Dassault rolled out its Falcon 5X business jet on Jun. 2 at Merignac, its first clean-sheet design since the Falcon 7X in 2007. First flight is planned this summer, with service entry in 2017. But delays to Snecma’s Silvercrest turbofan have slipped engine certification by six months to summer 2016.
Boeing has begun assembling the wings for the first 737 MAX, aiming for a first flight in early 2016. The wings for the first member of the MAX family, 737-8 line number 5602, will be mated to the fuselage on a new central final assembly line.
Airbus is looking at increase A320 production, now 42 a month and increasing to 50 by early 2017, to as high as 63 a month. The higher rate is “clearly justified” by the 5,144-aircraft backlog, says Chief Operating Officer – Customers, John Leahy.
Boeing is upping production of the P-8 Poseidon to 1.5 a month by early 2016 to create headroom for potential export sales of the maritime patrol aircraft, already ordered by India, selected by Australia and being proposed to the UK.
The Pentagon is proposing a block buy of some 450 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters over three years, fiscal 2018-20, for U.S. and international customers to help drive down the aircraft’s cost.
John D. Parker
Boeing has resumed airworthiness testing for the KC-46A, the first 767-2C variant modified for the tanker mission returning to flight on May 28 after wiring harnesses had to be redesigned. The first KC-46A is now planned to fly in September.
The U.S. Air Force is investigating a data breach during the run-up to the Jun. 2 request for proposals for risk-reduction work leading to satellite launch services competitions, likely between incumbent United Launch Alliance and newly certified SpaceX.
Northrop Grumman rolled out the first of five RQ-4B Block 40 global hawk unmanned aircraft for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance program on June 4 at Palmdale, California. The aircraft carries the MP-RTIP radar for synthetic-aperture-radar ground imaging and moving-target tracking.
Sikorsky is cutting 1,400 jobs and closing its Bridgeport, Connecticut aerostructures plant citing the slowdown in demand for offshore oil-and-gas helicopters. In April, Bell Helicopter announced 1,100 job cuts.
Google is to continue development of a solar-powered stratospheric unmanned aircraft for Internet delivery, despite confirming the 164-ft.-span Titan Solara 50 prototype crashed soon after takeoff on its first flight in New Mexico on May 1.