first saw the KC-390 about a year ago, to Gaviao Peixoto to fly aircraft No. 3, requirements using FBW, changing
in a hangar at Embraer’s Gaviao Peixo- registered PT-ZNG, which had origi- laws for specific missions and allow-
to facility in Brazil, I was struck by its nally been earmarked as the first for ing varying G-loads, depending on
appearance, most notably its turbofan delivery to the air force but has been the task and factors such as aircraft
engines mounted far forward on an an- redirected to complete certification. weight. Military certification will
hedral wing. Flying the aircraft only Before the flight, I was guided allow load factors up to 3g. To use the
reinforces the impression of strength. through the handling of the aircraft basic changes in capability, there is a
Aviation Week was welcomed back in the simulator by Embraer test pi- master mode switch on the overhead
to Brazil in late March by Walter lot William Souza. Embraer has made panel with the positions Main, Max
Pinto, Jr., KC-390 program director, steady progress with its fly-by-wire Effort, Tactical Nav, Airdrop, SAR
to evaluate the aircraft in the simu- (FBW) systems, beginning with the (search and rescue) and AFF (aerial
lator as well as in flight as the tank- Legacy 450/500 business jets, followed firefighting).
er-transport moves into production. by the E2 regional jets and now this Control of the FBW system is via
It is heading toward military certifi- first military application. interconnected and active sidesticks
cation by year-end followed by service The FBW has two flight-control that provide force feedback to both
entry with the Brazilian Air Force. laws: normal, and direct as a fallback pilots, significantly improving their


Embraer KC-390 by the Numbers
Dimensions (ft.) mflfflfflmmff flfl flflfl flflf fflffffffl flfflfl f
Wingspan ..................................................................................... 111.3 fflffffflwf fflflflflflff, ffl wflff flflf fffflfl
Length .......................................................................................... 110.0 flffvff flflf ffmfl fff flflf fflffffffl fxflff
fflfffff f fwflffl fflffflf flf wfflflflfl flfl flf flf
Height ............................................................................................. 37.5
flfflm fff fflflflwf fflflfl fflfvfflflf fflflflflfflflfl.
Cargo Compartment (ft.) Of flflf ffxfl fflmflflfflff flfffflff,
Sflflzf fffflfff flflfflffl flf flflf fflflflfl fff
Length ............................................................................................ 60.6
fff fffff
flflff flfl flfflf jflffl ffflff flflfflflfffffffffffff
Height ............................................................................................... 9.8 mf fflfl flfl fflffl flfflfl flflf fflffff. Tflf
(10.5 over aft compartment and ramp) flfflf (fflfffflflfl) flffflffl flflffff flflflf flf flflf
Width .............................................................................................. 11.3 flflflfl fflfflflffl
flflflff flfffl flf flflf flfflmfffl flflflflflflflflflflflflflflfl
(PFD), fflflwflffl ff ffflmmfflffl flff
Engines ................. 2 X IAE V2500-E5 @31,330 lb. thrust each flfff ffflffflff, fff flflf FBW ffvfflflflf
flfflflffflflflf fflfflfm fffff fflmf fflffff.
Load Capacity........................... 80 troops/66 paratroopers/ I flflwffff flflf fflffffffl’f fflff f flflflflflf
74 stretchers/seven 463L pallets flfl mfflfflfflf fflfff ff wf fflflmflff, fff
flflf fflffffffl fflflwflfl flflffff flfflflfl I ffff
Air-to-Air Refueling ........ 3 X 8,820-lb. auxiliary fuel tanks
ff fflmf flffffflff flf flflf flfffl fflffff flfl
Weights (lb.) mflfflmflzf ffffl. Emflffff’f flflflflflfflflflfl
flflffl flflflflfl flfl flfflffl
flf flfl fflflflflffl flflf flflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflfl
Max. takeoff (military) ................................................. 191,800
ffflflvf flfflflffflflflf wflflflf fffflflffl flflfm
Max. takeoff (civil) ...................................................... 163,150 flf flflf flflflfl, flf flflflf ffff flfl fflffflffl
Max. payload ................................................................ 57,320 flflfm flfl fff fflffff fflf flflf fffffffffl
Max. fuel ....................................................................... 50,700 fflflmfl flfffflfmffff.
Afflff fffflflfflffl flflfflffl flf flflflfl fff
Performance flflfff, wf mflvff flfl flflf fflmflflfflflflf flf
Cruise speed (kt.)..................................................... 470 (Mach 0.8) fflffflflffflf fffflfflflffl. Tflf KCf390 fff
fffflffl flf fflflflflfl flflfflflflfl flflf flfflflf
Ceiling (ft.)................................................................................ 36,000
jflffl fflflvf flflf flfffl fflff flf flflf fflfff
Range (nm) ................................... 1,520 with 50,700-lb. payload, flflfl. Sflflzf fflflwff mf ffflflflff flff flf
3,310 ferry range flflf fflffffffl’f fflffflfflfflf ffflfflflflflflflff:
Tflf fflfflfflfl flfwf fflf flflf fflfffflflff fff
flf fflffflff fflfffmffflfflflfl fflf fffflffl
Afffrfffyfffffffdfffffdffffffffffdffrfffffff fffflfflflffl. Wflflflf flfl wff fflf fflflfl flf fflff

fdffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff mffl flfw flfl flffl flflf fflffffffl flfflfl f fflff

flflf flflfflflflflf flfflflff flflf flfffff flfl fflf
fffdfffffqufffffffffffrfffwfdffffffdfrffff.ff flfflfffl flflf ffflflflf, flfl ffflfl fflflfflfifffflflfl
mflff fflfflflf ffflff flflf flfw fflffflf, ff
fflflflfflflflfffl fwfffffff. Tflflf flf fflfl flfflfl Af wf flffflffff fflf f fflmflflfflff flflf fflfffflflff wff fflw fflfflfflflfl ffmflf
f fifffl fflf Emflffff flflfl fflf flflflf fflffffffl fffflfl ffflfl, Sflflzf ffmflflflffflzff mf ffff flfl mfff fmfflfl, flfffflff fflffflff
ffflfflflffl. Nfxfl flfl flflf fflflflflflflflfl fflffflff wflflfl flflf vffflfflflffflffl fflfflfm, wflflffl fffflff.
ffffl/flfflflfflflfl flflflflflf flflfff flf f flfflm flffl fffflflff flff flf fflfflf flfflfl, flfflf flfflfl flf Af f flfffff, flflf KCf390 fff fffflffl
flflffl fffflflff flflflflflf flfl ffffl flffff flf fvfffl fflmflflffflflflf flf flffl fxflfffflflf, flfflflfflflflfff ffl fflffff ff flflw ff 120 ffl.
fflflff fff flflfflffl wflflflf ffjflfflflffl flfflm ffflm 1f40 fffl. Tflflf flf fflff flfl mflvflffl fff jfflf flfl flfl 300 ffl. ffl 2,000f32,000
fflf flflflffl fff fflflfl. Ifl flf fflffl flfff fflf flflf flffl flfvff flfl 1, fflf fxfmflflf, wflflffl ffl. flfflffl flwfl wflfflfmflflfflff Cflflflfm
fmfflfl ffjflfflmffflf, ff mfffl flflflflflf flfff ffflvff flflf flfflf flfl 10 fffl., flflff ffflffflf flflfffffffffflflflf flflff. Tflfff ffflflvff
fff flfflffl flflf flffl flfl mflvflffl flflf fflflff. flffl f fflmflff flfflwfff 1f9 flf flflf fffflf flfl flfl 400 flffl./mflf. fff flflf KCf390 fff
Of flflf flfffl flflflff fflff flf flflf fflfff ffxfl flfl flflf flfffflf fff flflflflflffl flflf fxf flfflff f mfxflmflm flf 12,000 ffl (26,500
fflflff, f flflflfflffflfflfflfl fflfffflffl flflflflflf ffflflf flflflflflf. Ufflffl 3 flf flflf flfflfflfflfl flfl.) ffflm flflfff flffff flflffl fff flf flflffff
flf mfflfflfl flfff fflf fflfff fflfflflflflflfl flf fffflf, flflf flfflf fff ffflvff flfl 13 fffl. flf flfflflfflf flfflfl flflf fffflfl flflflf flfl ffff
fflflfflfffl ffflff flflf fifffl fflffiflflffflflflf Bfl ffflfflflfflflffl flflf fffflfl flflfff flflfflf fflffl vflf flflf fflffffffl’f fffflff flfff.
fff fflflflflflff flfvf flfff fflflfflfff. If fff flflffl fflflflflf flf ffflflflff, flflf fffflfff Tflf fffflff flfff fflflff fff fffffl 10,000
fflflflflf flfl flflf flfflffl flflfflfflflfflfflf flflflflflf, fflffffffl fflfff flf 130f140 ffl. fff flflf ffl flf flflf fflffffffl’f 23,000fffl flfflfffffl
flflfff flf f flfflflflff flf flflf fflflff flflffl flf wfflflflfl flf flflf fflffffffl, f flffl flflfflflflflf fflffl ffflffflflfl. Ufflffl flfflflfflff flffff fff
flfff fflf fffflfl ffflfl mflffflflff. Ifl ffflflf flf fffflvff flfl ffflflfvf ff fflffffffl flflflffl fxflfff flflffl fffflf.
vfflff flflf flflflflflffflfflfflfl flfw fflf flflfff ffflflf flf 5f7 fffl. Bfflflff flflf 40ffffl. Wflflfl flf fflf flflf flflflflfl ffflm Gfvflffl
mflffflflff fff fflflffflf flflf flflffmffflff flflfflflflflf flf f fflflffl fffflflffflff “Fflflfl.” Pfflxflflfl wfff Sflflzf, Emflffff ffffflfl
flflffl flflf flflflflflf fff fffffl flfl ffflfl flflf Tflflf ffflvff flflf flfflf flfl flflf mfxflmflm flflflflfl Cflflvflf Tffvfffflf fff flflflflflfflfffl
fffflfl. Tflflf flf fflff flfl ffflfffflffl flflf 40 fffl., flflfl fflffl fffff flflf fflffffffl ffflflfffff Jflff Pflfflfl fff Pfflfflfflf
flflfff flf flflf fflfflfflffffffflflvfffl fflfflfm. fflfflfmf f fflflfffl flflffl f flfffflffl flf fflw Bflff. Of flflf wfflfffflflff, wflffl fflfflff
Tflff fflflflff flffvflflfl, flf fflf flffflff flflfff flflf flfljffflflvf. mf fflfffl wfff flflf flwfl wflff flfflflflflf
f ffflflflf fflflflf, flflflflf flflfl flflfff flf flfl flfl Aflf Dfflfl mflff fffflflflflffflflfl fff flflfff flf flflf fflff flfff. Tflf mfflf flfff
42,000 flfl. fflflff flflf flflfflzflfflffl fflfflflflflzff flfl flf flff fflmflflff flflfff, fflflf ffffl flf flflflflff AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 51


Four Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fu-

sion 15.1-in. displays face the pilots.
A fifth sits just below, angled on the
center pedestal. Aft of it are keyboard,
scratchpad and cursor control devices.
Avionics are commercial, with numer-
ous additional functions for military
tasks. The cockpit is organized as on
commercial aircraft: Lights illuminate
only if the system condition is “in tran-
sit” or “non-normal.” The head-up dis-
play is supported by an enhanced vision
system using four cameras installed in
front of the windshield wipers.
Souza loaded the fight management
system, and I easily followed the way
through the menu as we prepared to
start the IAE V2500-E5 engines with
er-unit (APU)
bleed air. Take-
off weight was
planned to be
67,000 kg, with a
Agility and envelope protection were
zero-fuel weight
demonstrated during banked turns at of 52,800 kg and
50 deg. while slow-speed performance 14,300 kg of fuel,
is aided by a variable fap system including 100 kg
(see inset). for taxiing. The
digitally con-
trolled engines
on either side. All are low-pressure, design goals was maximum fexibility, took 75 sec. to stabilize at idle. After
nose tires at 85 psi and mains at 105 and the KC-390 can be reconfgured moving the faps to the takeof setting
psi, to operate from soft, unpaved between roles in 30 min. to 3 hr. For of 4, used for a short-feld takeof, we
ground or damaged runways. The air- disaster relief or medical evacuation, performed the fight-control check and
craft can take of and land fve times 74 litters can be installed with room for completed the after-start checklist.
without any required maintenance staf and life-support equipment. With a slight increase in thrust, we
action, and tire changes can be done In our aircraft, seats were fold- started to roll. The aircraft could com-
on the ramp. The gear is produced by ed along both sides of the hold. The fortably be steered with the tiller from
an Embraer subsidiary. KC-390 can carry up to 80 soldiers or either seat. This steers the nosewheel
The sponsons are comparatively 66 paratroopers with full gear. Two up to 67 deg. left or right, so the air-
large and a result of what Pinto calls doors are located behind the wings. craft can turn through 180 deg. within
“design from the inside out.” Embraer To provide a more stable jump posi- a radius of only 23 m.
frst determined the necessary size of tion for paratroopers, defectors next With the temperature at 23C (73F),
the cargo hold, then built the aircraft to the doors unfold into the airflow. scattered clouds at 2,000 ft., a QNH
around it. The hold has a width of 3.45 Doors can be exchanged in fight, for (altitude above mean sea level) of 1014
m (11.3 ft.) over its entire length and example when reaching the target and a 7-kt. wind from 160 deg., we were
a minimum height of 2.95 m over a area on a SAR mission to install doors ready for departure. Calculated speeds
length of 18.5 m, including the ramp with large bubble transparencies for for takeof were V1 117, VR 121 and V2
that stores two of the seven standard better visibility. 124 kt., with a final-segment speed
pallets. Its foor sits 1.24 m above the The large cockpit has an optional for fap retraction of 180 kt. indicat-
ground to allow easy roll-on/roll-off third crewmember station behind the ed airspeed (KIAS). On Runway 20,
loading via the lowered ramp. Behind pilot seats, equipped with a display and I advanced the throttles. The engines
the main gear are two extendable hy- tailored functions for missions such as stabilized at 80% N1 before I moved
draulic support struts to stabilize the aerial refueling and SAR. In the rear the throttles to the takeof/go-around
aircraft on soft ground or in gusty of the cockpit are two bunks. I sat in notch below the maximum position.
conditions. the left pilot seat, the huge windows We accelerated quickly, and liftof
The aircraft can carry a maximum allowing a great view. All six windows came at a pitch angle of 8 deg., with
26,000 kg, allowing it to transport two are protected against ammunition up the target for initial climb of 11 deg.

fully tracked M113 armored person- to 7.62 mm and 0.5 in. For operations An electronic tailstrike avoidance
nel carriers, one Boxer or Brazilian in hostile environments, removable system markedly increases stick force
Guarani wheeled armored vehicle, or Kevlar mats can be added to the lower on reaching 13 deg. pitch, before the
a Sikorsky H-60 helicopter. One of the cockpit area. physical limit of 15 deg. We banked


right, toward airspace reserved for
Embraer test fights, and climbed to
20,000 ft. I few the aircraft manually,
performing some turns to get a feeling
for its behavior.
Moving the relatively massive
sidestick a few degrees revealed the
aircraft’s enormous agility, quickly
putting it into a turn. With that per-
ception, I used every chance during
our fight to use the maximum rate of
up to 20 deg./sec. This increases to 30
deg./sec above Mach 0.7, as the high-
er dynamic pressure translates into a
higher rate, and the aircraft is not lim-
ited by loads during maneuvers. These
fight characteristics made me forget
the size and weight of the KC-390.
The spoilers are oversized and sup-
port its agility and capability for a quick
and steep tactical descent. When the
master mode switch is moved to the
“Max Efort” position and the aircraft
is slowed to 230 KIAS to extend slats
With faps set and gear down using the backup free-fall deployment method,
only, it will descend with idle thrust and
fight spoilers extended to 40 deg. at a the KC-390 approaches Gaviao Peixoto’s 16,295-ft.-long Runway 2/20—the
rate of 11,000 ft./min. while accelerat- ffth-longest in the world.
ing to the maximum operating speed,
of 300 KIAS. At maximum speed it will once it is within the envelope. aircraft at not more than 2g. The G in-
still descend at about 9,000 ft./min. To demonstrate maximum-G pro- dication increases situational aware-
We then few a shallow descent and tection, we slowed to 200 KIAS, ex- ness and lets pilots know when they
watched the FBW protection system tended the flaps to 2 and started a could overload the aircraft in fallback
smoothly pull up the nose to bring the 45-50-deg. banked turn while I quick- “direct” mode without the protections.
aircraft back to its maximum speed as ly pulled the stick fully aft. Because While still at high altitude, we slowed
we accelerated through 304 KIAS. This G-load is permanently shown in the down and confgured the aircraft for
protection does not use the auto-thrust left upper corner of the PFD, we could a simulated approach to watch the
or speedbrakes, but tries to keep pilots watch how the FBW’s programmed en- low-speed protection. With flaps full
in the loop by handing back the aircraft velope protection constantly kept the at 40 deg. and landing gear down in
manual fight and with manual thrust,
Large windows aford good cockpit visibility and are armored to protect
I slowed the KC-390 to 109 KIAS,
against ground fre of up to 7.62 mm and 0.5 in. about 1.05 times stall speed, before the
auto-thrust “woke up” and accelerated
us to 125 KIAS, where it returned to
passive mode and handed the function
back to the pilots. During our next
slowdown, I maneuvered the aircraft
through some turns and saw it was still
fully maneuverable and easy to control.
Souza and I prepared for a manu-
ally fown approach to Runway 2/20.
But then the unexpected happened: We
were losing fuid from the left-hand hy-
draulic system. We lost pressure after a
few minutes and decided to make a full-
stop landing and return to the ramp.
The aircraft has two hydraulic sys-
tems and electrohydrostatic actuators
on the control surfaces for higher re-
dundancy in hostile environments.
This capability helped us now, as all
fight controls were still in the normal
mode, but the landing gear had to be
lowered by the backup free-fall method. AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 53


Thanks to this unexpected event, Souza allowed me to continue at the wing helped with a smooth touchdown.
I had the opportunity to watch the controls. At 1,800 ft. above the field, The KC-390 uses a derotation law on
abnormal procedure, handling of the we were out of the clouds, and I could touchdown to quickly lower the nose
Quick Reference Handbook and al- continue to fy visually toward the long gear to the ground for shorter landing
ternate lowering of the gear by the runway. We planned to land with faps distances, and Souza explained it is
large red handle located below the at their full 40 deg.; the approach speed advisable not to provide any backpres-
right seat. Later, it was discovered was calculated at 134 KIAS with a ref- sure on the sidestick, as that would
that a hydraulic line on the left en- erence speed of 127 KIAS. work against the control law, and the
gine was loose. At 50 ft., I slowly reduced thrust to FBW would increase downward pres-
Because the aircraft was still fying idle and broke the descent rate as the sure in response.
as well as it had before the incident, ground efect below the large anhedral Thrust reversers can be armed for

The frst production KC-390 for

the Brazilian Air Force, FAB1, nears
completion at Embraer’s Gaviao
Peixoto facility in central Brazil.


landing, set to open automatically onto the ramp with some asymmetric ed, making it a delight to fy this medi-
as the aircraft enters ground mode braking because we had lost the nose- um-size tanker transport.
and the engines reach idle RPM. The wheel steering with the hydraulic fail- Most important, Embraer has devel-
aircraft has an enormous braking ure. Reaching our parking spot on the oped a fy-by-wire system that is able
capability for operation on short and ramp, we started the APU and shut to extract the maximum performance
unpaved runways, with its spoilers ex- down the engines before completing from the aircraft. The KC-390 makes
tending to 50 deg., huge brakes on all the few items on the parking checklist. full use of its flight envelope when
eight main wheels and reverse thrust. I had expected the aircraft to be needed for military missions and at
On landing, we used manual brak- vigorous. But our flight showed its the same time reduces the workload
ing due to the hydraulic loss, and agility and fying characteristics are for pilots, freeing them to use more of
Souza took control to turn the KC-390 even more impressive than anticipat- their capacity for demanding tasks. c

KC-390 Poised for Prime Time




Guy Norris Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil

ith military certifcation beck- pliance with the military certifcation
oning, production accelerat- requirements,” says KC-390 Vice
ing and a potential marketing President Walter Pinto, Jr.
jump start from the pending Boeing “Production is ramping up to meet
joint venture, Embraer is gearing up the delivery schedule to the Brazilian
for the most crucial phase yet of its Air Force [FAB],” says Pinto. Four
KC-390 tanker-transport program. aircraft are on the fnal assembly line;
Ground zero for this efort is Em- fuselage sections for the seventh pro-
braer’s Gaviao Peixoto facility in cen- duction airframe and the wing set for
tral Brazil where flight testing and the ninth KC-390 have entered the fa-
final assembly take place. “We are cility, while major components for the
moving from the development and 10th are in the supply chain. The pro-
certifcation phase to the production duction system is designed for up to
phase, although we still have some 18 aircraft a year, depending on sales.
fight tests to complete to show com- “The frst production aircraft, No. 3,
is complete and was to be the frst air-
The third KC-390 for delivery is being craft to be delivered to the FAB. But
readied for wing mating at Embraer’s instead it joined the certifcation and
Gaviao Peixoto site. fight-test campaigns in October,” says
Pinto. The aircraft was diverted to the
test effort after the first prototype
was damaged in a runway overrun
in May 2018. The frst aircraft for the
air force, No. 4 or FAB1, is in fnal as-
sembly with its IAE V2500-E5 engines
“We are getting ready to deliver
this by the end of [June]. Production is
going smoothly although, of course, as
with any new production line, we have
faced challenges and are learning—just
as we have with fight tests,” says Pinto.
“Minor corrections have been done to
improve assembly and make it easier
to put together, but nothing dramatic.”
Between the first production and
two prototype KC-390s, the test feet
has logged more than 2,000 flight


hours since frst fight on Feb. 3, 2015. KC-390 as a receiver,” Monteiro adds. sue clouding the KC-390 deal, “things
Brazilian civil certification was re- Helicopter refueling tests are also have improved dramatically,” Pinto
ceived in October 2018. “We are now planned for this year, using aircraft says. “We have worked with them to
fully focused on military certifcation No. 2 and a FAB Helibras H36 Caracal better understand the gap they are
and are expecting to achieve this in (Super Puma). Embraer has conducted focused on. We also understand their
about 600 more fight hours if all goes low-speed testing with the wing-mount- requirements and have been working
smoothly,” he says. ed hose-and-drogue units deployed. “We on our end. And they have worked it
Recent tests include troop unload- have demonstrated good fight stability at their end.”
ing and emergency evacuation trials at at low speeds,” says Pinto. In January, Rolo told Portugal’s
Brasilia AFB, in which the upper fuse- Airbus hit challenges refueling national defense committee that
lage escape hatches were used along helicopters with the A400M airlift- Embraer was asking more for the
with forward and aft doors. Loading er. “There are questions and con- planned five-strong fleet than the
tests with various military vehicles cerns from the market about how the €830 million ($949 million) budgeted
and helicopters have by Lisbon.
also been undertaken, “We have discussed
ranging from a pair of some changes to the
tracked M113 armored package in order to
personnel carriers and meet their budget,”
an Avibras Astros rock- Pinto notes. “They have
et launcher to a UH-60 a limited budget, and
Black Hawk. Flight tests the contract is not only
have proved the KC-390’s about the aircraft, it is
ability to air-deploy loads about the whole package,
ranging from 16 48 X 48- including support and
in. containers to two 96 training. We have looked
X 48-in. containers to into the confguration of
multiple drop zones on the aircraft to see how
a single mission. Other we could still meet their
tests include night-vi- requirements in a difer-
sion compatibility trials ent way. They would re-
with the Brazilian forces, With mid-altitude airdrop tests duce their requirements
high-altitude/low-open- completed, KC-390 No. 3 will head to on their side, and we
ing parachute tests and Yuma, Arizona, for low-velocity airdrops. would on ours. But it is
lightweight airdrops. a fixed budget and it is
Upcoming tests in- public, and we have to
clude low-velocity air- work with that.”
drops of loads up to 19,000 kg at Yuma KC-390 can do it, but we will demon- Embraer is confident that sales
Proving Ground, Arizona, using air- strate how the aircraft’s fight-control prospects will brighten with entry
craft No. 3. Additional low-speed tests system and fight surfaces give it that into service and says there has already
to prove the combat ofoad capability extra capability,” he says. “It is com- been an uptick in interest since it an-
are also scheduled at Gaviao Peixoto, pletely diferent aerodynamically to nounced plans with Boeing to form a
as are fnal fight tests of the self-pro- what people have been used to with joint venture to market the airlifter.
tection system. Developed with AEL legacy and current aircraft like the This builds on an earlier marketing
Sistemas, a Brazilian-based subsidi- C-130,” Pinto notes. and support agreement signed in 2016
ary of Elbit Systems in which Embraer Although the only firm order in and comes as Boeing closes in on ac-
has a 25% stake, this includes chaf and hand is the Brazilian Air Force’s re- quiring 80% of Embraer’s commercial
fare dispensers and a directional infra- quirement for 28 aircraft, Embraer aircraft business.
red countermeasures system. is edging closer to converting letters “The main idea is to open up new
Embraer is also gearing up for a of intent from a string of smaller markets and sell the aircraft in coun-
series of tanking tests in which the nations. These include Argentina, tries that would be more difcult for
KC-390 will act as both refueler and Chile, Colombia and New Zealand, us [on our own]. The influence of
receiver. “We have done dry contacts the latter having publicly discussed the U.S. is completely diferent than
with another KC-390, but now we acquiring fve KC-390s to replace its Brazil’s,” says Pinto.
are going to transfer fuel from ‘KC C-130s. Interest has been shown by the On the potential for setting up a
to KC,’” says Marcio Eduardo Mon- Czech Republic and Portugal as well U.S. assembly line, Pinto adds: “Ev-
teiro, KC-390 program senior man- as SkyTech, an Australian/Portuguese erything we eventually move, such
ager of product development. “We did joint venture that plans to take up to as production in the U.S., depends
dry contacts with FAB F-5s, and now six KC-390s to operate with air forces on the addressable market. We know
we are going to do wet contacts with under leasing arrangements. that to sell to the U.S. government
those and also the AMX [ground-at- Despite comments made early in we have to respect the Buy Amer-
tack aircraft]. the year by the chief of Portugal’s ican Act—so it all depends on the
“We will also do dry and wet with air force, Gen. Manuel Teixeira Rolo, business case. We are evaluating
the KC-390 to a KC-130 and with the who noted that price might be an is- everything.” c



Family Approach for British

Miniature Standoff Missile


Tony Osborne London

BDA fls flflvflflflflflflg fl flflmflflfl flfl flflflcfl flflfl UK flfls sflflflfl flflflflrflsfl.
flflflflflfls flrflm flfls flflvflfl Sflflflr 3 Tflfl flflgflflflflrflflg flflflm fls cur-
flflflflflrk-flflflbflflfl sflflflflflflfl rflflflflfl flflrkflflg flfl uflflflrsflflflfl flflfl
mflssflflfl. sflflflfl flfl flflflcfl flflfl EW Sflflflr 3
Tflfl muflflflflflflflflflflfl Eurflflflflfl mfls- fl flflfl flflfl flflflfl flfl flflflflflflflfl flfl flflflfl
flflflfl flflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflfl
sflflfl-mflkflr sflfls flflflflflflflflfl flfl flurflflflr flflflfl flfl flflflflvflr jflmmflflg flflvflflflrms.
flflrflvflflflvfls, flflfl flflflfl flflvflflflflmflflfl flfl Vflflflfl flrflflucflfl bfl MBDA bufl flflfl Tflfl 80-kg (176-flb.) mflssflflfl fls
flflfl flflflflflfl—flflsflgflflfl sfl flflflfl flflur flflfl flubflflcflfl rflflflflsflfl sflflfls flflfl flfl flquflflflflfl flflflfl fl smflflfl flurbfljflfl, flx-
flflflfl fifl flfl flflcfl flfl flflfl Lflckflflflfl Mflrflflfl EW Sflflflr 3 cfluflfl bfl flfluflcflflfl flflflflfl flflflflflflg rflflgfls flflflfl bflflflflfl flflflfl flfl
F-35’s flflfl flflflflrflflfl flflflflflfls bflfls—fls flfl fl sflflvfl flfl sflflflflflrfl flflflflflfls flflmflfl flxflsflflflg smflflfl-flflflmflflflr gflflflfl bflmbs.
flflflfl-flflvflflcflfl. Oflfl flflrflvflflflvfl cfluflfl flfl flflflmfl flflr flflflflflsfls. Buflflflflflg flfl MBDA’s flflvflflflflmflflfl
flcfl fls flfl flflflcflrflflflc-flflrflflrfl (EW) Wflrk flfl flflfl gflflflfl vflrsflflfl fls ruflflflflg flfl flflfl Brflmsflflflfl, flflfl Sflflflr 3 flflflfl usfl
jflmmflr flr flflcflfl flflfl flflfl flflflflr fls fl bflflflflfl flflflfl flfl flflfl EW flflrflvflflflvfl, bufl fl mflflflflmflflflr-flflvfl rflflflr sflflkflr flflfl
flflss cflmflflflx gflflflfl bflmb. Tflfl flflflflflr sucfl fl flflflflflfl flfluflfl bfl sflgflflficflflflflfl sflmflflcflflvfl flflsflr flflrmflflflfl sflflkflr flflfl
flfluflfl flflvfl fl flflflflr cflsfl flflflfl flflfl bflsfl- flflss flxflflflsflvfl flflflfl flflfl bflsflflflflfl flflflfl- GPS/INS guflflflflcfl flflfl fls cflflflbflfl flfl
rflcflflvflflg uflflflflfls vflfl flflflfl flflflk. Prfl-
grflmmflfl flrflflr flfl flflkflflf flr flfluflcfl,
crflfls flflflfl bfl flbflfl flfl fluflfl flflfl flflr-
flflflfl’s cflflrflcflflrflsflflcs fls flflflfl fls flflfiflfl
flflflflck flflgflfls flflfl flzflmuflfls.
MBDA fls flflrkflflg flflflfl fl flflur-flflflr
£411 mflflflflflfl ($536 mflflflflflfl) UK Dflflflflsfl
Mflflflsflrfl flflsflgfl flflfl flflvflflflflmflflfl cflfl-
flrflcfl flssuflfl flfl 2016.
Ifl Mflrcfl, flfl flfls flflflfluflcflfl flflflfl
MBDA flfluflfl suflflflrfl BAE Sflsflflms
flflfl Lflckflflflfl Mflrflflfl’s flfflrfls flfl flfl-
flflgrflflfl flflfl flflflflflfl flflflfl flflfl F-35.
MBDA hopes the Spear 3, already carried by the Lockheed Martin F-35 (top Tflfl Sflflflr 3, flflflflg flflflfl flflfl Mflflflflr
right), will be integrated on the Eurofghter Typhoon and Saab Gripen as well. bflflflflfl-vflsuflfl-rflflgfl flflr-flfl-flflr mflssflflfl,
flflflfl bfl flflflflgrflflflfl fls flflrfl flfl flflfl F-35’s
flflflfl flflflflflfl bufl flfluflfl bfl mflrfl flflflflflfl, flfl. Bflcflusfl flflflrfl flflflfl bfl flfl flflflfl flflr cflflflflfluflus cflflflbflflflflfl flflvflflflflmflflfl
flflflflks flfl fl flflrgflr flflrflflflfl. fl flrflfluflsflflfl sflsflflm flflfl sflmfl flfl flflfl flflfl flflflflvflrfl (C2D2) flrflgrflm.
Wflflflfl bflflfl flrfl bflflflg flflvflflflflflfl flflgfl-flflfl guflflflflcfl cflflflbflflflflfl, suggflsfls MBDA cflrrflflfl flufl fl flflsfl firflflg flfl
flrflmflrflflfl usflflg cflmflflflfl mflflflfl, flflfl Tflmflflfl, flflfls flfluflfl mflkfl rflflm flflr fl fl Sflflflr 3 flfl 2016. Tflfls Aflrflrflmfl flflfl
flflvflflflflmflflfl flfl flfl EW cflflflbflflflflfl flflrgflr flflrflflflfl bufl rflsuflfl flfl fl mucfl Prflfluflsflflfl Dflmflflsflrflflflr (APD) flflfl
flfls sflflrkflfl flflflflrflsfl flrflm flflflflflflflflfl sflflrflflr rflflgfl—flflss flflflfl flflflfl flflflfl flfl fl sflrflfls flfl flrflflrflgrflmflfl mflflfluvflrs
cusflflmflrs, sflmfl flvflfl flrflvflflflflg flflfl- flflfl flflflflrflfl vflrsflflfl, flflgflflflflrs flflflflk. bflflflrfl flflflflg flflflfl flflfl sflfl flf flflsflflrfl
flflflfl fluflflflflg, MBDA’s Sflflflr 3 cflflflfl Tflkflflg fl flflmflflfl flflflrflflcfl flflfl usflflg Wflflfls, flflflflflflg flfl flflrflsk flflfl cflmflflflfl’s
flflgflflflflr Sflflflflflfl Tflmflflfl sflflfl flfl flflfl flflfl sflmfl flflrflrflmfl sflfluflfl flflflfl mflflfl- sflflflflflrfl mflflflflflflg flflfl flflflflflsfls flflflfls.
Rflflflfl Aflrflflfluflflcflfl Sflcflflflfl flfl Lflflflflfl mflzfl flflfl flflflfl flflr flflflflflflflflflfl cflsflflfl Mflflflflflflflfl, flflfl flrflgrflmmflflg flfl flflfl
flfl Aflrflfl. flflflflgrflflflflfl flflrk. flflflflflfl’s sflflkflr flfls bflflfl cflflflucflflfl
Wflflflfl bflflfl flflrflvflflflvfls “flflvflrflgfl Nflmflfl flflflflr flfls UK Dflflflflsfl Mflfl- usflflg flfl flflrbflrflfl flflsflbflfl, cflrrflflflg
flflflvflflfl flrflm flflfl mflflfl flrflgrflm,” flfl flsflrfl flcrflflflm, Sflflflcflflvfl Prflcflsflflfl flflfl sflflkflr, flflvflgflflflflfl sflsflflm flflfl flflflfl
sflflfl, flflfl currflflfl flflcus flfl flflfl EW vflr- Eflflflcfls flfl Rflflgfl (Sflflflr) Cflflflbflflfl- flflflk. Tflfl flflsflbflfl flflflflfls flflfl cflmflflflfl
sflflfl’s flflvflflflflmflflfl fls flrfluflfl flflfl flrfl- flfl 3, flflfl flflflflflfl fls flflsflgflflfl flfl gflvfl flfl gflflflflr flflflfl flflr flflfl rflflflfl-flrflquflflcfl
fluflsflflfl flflfl flflflflflflfl. Tflfl EW vflrsflflfl Brflflflsfl F-35s, flflfl flflssflbflfl Eurflfigflfl- flflflmflflfl flfl flflfl sflflkflr sfl flflflfl flfl cflfl
flflflfl flflkflflfl cflrrfl mflrfl fluflfl flfl gflvfl flfl fl flr Tflflflflflfls, flflfl flbflflflflfl flfl flflflflck mflrfl flflsflflfl fiflfl flflrgflfls flgflflflsfl bflck-
flflflgflr rflflgfl flflfl flflrsflsflflflcfl. Tflmflflfl mflbflflfl, flrmflrflfl flflfl sflmflflflrflflflflfl grfluflfl cfluflflflr.
sflfls flflfl EW Sflflflr 3 fls flrflvflflflflg fl flflrgflfls flrflm sflflflflflf rflflgfls. Wflrk fls Tflfl flflxfl sflflfls flflr flflfl flflflflflfl’s
cflflflbflflflflfl sflmflflflr flfl Rflflflflflflfl’s Mflflflfl- flflsfl uflflflrflflfl flfl flrflvflflfl fl mflrflflflmfl flflvflflflflmflflfl flflfl flflgflfl flrflflfls flrfl flflfl
flurfl Aflr-Lfluflcflflfl Dflcflfl (MALD), flfl cflflflbflflflflfl. bflflflg flflscflflsflfl, bufl Tflmflflfl sflfls flflfl AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 57


company is building operationally rep-

resentative equipment and beginning
U.S. Air Force Fleet Is Structured
prequalifcation activities.
“We are really starting to learn
for the Wrong War, CSBA Warns
about the product we are develop-
ing,” he says. > THE F-35 AND B-2 WILL FACE NEW THREATS BY 2030
A key part of the work is develop-
ing two launchers for the weapon, a
three-pack launcher for external py-
Steve Trimble Washington
lons and the four-pack launcher for
inside the weapons bay of the F-35

family of aircraft. The launchers pass ot only too small, by one-third, ments (CSBA), describes not a distant
much of the data from the aircraft to to fight a near-simultaneous vision of aerial warfare but a near-
the weapons and eject the missile out war with Russia and China in term wake-up call for the airpower
of the weapons bay using a cold-gas 2030, the U.S. Air Force’s four newest community and Congress, according
pneumatic system. frontline combat aircraft—the B-2, to the authors. The National Defense
Carried upside down on the py- F-35A, F-22 and KC-46—will be limit- Strategy (NDS) released by the Penta-
lon, once dropped, the weapon turns ed to a standof role in highly contest- gon in 2018 calls for the military to be
rightside up and opens its wings ed airspace. prepared to win a war with China and
and fn stabilizers, while the turbo- In 2030, a new crop of Russian Russia within a decade, but today’s Air
jet is spooled up by windmilling air and Chinese very-long-range air-to- Force is woefully short of the aircraft
through intakes on either side of the air missiles will keep Boeing’s newly and capabilities needed for the task,
missile’s body. delivered KC-46 tankers at least 500- the CSBA concluded in the congres-
Designing the weapon to ft inside 1,000 nm away from defended air- sionally mandated report.
the constrained volume of the F-35 space, fanked by a protective shield
weapons bay has been the key design of aging F-16s. Meanwhile, Lockheed
driver for the Spear 3. Martin F-35As will still slip through
The Spear 3 is the densest missile an enemy’s long-range fghter screens
produced by the company. Although but will now stay safely outside an ene-
it is roughly the same size as the my’s borders, lobbing Stand-in Attack
Brimstone in terms of diameter and Weapons (SiAW)—the Air Force’s
length, it is twice the weight, with future version of the Advanced Anti-
“more complexity than the Storm Radiation Guided Missile-Extended
Shadow cruise missile,” says Temple. Range (AARGM-ER)—at targets from
The company has also had to hundreds of miles away.
consider the challenges posed by The long-range penetration mis-
both internal and external carriage. sion—a mainstay of U.S. offensive
Outside, the weapon is exposed to strategy since World War II—will MASTER SGT. SHANE A. CUOMO/U.S. AIR FORCE

extreme cold, but inside the F-35 now rely on a new family of frontline “We have a force that is not well-
weapons bay, the temperature is aircraft designed to avoid detection suited to these kinds of conficts be-
considerably warmer, thanks to the by low-frequency tracking radars. cause we haven’t invested in the force
proximity of the engine. This heat Led by Northrop Grumman B-21s, in the last 25 years the way we should
causes the Spear 3’s fuel to expand. a still undefined next-generation have,” CSBA Senior Fellow and re-
The expansion characteristics of the fighter and a mysterious new pene- port co-author Mark Gunzinger tells
fuel “took us by surprise,” says Tem- trating intelligence, surveillance and Aviation Week. “Now we’re playing
ple, and could have had an impact on reconnaissance (P-ISR) aircraft, this catch-up. We really, really are.”
the amount of fuel carried. Too much sixth-generation strike package pen- Indeed, the CSBA report echoes the
expansion could rupture the system, etrates deep inside enemy airspace eight-month-old, unclassifed summary
while too little and the weapon may from multiple directions and lingers of the Air Force’s own analysis, “The Air
not meet its anticipated range. there as long as possible. Force We Need.” In late 2017, Congress
“Packaging this amount of capa- As the successors of the Northrop commissioned the reports by the CSBA
bility into a weapon that is relatively Grumman B-2, and Lockheed Martin and the Air Force—along with another
small drives a lot of design risks,” F-22 and F-35A, these aircraft fnd the unreleased, classifed analysis by Mitre
says Temple. “We are testing this most elusive or dangerous targets, Corp. The objective was to gather in-
system beyond the requirements then nullify them using electronic or sight for shaping resource decisions in
because we don’t want to carry risk kinetic efects, or by sending the tar- the absence of a Quadrennial Defense
into the qualifcation program or F-35 get information to distant F-35s with Review (QDR). The latter was replaced
integration program.” SiAWs or Boeing B-52s loaded with in 2018 by the Defense Department’s
The introduction of the Spear 3 long-range weapons, including hyper- less detailed NDS.
onto British F-35s is one of the com- sonic missiles. Of the three assessments, the CSBA
ponents that will enable the UK to de- That sobering scenario, presented ofers the only independent and un-
clare full operational capability with in an April 11 report by the Center classifed analysis of a force structure
the aircraft around 2023. c for Strategic and Budgetary Assess- for the Air Force and one that is un-


constrained by the Trump administra- types within those top-line feet num- the size of the B-21, but Rehberg—a
tion’s budget and policy agenda. bers unknown. But that is also what former B-1B pilot—considers it small-
“What the QDRs gave [Congress] makes the CSBA version of the report er than a B-52 or B-2, which helps its
was, ‘Here is our strategy, and here so interesting. Unconstrained by the stealth signature.
is the force that we can aford to best obstacle of secrecy, the CSBA project “It’s also the outer mold line, and
support the strategy.’ But that is not was free to speculate on the specifc it’s the material you use that’s deter-
what Congress wanted. They said, types of aircraft the Air Force will minate,” Gunzinger says. “You design
‘We come up with what the nation need after 2030. Moreover, two of something with a couple tails that
can aford. We want to know what’s the report’s authors—Gunzinger and stick up, and your exhaust is hanging
needed,’” says Gunzinger, one of the Carl Rehberg—performed such anal- out in the breeze—OK, that’s going to
report’s fve co-authors and a contrib- yses within the Pentagon until retiring be pretty easy to fnd.”
utor to fve QDRs. from government employment within The same analysis also consigned
According to both reports, the the last decade. the F-35A to a standoff role in the
Air Force needs more and different As an aircraft that entered the de- CSBA’s 2030 study. “I think you need a
aircraft. The service’s “Air Force We velopment stage 3.5 years ago, the new outer mold line for [what is] a high-
Need” analysis concluded that the B-21 presents a special case. Though ly contested environment,” Gunzinger
requirements laid out by the NDS, nearly all schedule and performance says. “You need something that’s all-as-
which include fighting rogue states details are classified, the authors pect, broadband [and stealthy].”
and lightly armed insurgents, call for make intriguing projections about the But the F-35A still has much to of-
a total of 386 squadrons, including bomber’s current and potential pro- fer for a next-generation fghter, which
units devoted to nonaviation missions duction capacity over the next decade. the CSBA identifes as a dual-mission
such as cyberwarfare and space. The Based on limited information provided Penetrating Counter Air/Penetrat-
CSBA analyzed requirements only by the Defense Department’s selected ing Electronic Attack (PCA/P-EA)
for aviation units and came up with acquisition reports, the CSBA report aircraft. The report calls on the Air
Force to accelerate the frst delivery
to 2026, even though the Next-Gener-
ation Air Dominance acquisition pro-
gram has not yet opened for bids. The
F-22s and F-35s will be relegated to
standof and escort duties by 2030,
according to the CSBA’s analysis.

faster time line would require the Air

Force to leverage mature technology
as much as possible, Gunzinger says.
One possibility is to combine the F-35’s
existing avionics and mission system
similar overall results. Today, the Air estimates that Northrop Grumman with a new airframe optimized for
Force operates a total of 169 squad- will deliver 38 B-21s by 2030. But broadband stealth. That suggests a
rons fying bombers, fghters, tankers, even that pace is not fast enough. tailless, supersonic aircraft.
command-and-control (C2) and ISR The CSBA authors recommend ac- “That would drive you to a diferent
missions. Whereas the Air Force calls celerating the production ramp-up to kind of [outer mold line] and a difer-
for adding 50 squadrons to raise that complete 55 B-21 deliveries by 2030, ent kind of concept for operating that,”
to 219, the CSBA analysis proposes starting with the frst in 2024. Gunzinger says. “You’ll not necessarily
raising the inventory by 54 squadrons. The Air Force needs B-21s because be pulling high-Gs and so forth. It’d be
The two reports agree roughly on they form the heart of the CSBA’s more of a [beyond-visual-range] type
the size of the force but disagree on projected stand-in strike package. platform.”
the feet mix. The CSBA report calls The next-generation fghter and exist- The authors provide less detail on
for 24 bomber squadrons in 2030, a ing F-35As and F-22s are useful, but the projected requirement for a P-ISR
71% increase over the 14 squadrons alone they lack the range and payload aircraft, due to the sensitivity of the
recommended by the Air Force. But for the task. mission area and their backgrounds
the Air Force report proposes 89 “What if your tanker has to stand in recent government service.
squadrons made up of ISR and C2 of 500 mi.? What if close-in air bases “It could be manned or unmanned,
aircraft, versus 76 called for by the are under threat?” Gunzinger asks. and there’s probably nothing more I
CSBA. The numbers of fghters and “You don’t want to do that with some- can say about it, and neither can Carl
tankers are roughly equal between thing that requires a lot of refueling because we were in that world not too
both reports, with the CSBA calling and carrying that [smaller] payload.” long ago,” Gunzinger says. “Everything
for three more fghter units and four Although larger than a fghter, the that penetrates ought to be capable
more tanker units than the Air Force’s B-21 is considered survivable against of contributing to operations in the
vision for 2030. the next generation of airborne and [electromagnetic spectrum] to include
The classifcation of the Air Force’s ground-based threats, in CSBA’s anal- communications, sensing, jamming
report makes the mix of aircraft ysis. The Air Force has not released and creating other efects.” c AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 59


Recycling of Carbon Fiber France; Airbus; waste management specialist Veolia; and
Sacmo, a company with expertise in designing machine
Remains Elusive tools. The project ended in February 2018 after 3.5 years.
Progress was made in pyrolysis, a process that uses heat
> MAJOR PROJECT FOR COMPOSITE MATERIAL to separate fbers from resin, but it is energy-greedy and
RECYCLING WENT NOWHERE damages the fber.
Solvolysis, meanwhile, was deemed more promising. It
> OTHERS NEAR SUCCESS BUT AT LIMITED SCALE involves mixing pieces of composites with water brought
OR FOR LOW-VALUE APPLICATIONS to 400C (750F) and 200 bar. In these conditions, water
is in a supercritical state—its properties are between
Thierry Dubois Paris those of liquid and gaseous water. After 1 hr., fbers can
be separated from resin. Sacmo created two dem-
onstrators, one 20-liter (5.3-gal.) and one 25-li-
ter. Engineers conducted 900 trials with the frst
demonstrator using composite material samples
Airbus supplied.
Airbus A350 production (pictured) creates an
annual 75 metric tons of carbon-fber-based
material ofcuts.

However, Parcca’s promoters could not obtain

authorization from local authorities to build the
large-scale reactor. “Airbus and Veolia did not play
a particularly dynamic role at that stage,” says a
participant. An Airbus spokesperson did not re-
spond to Aviation Week’s request for comment.
In any case, it was unlikely the recycled fber ob-
tained with solvolysis could have been used in aero-
space. With solvolysis and heat-based techniques,
the length of a recycled carbon fber is reduced to

hile composite materials, especially carbon-fi- 6-9 cm (2.4-3.5 in.), which is not suitable for airframe appli-
ber-reinforced plastics (CFRP), have proven their cations, which require fber length of several dozen centi-
worth for the construction of lighter aircraft, their meters. And for high mechanical performance, composite
life-cycle impact is questionable. At the end of their lives, materials need fbers to be oriented consistently; this is why
they are recycled into a low-value product at best; in the some of them are described as “unidirectional.” Orienting
worst case, their destination will be a landfll site. The in- short fbers is impractical, says Aziz Bentaj, CEO of Xcrush-
dustry’s numerous research and development (R&D) eforts er, a startup company specializing in carbon-fber recycling.
of the past decade to reuse the fber—the most valuable The shortening is due to the need to cut the pieces of
component in the material—in high-value applications have composite materials apart before they enter the chemical
yet to fnd a favorable outcome. process. This ensures enough contact surface for the chem-
In other words, building a new aircraft with carbon fber ical reaction, Bentaj explains.
coming from recycled aircraft is still a pipe dream. For engi- Xcrusher has been developing two technologies for un-
neers focused on environmental impact, this is all the more cured and cured composites, respectively. Using uncured
frustrating as producing new composites consumes a lot offcuts of pre-impregnated fabric makes the most of an
of energy (see table), and composites comprise more than electrical property of carbon fber.
50% of the materials in the latest clean-sheet commercial Carbon fber is a very good conductor, says Bentaj, and
aircraft designs. creating an electrical impulse on the order of about 1 giga-
Meanwhile, specialists in aircraft dismantling continue watt through the fber sublimes resin. It leaves the fber as
to sell scrap metal for reuse in aerospace, and suppliers of good as new, with intact mechanical and chemical charac-
aluminum alloy—the main competitor of CFRP in aircraft teristics, he says. The duration of the electric pulse—ap-
construction—have made strides in recycling ofcuts. proximately a nanosecond—makes it energy-efcient. The
A striking example of the disappointment that compos- resulting 2-5-m-long (6-17-ft.) fbers can be put together to
ites optimists may feel is the failure of the Parcca R&D form an 8-km-long (5-mi.) reel, says Bentaj.
project. Parcca, a French acronym for “advanced processes A prototype component built for the automotive indus-
for carbon composites recycling,” was a €1.9 million ($2.1 try produced “encouraging results,” he notes. Static tests
million) endeavor to test industrial-scale reactors where were deemed satisfactory, and Xcrusher is now working on
the pyrolysis and solvolysis processes would have enabled dynamic evaluations, which simulate aging.
the recovery of carbon fber. So what about an application in aerospace? Bentaj sees no
Parcca aimed to retrieve 50% of the fber in cured mate- problem in performance. He hopes to eventually provide a
rial and eliminate 95% of the resin on it while retaining 95% major composite material supplier such as Hexcel or Toray
of the mechanical performance. Partners included the IRT with recycled fber.
Jules Verne research and technology institute in Nantes, A pilot factory built with waste management special-


ist Suez is starting operations in
Energy Needed for focused on recycling the carbon-
Saint-Ouen, near Paris. Over the Material Manufacturing fiber-reinforced polyether ether
course of one year, the various ketone (PEEK) and polyphenylene
phases of the process will be test- Aluminum Carbon Fiber sulfde (PPS) thermoplastics most
ed separately, and then the com- New 190-230 210 commonly used in aircraft.
plete process will be tested for One of the work packages
three consecutive months. Bentaj Recycled 6-23 2.9 involved the conditioning and
says the scale of the €6.5 million, Note: New material numbers are measured from ore (for characterization of the recycled
four-year project, led by waste aluminum) or polyacrylonitrile precursor (for carbon fber). material and development of a
management specialist Suez, is Sources: Xcrusher, UN Environment Program new family of recycled CFRP
compatible with the quantity of based on PPS and produced by
ofcuts produced by the Airbus A350 program: 75 metric an extrusion process.
tons (165,000 lb.) per year. Using this new material, two small parts (a bracket and
The trials will give Xcrusher and Suez an indication of a cleat) were created by thermoforming. Mechanical prop-
the recycled fiber’s cost. Bentaj is eagerly awaiting this erties of the material were found to be comparable with
demonstrated cost, which he hopes will be competitive. a commercial composite. The research project ran from
The automotive industry uses low-modulus fber priced at 2016-17, but the results emerged this year.
around €15/kg ($8/lb.). Aerospace needs high-modulus fber Meanwhile, engineers at the Cetim Grand Est research
costing €30-50/kg. and technology center in Mulhouse, France, believe sep-
For cured composites, such as those coming from aircraft arating the fber from the surrounding resin may not be
pulled apart at the end of their lives, Xcrusher has another worth the time and energy. Instead, they are promoting
solution: They can be turned into highly conductive micro- Thermosaic, a material made from thermoplastic compos-
metric powder. “It can be used in paint chemistry, as it can ite shreds. The idea is to put together overlapping patches
help create a smart wall,” says Bentaj. A smart wall can be of material, thanks to an unspecifed thermomechanical
used as a touch screen. process. The resulting panels can be processed by cutting,
Hexcel is working on recycling, too. The company’s folding, welding or stamping.
pre-impregnated fabric manufacturing processes leave 10- The optimum fiber length is 3-10 cm, says Clement
20% of ofcuts, notes Thierry Merlot, Hexcel’s president for Callens, who is in charge of future thermoplastic process-
Europe, Asia Pacifc, the Middle East and Africa. The part- es at Cetim Grand Est. Longer fber shreds would produce
nership with Lavoisier Composites, thicker panels, due to the need for

a startup in Lyon, France, is paving overlap.

the way for the use of such ofcuts. Thermosaic’s mechanical perfor-
Carbonium is a material sourced en- mance stands at two-thirds that of
tirely from CFRP by-products gener- the performance of continuous fber,
ated by the French aerospace sector. taking short fiber (1-2 mm) as the
Compared to equivalent products baseline, according to Callens.
derived from virgin materials, Car- Thermosaic’s technology readiness
bonium reduces the environmental level is seen at six, meaning it is esti-
impact by an estimated 40-50%. mated to be mature for a full product
A sales contract has been signed launch. A pilot production line has
with Swiss luxury watchmaker been running since 2017, says Cal-
Ulysse Nardin, which uses carbo- lens. Porcher Industries, a specialist
nium for two watch models. Merlot in carbon-fiber weaving, tested the
hopes higher-volume recycling ap- technology. Applications for Thermo-
plications will be found, for example, saic are foreseen in niche markets like
in the automotive sector. “The tech- industrial equipment, transportation,
nology is ready,” he says. Carbonium building and energy and it may be
has a greater added value than the Airframes can be manufactured from considered for secondary structures
current uses of ofcuts, such as road recycled metal, but composites have to in aerospace, says Callens.
construction. Once an application has been
be new.
Thermoplastics, often touted for found and a process set up at an in-
their recyclability, have yet to demonstrate it at industrial dustrial scale, long-term availability of the resource might
scale. The difference between thermoplastics and ther- be a challenge, Callens notes. In aerospace, optimizing a
mosets—which aerospace mostly uses for primary struc- manufacturing process or replacing a material with anoth-
tures—lies in the resin (the matrix) rather than the fbers er may starve the recycling factory of fabric ofcuts. This
(the reinforcement). When heated, a thermoplastic resin concern may afect every recycling efort, in fact.
softens and melts; when cooled down, it can resolidify with- Another approach to improving composites’ environmen-
out losing any property. The solidifcation process involves tal impact may be to use non-petroleum-based fbers. The
no chemical curing. IRT Jules Verne is studying the suitability of lignin and cel-
A European research project has shown that thermo- lulose, both plant-based, for applications in the automotive
plastic parts from aircraft at the end of their service lives and leisure gear sectors. c
can be recycled into new components with similar mechan-
ical performance. The Clean Sky program’s Reset project —With Graham Warwick in Washington AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 61


1. ATR: Hearing induction loop 2. Airbus: Color-coded baggage space availability

and colored LEDs to indicate the status of an overhead bin

Six Cool Innovations— section: full, partly occupied or empty. The idea is to help
passengers and cabin crew locate free space. Such equip-
and a Puzzling One ment could help accelerate the boarding process, which is
currently impeded by a clogging melee of passengers and
Thierry Dubois Hamburg roller suitcases.

ngineers designing the passenger cabin have more freedom DAY AND NIGHT FIRST CLASS
than those responsible for the airframe. At the Aircraft For the less busy frst class, Airbus is pitching a new con-
Interiors Expo (AIX) show in Hamburg in early April, cept: Instead of one reclining seat, the passenger could have
companies showed of creative ways of providing passengers both a seat and a private sleeping area. In terms of space
more comfort in the sometimes not-so-friendly environment of and weight, the Day and Night arrangement is said to be
air travel. Here are some of the coolest innovations displayed equivalent to or better than a conventional layout.
at AIX 2019—and a bafing one. And for couples traveling, Day and Night, introduced last
year, has evolved so that the “night” area now looks like a
HELPING THE HEARING IMPAIRED two-person bedroom. A sliding door creates an aperture
ATR aims to improve the passenger experience and safety about the length of a person’s upper body.
for hard-of-hearing persons with a dedicated interface for
hearing aids. A signifcant proportion of the hearing im- PANEL LOUDSPEAKER
paired switch of their aids when boarding, since they can Diehl Aviation is looking at replacing conventional loud-
have excessive sensitivity in some audio frequencies. The speakers in the passenger cabin using the lower panel of the
problem occurs in diferent frequencies depending on the overhead baggage compartment as a membrane. An exciter
person, but an aircraft cabin’s aural environment amplifed
by hearing aids is painful for many, notes Irene Aliouat, pres-
ident of the Audition & Vie French association of hard-of-
hearing persons (at right in photo above).
The passenger misses a lot with a switched-of hearing
aid. He or she can no longer hear public address announce-
ments, including those that relate to safety, or the infight
entertainment (IFE) system. As a result, the passenger can
feel isolated. To address this, ATR has created a simple
hearing induction loop, as can be found in many public plac-
es. Switched to a dedicated mode, the hearing aid receives
only the input from the loop. A magnetic device transmits
public address announcements and IFE sound, noise-free.
ATR suggests using a removable headrest cover that in-
cludes the transmitting magnetic coil. It can be easily moved
around the cabin, so a passenger can use any seat and need
not be separated from travel companions.


Airbus, meanwhile, is looking at ways to help with carry-on
baggage storage. The airframer proposes using sensors 4. Diehl Aviation: A diferent kind of loudspeaker


3. Airbus: Separate seats and sleeping areas in frst class

transmits vibration to the panel. Diehl says sound quality is cal fber and light-modulation infrared LEDs, to increase the
better than with conventional membrane speakers, especially bandwidth of IFE systems. Li-Fi can transmit multimedia
for voice transmission. In addition to contributing to a more content more quickly than can Wi-Fi. The current proto-
streamlined cabin design, the panel loudspeaker is lighter type ofers 10 Mbps per passenger, and Latecoere plans to
than its conventional counterpart, Diehl says. increase speed tenfold by June. Li-Fi is promised to enable
4K video on demand for an entire cabin.
VOICE-CONTROLLED LAVATORY A Li-Fi beam is very directional, so each Li-Fi ceiling
Diehl is ofering sensors to enable touchless operation of lamp would transmit data for one passenger only, opening
the lavatory door, seat, lid, fush and faucet for improved possibilities for personalization, which is why the concept
hygiene. The company is also proposing voice-activated con- is named Private Capsule. The cost of ownership would be
trols. Following the example of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s compatible with economy class, according to Latecoere.
Alexa, Diehl has named the assistant Flips. The passenger
precedes each command with “Hey, Flips,” such as in “Hey JETLAG ADVISOR
Flips, open the seat.” Speaking to the toilets, however, is a Despite designs to enhance comfort and whatever the class,
perplexing experience. a passenger on a long-haul fight often strugglea with jetlag.
As sensor-based and voice-controlled operations are Panasonic is introducing a “jetlag advisor” to help the pas-
relatively slow, they can be overridden manually in case of senger minimize the impact. The software program analyzes
urgent need. the time diference, distances and fight duration and makes
recommendations about sleep, meals and light exposure. It
VIDEO AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT takes the passenger’s profle into consideration, such as his
Aerostructure and wiring specialist Latecoere is developing or her age and normal wake-up time. Passengers may receive
a “Li-Fi” system, based on light signal transmission via opti- advice as early as two days before the fight. c


5. Diehl Aviation: Sensor-enabled, voice-controlled lavatory 6. Latecoere: Distributing video

at the speed of light AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY/APRIL 22-MAY 5, 2019 63

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Waking Up to a New Green Reality

By Anthony L. Velocci, Jr.

he aerospace industry, particularly the commer- bers but also a generation of young people and a surpris-
cial side of the business, has enjoyed an unprec- ing number of middle-aged voters. On the other end, con-
edented period of prosperity during the last 50 servatives are moving even further to the right.
years. With the introduction of the Boeing 747 in 1970, As a practical matter, trade organizations represent-
commercial air travel went from being the preserve of ing the broader aviation community should consider the
the economic elite to a truly mass transportation indus- Green New Deal a disquieting wake-up call to be ignored
try, changing the world immeasurably. In the U.S. alone, at the industry’s peril. For those who think the propos-
commercial aviation accounts for about 5% of gross do- al or some version—with aviation squarely in the cross-
mestic product. hairs—is too outlandish to ever happen, think again. For
Based on the demand for air travel, which has doubled better or worse, a change in administrations cannot be
about every 15 years, there is no reason to think this pat- ruled out in 2020, and if that occurs it will be game on.
tern of relentless expansion cannot Moreover, it would not be the
be sustained—unless, that is, lead- frst time an aviation/aerospace

ers become so overconfdent in the sector allowed itself to be blind-
industry’s success that they leave sided out of hubris or miscalcula-
commercial aviation vulnerable to tion. The most recent example is
major societal and political shifts the sequester used in the Budget
that could undermine its long-term Control Act of 2011 to encourage
future. Congress to reduce the annual
Industry observers, and par- defcit. Just the prospect seemed
ticularly industry insiders, most so potentially harmful to U.S. na-
likely will dismiss such a notion as tional security that few people—
nonsense. But how else to explain least of all aerospace leadership—
the industry’s lack of response to thought the draconian concept
the introduction of the Green New would ever become policy.
Deal on Feb. 7 by Rep. Alexandria Similarly, the U.S. space pro-
Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed gram was at its pinnacle in 1969
Markey (D-Mass.)? Under their as- when NASA, partnered with


pirational proposal—and as part of the aerospace industry, landed
a broader strategy to tackle climate humans on the Moon and safe-
change—the nation would embark ly returned them to Earth. The
on a mobilization efort to cut green-
house-gas emissions to net zero
within 10 years and achieve 100% re-
TOO HIGH TO IGNORE momentum seemed unstoppa-
ble—except that the pioneer-
ing initiative lost its luster for
newable energy in the U.S. by 2030 then-President Richard Nixon
through various means, including and many other Americans, and
replacing much of commercial air travel with railroads. within fve years of Neil Armstrong’s “one small step” the
In case anyone failed to notice, the silence from the Apollo program was canceled.
aviation community has been deafening. In a recent pro- Aviation—indeed, the broader aerospace industry—
cedural matter, all Republicans and a handful of Demo- has been taking its success for granted for years and
crats in the Senate voted against continuing debate on still is, with little or no regard for whether the nation as
the bill. However, also worth noting is that every Dem- a whole is knowledgeable about the contribution of both
ocratic senator running for president co-sponsored the segments to the country’s overall prosperity. For its part,
Green New Deal. industry leadership, such as it is, seems incapable of look-
The fact that Ocasio-Cortez and Markey presented ing beyond the near term, content with token eforts to
such an unrealistic concept in the frst place is beside the educate selective fckle audiences.
point—as is their apparent ignorance of why a healthy, And so, for at least the third time in the last 50 years,
growing commercial air transport industry is an essen- there are unmistakable signs that aviation and aerospace
tial enabler to economic expansion. More troubling is the yet again are approaching a potentially course-altering
decision by commercial aviation leaders to brush aside— crossroads. As pressure grows for commercial aviation
perhaps laugh of?—what was widely ridiculed. to play a bigger role in reducing carbon emissions, the
Such a seemingly smug reaction could be overlooked if industry needs to be less insular and more strategic. It
it were not for the fact that the U.S. is experiencing some must develop a bold, sustained messaging campaign suit-
of the most profound shifts in political ideology since the able for the broadest possible audience on why it cannot
end of World War II, and the potential for historic change be taken for granted. The stakes are too high to ignore. c
is in the air. On one end of the political spectrum, some-
thing approaching democratic socialism is fnding favor, Anthony L. Velocci, Jr., was editor-in-chief of Aviation Week &
not just among a growing number of congressional mem- Space Technology from 2003 to 2012.


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