The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $582 billion Pentagon budget that shifts major funds to a list of major weapons programs including the F/A-18, F-35, and Army rotorcraft. The new bill plans to reallocate $18 billion in wartime overseas contingency operations (“OCO”) funding toward base budget requirements, and adds more troops, jet aircraft, shipbuilding, and rotorcraft.
Airbus Group is aiming to become a key player and capture significant market share in the rapidly growing global drone industry. According to the Teal Group, the drone market was roughly $4 billion last year, and is expected to increase to roughly $14 billion a decade from now.
The prototype rotorcraft vying to replace the Army’s Black Hawk is scheduled to take its first flight in 2017. The prototypes are being developed for the Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator project, commissioned in 2013 after considering various new technologies, by a Sikorsky and Boeing team and Bell Helicopter.
Many aerospace & defense companies announced earnings this week, reporting mixed results across the board. Boeing’s Defense segment posted strong results, as revenues increased 18.5%; however, margins were down for the Commercial Airplanes division due to over $300 million in pretax charges on its new Air Force refueling tanker and 747-8 jetliner.
Airbus’s space unit and partner OneWeb are expected to announce plans for a new Florida factory capable of producing small, advanced communications satellites at an unparalleled rate. The joint venture will build the highly automated facility designed to assemble and test as many as 15 satellites in a week with production currently slated to begin sometime next year.
The Pentagon reached a $1.4 billion agreement with Connecticut-based Pratt & Whitney for 66 F135 engines, the power plant of the F-35 joint strike fighter, under the ninth low rate initial production (“LRIP”) lot. The breakdown consists of 53 conventional takeoff and landing engines, used in the F-35A and F-35C models, and 13 short takeoff and vertical landing models used for the F-35B.
The aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul (“MRO”) industry converged in Dallas, TX this week for Aviation Week’s MRO Americas, the industry’s largest trade show dedicated to MRO. Roughly 13,000 people attended the conference including corporate executives, industry analysts, and media personnel.
Boeing announced its plans to cut more than 4,500 jobs from its commercial airplane unit by June, as customer demands for less expensive jetliners force it to focus on reducing costs. The company has already cut 1,200 jobs from the commercial airplane unit this year, and the additional cuts will total roughly 5% of the unit’s workforce. As another way to reduce costs, Boeing also announced it will consolidate its 747 and 767 jet programs.