Solar Impulse 2 will not resume its solar-powered round-the-world attempt until April 2016 because of repairs required after batteries overheated during the 117 hr. 52 min, 4,480-mi. flight across the Pacific from Nagoya, Japan, landing in Hawaii on July 3. Solar Impulse blames over-insulation of the batteries in tropical temperatures.
U.K. hypersonic propulsion-system developer Reaction Engines has revealed how its Sabre air-breathing rocket engine can operate without icing clogging up the complex heat-exchanger system that cools incoming air from more than 1,000C to -150C in less than 1/100th of a second. The secret is methanol anti-freeze.
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew through unknown territory around Pluto and out the other side without mishap July 14, setting the stage for a 16-month data dump that began with transmission of the first close-in images on July 15.
ITP, Rolls-Royce’s Spanish joint venture, is to develop the intermediate-pressure turbine for the enginemaker’s UltraFan large geared-turbofan technology demonstrator under a €43 million ($47 million) project that will receive €23.5 million in support from Europe’s Clean Sky 2 research program.
International Airlines Group has won European Commission approval for its takeover of Aer Lingus after agreeing to give up slots at London Gatwick. Ryanair, with 30% of the Irish airline, has accepted the offer and will bid for the slots. Aer Lingus shareholders will vote on the deal on July 16.
Delta Air Lines has joined a rescue plan for Japan’s Skymark Airlines proposed by lessor and largest creditor Intrepid Aviation. All Nippon Airways is backing a rival rescue plan arranged by private-equity fund Integral, Skymark’s main debtor-in possession.
Delta Air Lines says planned orders for 40 new Boeing 737-900ERs and 20 used Embraer E-190s will be canceled after its pilots rejected a tentative agreement on a new labor contract, terms of which allowed the carrier to order the aircraft.
Czech manufacturer Aircraft Industries has rolled out the prototype L410NG commuter, with more-powerful General Electric H85 turboprops, Garmin glass cockpit, modernized cabin, increased fuel capacity and range, higher payload and longer service life. Certification is planned for 2017.
South Korea last November canceled a commercial contract with BAE Systems to upgrade 134 KF-16s with Raytheon’s RACR active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, citing concerns costs would rise above the budgeted $1.7 billion. Now the U.S. has proposed a $2.5 billion foreign military sale to Korea to upgrade the KF-16s, with Lockheed Martin as prime and Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 AESA – the configuration under development for Taiwan.
Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) are jointly to make aerospace and defense equipment, including unmanned aircraft, in India. TASL is already on contract to produce aerostructures for Boeing’s CH-47 and AH-6i helicopters. India is finalizing contracts for 22 Boeing AH-64Es and 15 CH-47Fs and is to buy four more P-8Is, for a total of 12.
Japan’s Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft has made its global debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in the U.K. Afterwards, the two aircraft will deploy to Djibouti for testing in hot conditions. The U.K. is expected to re-establish a requirement for a maritime patrol aircraft later this year.
Japan has become the first international customer for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, signing a $332 million foreign military sales contract for five of the tiltrotor transports for delivery by 2018. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force plans to buy up to 17 V-22B Block Cs worth $3 billion.
U.S. Air Force
Struggling with training and retaining unmanned-aircraft pilots, the U.S. Air Force will finally develop an automated takeoff and landing system for its General Atomics MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers. The U.S. Army and the Israelis have long used automated launch and recovery for their UAVs.
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.