FedEx Express has ordered an additional Boeing 767-300F freighters, with options on another 50. The aircraft on firm order will be delivered from 2018 to 2023 and take FedEx’s fleet of 767-300Fs to 106. China’s largest freight operator SF Express could order 30 767-300Fs this year.
Russia’s defense ministry confirms preparations are underway to restart production of the Tupolev Tu-160 supersonic bomber, last built in 1992. The updated Tu-160M2 will enter production in 2023, preceded by re-engining of the current 15-aircraft fleet. Upgraded Kuznetsov NK-32.02 engines will reportedly increase the bomber’s range by 1,000 km (540 nm).
The first three of 24 Dassault Rafale fighters for Egypt were handed over on July 20. The €5.2 billion ($5.7 billion) contract signed in February called for six aircraft intended for France to be diverted to Egypt. Qatar signed a 24-aircraft order in May, but does not require such rapid delivery.
John D. Parker
Fuel system redesigns and retrofits are behind Boeing’s latest cost overrun on development of the U.S. Air Force’s KC-46A aerial refueling tanker. The last $835 million charge ($536 million after tax) takes the total overrun on Boeing’s $4.9 billion fixed-price contract, on in 2011, to $1.26 billion.
Sikorsky’s name, manufacturing operations and major research and development efforts are expected to continue under the planned acquisition of the helicopter maker by Lockheed Martin from United Technologies for $9 billion. Lockheed could sell off government IT businesses with $6 billion in sales.
AgustaWestland has received European certification for the AW169 medium twin helicopter, originally expected in 2014. Production is under way in Italy, and a second assembly line is being established at the company’s Philadelphia base. AgustaWestland says it has commitments for 150 AW169s.
Japan has selected Fuji Heavy Industries to supply the Ground Self-Defense Force’s UH-X utility helicopter, based on the proven Bell 412EPI, securing Fuji’s future as a helicopter builder while minimizing program risk. Production of 150 helicopters is to begin in 2021 and will run for 20 years.
Icon Aircraft has handed over the first A5 amphibious light sport aircraft to a customer, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program, at the EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh. Aircraft serial number 001 was the first A5 to receive LSA certification after an FAA audit in May.
Italian light aircraft manufacturer Tecnam is evaluating the market for a two-seat, single-turbofan aircraft, primarily for military flight training but also personal aviation. Details have yet to be decided, but the P-jet would have side-by-side seating, a podded engine above the fuselage and twin tail.
A task force formed by the European Commission in the wake of the Germanwings flight 9525 crash has recommended more robust screening of pilots, airline drug and alcohol programs with random testing, strengthened oversight of aeromedical examiners and a European aeromedical data repository.
Boeing projects worldwide demand for 558,000 new commercial pilots and 609,000 maintenance technicians between 2015 and 2034 as airlines add a forecast 38,000 aircraft to the global fleet. Pilot demand is up more than 4% from last year’s forecast, and technician demand up by about 5%.
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.