A320neo is a Paris No-Show

Airbus will not be showing the A320neo here because of continued grounding of its two Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-powered flight test aircraft. The manufacturer was forced to suspend flight tests at the end of April after defects were found in seal clips in the area of the high-pressure compressor when an engine was inspected following a bird strike. While the first CFM International LEAP-X-powered A320neo has flown, it is not scheduled to appear here. 


Something in the Air? Not From the U.S. Military!

There will be no U.S. military participation in the daily aerial displays at the 2015 Paris Air Show, nor will the F-35 make its much-anticipated European debut here. Instead, U.S. airpower will be represented in the Static Display. On the ground will be USAF F-15E and F-16 fighters, an A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft and WC-130J Weatherbird, a U.S. Navy Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, and U.S. Army UH-72 Lakota and CH-47F Chinook helicopters. The F-35 is now likely to make its first appearance on this side of the Atlantic at next year’s Farnborough Air Show.


Another Grounding During Show for Pratt

The timing is unfortunate for Pratt & Whitney: Paris is the second major show in a row coinciding with engine problems. Here, the  PW1100G-powered Airbus A320neo test aircraft is unable to appear; at last year’s Farnborough Air Show the Bombardier CSeries was a no-show following  a partially uncontained failure of a PW1500G during ground testing in Canada. The P&W F-135-powered F-35 fighter, billed as the show’s top star, was also a no-show, being grounded in the U.S. following an engine fire.


Airbus A400M To Fly Here

Airbus has confirmed that it plans to fly its own development A400M, MSN6, as part of the daily display at the Paris Air Show, while a French air force aircraft will be on static display. The decision reflects the manufacturer’s confidence in the airlifter following the May 9 crash of a Turkish air force A400M while test flying in Spain. As a result of the accident the UK, Germany, Malaysia and Turkey grounded their A400Ms pending an investigation, but France has continued to fly its aircraft subject to “several minor precautionary restrictions to the flight regime.”


Germany Selects MEADS

Germany’s selection of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) in a $4.5 billion deal not only provides a confidence boost to the program, but could open up the way to a wider export market. Lockheed Martin and co-developers MBDA believe there are 31 opportunities worldwide where MEADS could now compete, including Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which are all looking to buy a jointly funded medium-range air defense system to deter potential aggression from Russia.


Airbus Shows Reusable Core-Stage Launcher

Airbus Defense and Space is highlighting here its Adeline (Advanced Expendable Launcher with Innovative engine Economy) system. The launcher would jettison a rocket's first-stage fuel tank after launch, leaving an aerodynamic thermal shield for reentering the atmosphere while protecting the motor and systems inside. Then, two small turbo-propellers would deploy from the module's wings, and it would be remotely piloted to a conventional runway landing. The company says Adeline is being designed to be immediately adaptable to Ariane 6, although it could be utilized by any liquid core stage rocket.


Raytheon Enters Commercial Cybersecurity

Raytheon has expanded its cybersecurity skills beyond government and the defense industry. The company is investing around US$1 billion into developing a business that is expected to generate US$500 million a year protecting public and private sector companies from attacks on their computer networks, says CEO Tom Kennedy. “Threats have become a lot more sophisticated, with even nation states coming after companies’ secrets, and organized crime increasing its ability to garner information for fraud or to sell it to the highest bidder,” he says. “This has been going on for years but the general public hasn’t recognized it, and it’s getting worse…more sophisticated and aggressive.”


Airbus Keelback Gives Bite To Cybersecurity

Airbus Defence and Space's Keelback Net cyber defense system is making its air show debut in Paris. Named after a snake, “the sensor [is part of] a managed service solution,” says Matt Bennett, Airbus's cybersecurity incident-response team lead. “Our customers get our innovative technology, combined with our expertise.” Keelback Net’s sensor is deployed at strategic points on a customer's network and can monitor it at six locations. When the sensor detects an incident that appears unusual, an alert is sent to one of Airbus's Cyber Defense Centers located in France, Germany and the UK for analysis and response.


IAI Unveils Stealth-Tracking UHF Radar

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is introducing its advanced UHF Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar here. Designed to search, detect and track air-breathing targets including stealth aircraft, missiles and UAVs at very long range, it has already become operational with an unidentified customer. "We note increasing requirements worldwide for early warning radars, in order to extend the currently available Air Situation Picture and allow commanders and decision makers valuable extra time for making informed and educated decisions concerning necessary defensive measures," says IAI EVP and ELTA president Nissim Hadas.


GE-AVIC’s AVIAGE Plans Western Subsidiaries

AVIAGE, the GE-AVIC global joint-venture in the avionics market, recognizes that much work needs to be done to earn the confidence and trust of aircraft-makers and other original equipment makers outside of China.  While its main project is supplying the avionics system for the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) C919, the JV aims also to be a global player in the avionics industry and get its systems on other aircraft platforms. Thus it is here at the Paris Air Show, talking up plans to open subsidiaries this year in Phoenix, Arizona, and Toulouse. 


Falcon 8X Makes Le Bourget Debut

The third and final Dassault Falcon 8X test aircraft made its first flight from the company’s Bordeaux-Mérignac facility on May 11, and the 8X is making its public debut here. By mid-May the three aircraft had jointly completed 50 sorties out of the planned 200-flight, 500-hr. test program that will culminate in EASA and FAA certification in mid-2016. Next month, the third 8X will be ferried to the Falcon completion facility in Little Rock, Arkansas, where it will be fitted out with a full cabin and tested for cabin comfort and sound levels.


New Antonov Airlifter Debuts Here

The prototype Antonov An-178 twin-turbofan airlifter made its maiden flight from the Ukrainian manufacturer’s Gostomel, Kiev, facility on May 7 and is on static display here. The An-178 is a scaled-up development of the An-148/158 regional airliner family and is targeted at operators of An-12s, C-160 Transalls and C-130 Hercules. Powered by a pair of Motor Sich D436-148FMs, it has a payload of 18 metric tons. Antonov hopes to gain Ukrainian certification next year, with EASA approval following. Future versions of the aircraft could have Western engines and avionics.


A350 XWB Two Years On

At the 2013 Paris Air Show the first prototype Airbus A350 XWB made a surprise appearance over Le Bourget, just days after its maiden flight and on its third sortie, flying at 600 ft. along the crowd line to the pleasure of French president François Hollande. First delivery, to Qatar Airways, took place on December 22, 2014. Most recently, on June 1, the first of 14 A350 XWBs for Vietnam Airlines completed its first flight at Toulouse. When delivered mid-year it will be the first of its type to fly with an Asian carrier, beginning with service between Hanoi and Paris. At the end of April Airbus had received 780 firm orders for the XWB from 40 customers.


Thunder Over Paris

But not the kind to which regular showgoers may have been accustomed over the years.The Pakistan Air Force’s JF-17 Thunder multirole fighter made its European airshow appearance at Farnborough in 2010 but did not fly. This week it will be taking part in the air show, flying twice daily after being ferried from Pakistan via Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Italy. JF-17s currently serve with the PAF’s 16 Squadron “Black Panthers,” 26 Squadron “Black Spiders” and Combat Commanders’ School JF-17 “Fierce Dragons.” An as-yet-unnamed first export customer has recently ordered JF-17s, and Pakistan is in discussion with potential buyers in 11 other countries.


Scorpion Stings Europe Again

After making a transatlantic crossing to appear at last year’s Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough Air Show in the UK, Textron AirLand’s Scorpion ISR/Strike/Trainer Showcase Capabilities is back in Europe after a year of flight testing in which it has met or exceeded all performance targets. In more than 385 hr. aloft, with a 95% readiness rating, it has achieved a top speed of 450 kt., reached its service ceiling of 45,000 ft., and validated its operating cost of less than $3,000 per hour.


CSeries Duo Debuts Here

Bombardier’s CSeries, which makes its air show debut at Paris, is more than 70% through certification and 56% though flight test. The 110-seat CS100, displayed statically here, is on track for certification by year’s end, and the 135-seat CS300, which is taking part in the flying display, will follow six months later. “With confidence I can tell you the aircraft is going to do what we said it would,” assures recently appointed Commercial Aircraft president Fred Cromer. CSeries service entry with Swiss International Air Lines is scheduled for the first half of 2016.


Makeover’s ‘Moonlighting’ Socata​

Incorporating 26 modifications over its immediate predecessor, the Daher TBM 900 business turboprop lays good claim to being a new aircraft. Winglets and a five-blade Hartzell propeller are among the most immediate recognition figures for this latest incarnation of the TBM 700/850 series, but it is now also slightly longer and incorporates more carbon fiber, revised equipment and an improved cockpit. A further change will be noted in the aircraft’s name: The joint credit to Socata recently disappeared in a rebranding exercise. Daher has taken orders for more than 100 TBM 900s.


Paris Air Show 2015

You Have MALE!

With flight tests underway on the improved Anka B, Turkish Aerospace Industries’ Anka B medium-altitude, long-endurance platform (MALE) unmanned aerial system is making its air show debut here, having first flown on Jan. 30. It features a number of performance improvements to increase payload and operational service ceiling, paving the way for the Anka S, which is due to fly in mid-2016 and enter service at the beginning of 2017 with the Turkish Air Force, which has ordered 10 systems.


Gulfstream G650ER Sets City-Pair Record

Gulfstream Aerospace celebrated winning the 2014 Robert J. Collier Trophy by setting a citypair record with its G650ER between Paris and Washington, D.C. The G650ER left Le Bourget Airport, flew into an average 58-kt. headwind and arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport in 7 hr., 50 min. It flew to Washington, D.C., to take part in a static display for the Collier Trophy presentation dinner on June 3. The Collier Trophy is awarded annually by the National Aeronautic Association to recognize achievements in aeronautics or astronautics in the U.S.


Jet Prop’ Diamond DA50-JP7 Shines at Last 

Flown as long ago as 2007, this five-seat version of the popular DA40 has spent the intervening time searching for the right engine. The “Jet Prop 7” version first took to the air in Austria on Jan. 19, sporting a 465-shp AI-450S turbine built by Ukrainian company Motor Sich JSC. Certification of the JP7 is planned for mid-to late 2016 and, in a nod to the Russian market, the standard “Speed” version will be partnered with a large-wheeled “Tundra” model with slotted flaps and enlarged door.