The Lockheed Martin F-35B dropped the UK’s Raytheon Paveway IV precision-guided bomb for the first on June 12, two inert 500-lb. munitions being released from the aircraft’s weapons bay over a test range in the Atlantic.
AgustaWestland subsidiary PZL Swidnik has filed a lawsuit challenging Poland’s selection in April of Airbus Helicopters’ H225M Caracal for a multi-role utility requirement. Airbus won controversially over bids from PZL Swidnik and Sikorsky’s Polish subsidiary PZL-Mielec. The future of the program may now be decided by the country’s upcoming general election.
On June 23, the first F-35B ski-jump launch was conducted at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. UK Queen Elizabeth-class carriers will be equipped with ski-jump ramps.
Dennis Muilenburg will take over as Boeing’s CEO on July 1, with current CEO Jim McNerney to continue as chairman until he retires in February 2016. Ray Connor, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO, was also in the running to succeed McNerney. He will continue in his role as Boeing vice chairman. A 30-year veteran of the company, Muilenburg was previously CEO of Boeing Defense Space & Security.
Joe Pries Aviation
Star Alliance has confirmed July 22 as the joining date for its latest member – Avianca Brazil. The airline will be the 28th member of the global alliance and will fill a gap left by the departure of Brasil’s TAM, which switched alliances to Oneworld following its merger with LAN Airlines to form the Latam Group.
Boeing is cutting 747-8 production to one a month beginning in March 2016 in a move to sustain the program until the ongoing recovery in the air cargo market translates into new orders. The cutback comes despite a yet-to-be-finalized deal with Russian cargo operator Volga-Dnepr for up to 20 aircraft.
In a bid to spread access to high-speed broadband service around the globe, OneWeb has signed contracts with European launch consortium Arianespace and Virgin Galactic to deploy a constellation of more than 600 low-orbiting Internet satellites starting in 2017.
Fractional ownership provider Flexjet took delivery of its first two GulfstreamG450 large-cabin business jets on June 22. Formerly owned by Bombardier, and acquired by Directional Aviation Capital in 2013, Flexjet on October placed orders and options for up 50 G450s, G500s and G650s.
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.