Briefs From Farnborough—Day Two

Credit: Thales Alenia Space

Thales Alenia Space, Qinetiq, Sign ESA VLEO SmallSat Study

The European Space Agency has awarded a study contract to Thales Alenia Space and Qinetiq to advance the design of a demonstrator for a very low Earth orbit (VLEO) multi-mission satellite. The proposed spacecraft, called Skimsat, will be modular, compact and flexible, and the study will identify suitable payloads for an in-orbit demonstration. "The Skimsat concept is a revolutionary innovation that stands to completely change the Earth observation market," says Andrew Stanniland, Thales Alenia Space's UK CEO. "By challenging the traditional use of high altitudes that avoid air drag and by creating a new business model for high resolution imaging by using short lifetime and lead time and thus offering the market the benefit of more cost-effective satellites," Stanniland says.

EFW and STE Redeliver First A320 P2F Conversion

ST Engineering and Elbe Flugzeugwerke have delivered the first Airbus A320 passenger-to-freighter conversion to launch customer Vaayu Group. The re-delivery took place at STE's airframe facility in Singapore on July 15. STE's asset-management business own the aircraft and are leasing it to Vaayu. It is the fourth Airbus type to undergo the P2F conversion by STE and EFW, following the A330-300 in 2017, the A330-200 in 2018 and the A321 in 2020. "Our full suite of Airbus P2F solutions will serve to meet the current gap and future growth of the air freight market, while offering excellent choices and benefits to airlines looking to grow a diverse fleet of freighter aircraft with operating commonality," EFW CEO Jordi Boto says.

Elettronica Launches COVID-Combatting EM Shield

As rising case numbers in the UK and elsewhere show, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, even though vaccines and different variants appear to have reduced the severity of the risk of the disease for most potential sufferers. Living with COVID requires new technologies, one of which is on display at the air show. Elettronica says its E4Shield system uses electromagnetic waves to kill the COVID virus without causing any other harm to people or platforms. It can be deployed on military or civil aircraft—or, the company says, in any location where people are in close proximity to one another.

L3Harris Announces Airbus Simulator Award

L3Harris Technologies is to supply an A320-family full flight simulator (FFS) for Airbus’ Toulouse Training Center. "The Reality7e simulator will be the most sophisticated high-fidelity L3Harris training device for Airbus platforms, providing airlines ease and flexibility to train their pilots," L3Harris Commercial Aviation president, Alan Crawford says. The Reality7e FFS provides a suite of maintenance and support utilities, including a secure customer portal that details software versions for future upgrades and enhancements, reducing the airline's lifetime ownership costs, according to its manufacturer. 

Thyssenkrupp, Deutsche Aircraft Announce Partnership

Thyssenkrupp Aerospace has committed to a strategic partnership with Deutsche Aircraft to develop a material supply chain for the D328eco aircraft, a 40-seat hybrid-electric airplane based on the Dornier 328. The companies will work together to optimize supply flows and eliminate the risk of stockpiling obsolete inventories or incurring shortfalls in necessary materials. "Our mission is to drive the aviation industry towards a more climate-friendly supply chain to set new benchmarks when it comes to new aircraft manufacturing processes," says Dave Jackson, Deutsche Aircraft's MD. "Although strongly integrated in Germany, this initiative is part of a global effort to change the way our supply chain partners can provide more environmentally focused strategies to eventually reduce the environmental impact of such large-scale manufacturing projects."

Airbus Launches HAPS Services Business

Airbus is to use its Zephyr unmanned aircraft, which it has designated a high-altitude pseudo-satellite, as the lynchpin of a dedicated HAPS Services Business. The new subsidiary will provide low-latency connectivity services and Earth-observation applications from platforms deployed in the stratosphere. The division will be headed by former Intelsat executive vice president Samer Halawi, with former Meta Aerospace chief financial officer Taz Esmail joining in the same role. The company notes that some 3.7 billion people lack access to terrestrial or space-based telecommunications networks.

MA Group Lands In the UK

Naples-headquartered Magnaghi Aeronautica Group has made its first acquisition in the UK with the purchase of Gloucestershire, England-based machined parts manufacturer Five Valleys Aerospace. "The UK aerospace market offers major opportunities; there are a number of programs that are of interest to us, including the Tempest," says the landing-gear specialist's UK chairman, Alberto de Benedictis. "The acquisition of Five Valleys Aerospace is just the first step in our journey to become a major player in the market as a supplier of engineering capability and components for the aerospace sector."

Angus Batey

Angus Batey has been contributing to various titles within the Aviation Week Network since 2009, reporting on topics ranging from defense and space to business aviation, advanced air mobility and cybersecurity.

Alan Dron

Based in London, Alan is Europe & Middle East correspondent at Air Transport World.