Japan’s Mitsubishi MRJ regional jet completed its 1.5-hr. first flight from Nagoya Airport on Nov. 11, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1200G geared turbofans. Flight tests in the U.S. are planned to begin in the second quarter of 2016 at Moses Lake in Washington state. First delivery is scheduled for the second quarter of 2017. Read more
United Express carrier CommutAir, which flies Bombardier Q200 and Q300 turboprops, is to operate Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets for United Airlines beginning in April 2016. The deal calls for CommutAir to operate 40 ERJ-145s, but the airline has not indicated from where in will obtain the 50-seat jets. Read more (subscribers)
737 MAX 8/Boeing
India’s Jet Airways confirmed an order for 75 Boeing 737-8s at the Dubai Airshow. The order, previously attributed to an unidentified customer, includes the conversion of 25 737 orders to 737 MAXs. Vietnam’s Vietjet ordered 30 more Airbus A321s, including 21 A321neos, at the Dubai show.
Global flight tracking solution/Aireon
Global governments have approved radio spectrum that will extend automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B) flight-tracking technology – now limited to within range of ground stations – to worldwide coverage using satellites. In the wake of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370, the 1087.9-1092.3 MHz frequency allocation for aircraft-to-ground ADS-B will be extended to aircraft-to-satellite transmissions. Read more (subscribers)
A stretched, re-engined A380neo “is inevitable,” says Airbus Chief Operating Office Customers John Leahy. He expects the aircraft to be introduced in 2022-23. Emirates wants to replace its older A380s from 2020 onwards and is pushing Airbus to develop the aircraft. Airbus must also to decide whether build a bigger version of the A350 to compete with Boeing’s 777-9X, Leahy says. Read more
A Eurofighter Typhoon has released the MBDA Storm Shadow, over a UK weapons range, under a program to integrate the long-range stand-off missile as part of the P2E capability update to be completed by 2017. Eurofighter has also test-fitted the MBDA Marte-ER anti-ship missile on the Typhoon as a potential capability beyond the P3E update planned for 2017.
U.S. Air Force
Kongsberg’s Joint Strike Missile (JSM), intended for Norway’s Lockheed Martin F-35As, was released for the first time on Oct. 28 from a U.S. Air Force F-16 over a Utah test range. The flight test was the first of several planned to prepare the JSM for integration on the F-35 beginning 2017. Norway’s plan is for the F-35 to be fully operational by 2025 armed with the internally carried JSM.
AVIC’s Guizhou JL-9 Mountain Eagle supersonic trainer has become operational with the Chinese air force. The tandem-seat aircraft is derived from the J-7, China’s development of the MiG-21, and is powered by a Chinese version of the Russian fighter’s Tumansky R-13 turbojet. China is also due to receive AVIC’s Hongdu JL-10 supersonic trainer. Read more (subscribers)
Europe’s stealthy Neuron unmanned combat aircraft technology demonstrator has completed tests with flights at the Vidsel range in Sweden. Three flights involved weapon release tests and eight included radar detection tests involving a Saab JAS 39C/D Gripen, Sweden’s ASC 890 airborne early warning aircraft and the Gripen NG equipped with the active-array radar for the JAS 39E.
China’s AVIC plans to fly a production version of the FC-31 Gyrfalcon stealth fighter by 2019, as it begins a push for sales. AVIC says negotiations are under way with China’s air force, despite previous reports the single-engine fighter would be offered only for export. The production FC-31 will be powered by an “advanced” 20,000-lb.-thrust engine. The demonstrator uses the MiG-29’s Klimov RD-93 engine. Read more
Piaggio Aerospace rolled out the P.180 Avanti-based Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) in Genoa on Nov. 9. Developed with Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments, the MPA has a 50% longer wing span, 50% greater fuel capacity, larger tailplane and foreplane, uprated engines and Saab Albatros mission system including radar and electro-optical/infrared sensor.
Leidos has won the contract to integrate the Airborne Reconnaissance Low – Enhanced (ARL-E) multi-sensor intelligence suite on nine Bombardier Dash 8-300s to replace the U.S. Army’s EO-5C ARL-Multifunction surveillance aircraft. L-3 Communications and Northrop Grumman were the other contenders for the five-year, $662 million program. Read more (subscribers)
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has ordered two Saab Swing Role Surveillance Systems, based on the Bombardier Global 6000 business jet, in a deal valued at $1.27 billion. Equipped with Saab’s EriEye radar and a surface search radar, electro-optical sensor and electronic support measures, the aircraft will provide simultaneous air, land and sea surveillance. Read more (subscribers)
Early Northrop Grumman Next-Generation Bomber design concept/Jozef Gatial
The U.S. Air Force issued a stop-work order on development of the Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) on Nov. 6 after the losing Boeing/Lockheed Martin team protested the Oct. 27 award of the up to $100 billion program to Northrop Grumman. The Government Accountability Office has 100 days to rule on the protest, with a decision expected by early February. Read more (subscribers)
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) plans to buy up to six AgustaWestland AW609 tiltrotors under a memorandum of understanding that will see the UAE’s Joint Aviation Command help the manufacturer define a search-and-rescue configuration for the aircraft. The deal is a vote of confidence following the Oct.30 fatal crash of the second AW609 prototype. Read more (subscribers)
Airbus Helicopters flew an H120 light helicopter re-engined with a diesel-cycle high-compression piston engine for the first time on Nov. 6, under Europe’s Clean Sky aviation research program. The TEOS/Austro Engine HIPE 440, a 4.6-liter V8 burning Jet-A1 kerosene, reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emission by up to 50% of the H120 turbine engine.
Thales Alenia Space
A duplicate of the service module the European Space Agency will provide for NASA’s Orion crew capsule has been shipped by Thales Alenia Space to the U.S. for structural testing. The service module will provide propulsion, electrical power and thermal control on EM-1, the first flight around the Moon with an unmanned Orion capsule in 2018.
Boeing says its CST-100 Starliner is out of the running for NASA’s second Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-2) contract, leaving Orbital ATK, SpaceX, Sierra Nevada and perhaps Lockheed Martin in the race for what could be billions of dollars in business delivering cargo to the International Space Station. NASA has delayed selection for the CRS-2 contract to January. Read more (subscribers)
Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.