Farnborough Airshow – Day 2 highlights

Added on 21 July 2010 by Tim Robinson

The RAeS Publications team report from #Farn10

Day 2 of the show continued to be sunny, both in weather and in the new sense of optimism that pervaded the show after Day 1’s bumper aircraft orders. In the halls and chalets, Tuesday also seemed to be much busier. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights

Civil orders continued with an order for 12 Boeing 737-800s worth some $920m from Irish leasing company Avolon. Boeing also picked up three more 787 orders from Royal Jordanian. Airbus, too, continued to rack up orders with a $4.2bn deal for 50 A320 family aircraft from LAN Airlines. Hong Kong Airlines upgraded A330s to A350 XWBs and ordered ten A330-200s. Leasing company RBS Aviation Capital ordered 52 A320-family aircraft and 42 Boeing 737s in an order valued at $7.6bn.

Alongside Airbus and Boeing, Embraer, too, benefitted from customers opening their wallets, with FlyBe ordering a deal which could reach 140 new aircraft and potentially £3.3bn. Firm orders were for 35 E-175 airliners, with options for 65 more and purchase rights for another 40.

Finally, Russia’s UAC/Irkut was also celebrating with a MoU from Ilyushin Finance for 28 MS-21 airliners, with options on a further 22.

On the military side of things Boeing unveiled a concept for a ‘stealthified’ Super Hornet, calling it a ‘roadmap’ for its international customers. While low-observabilty was played down, the Super Hornet moves any external fuel tanks to conformal tanks, while weapons are carried in an underbelly pod, reminiscent of the B-58 Hustler. Other advances include an undernose sensor/IRST window, and an advanced glass cockpit with massive touch screens. Tomorrow’s fighter pilot, says Boeing, will enjoy ‘drag and drop’ iPad-style ergonomics.

However, what excited defence hacks was a chart that revealed a ‘Propriety’ (and given the tight lipped non-answers - extremely classified) Boeing aerial system had gone into production this year. Given Boeing’s history in the X-45 UCAV, Bird of Prey, and the sudden emergence of the Phantom Ray, does this mean that a highly secret ‘black’ UCAV strike fighter is now in production?

A new entrant to UAVs is Turkey and in a media briefing Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) unveiled it had been working on a new MALE UAV, the Anka. Boasting 24hr endurance and with a de-icing system, the Anka will make its first flight in October.

Saab, meanwhile, had been awarded a contract by the European Defence Agency to study where Europe’s military technology gaps were and where extra work was needed out to 2035. Head of the EDA, Alexander Weis, said this study would not be ‘ammunition’ to be used against European defence ministers to promote greater European defence co-operation. However, he asked the rhetorical question – ‘can anyone name any major European complex weapon system that is ITAR-free?’ Will this study lead to less-dependent European forces? – especially in niche areas like UAVs where Europe currently buys US and Israeli products.

Meanwhile in helicopters, Sikorsky was celebrating after winning the first customer for the S-70i International Black Hawk, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of the Interior. It will take three S-70is with options on a further 12.

In business aviation, Bombardier announced a sale of four Global Express XRSs and two Challenger 605s to VistaJet.

And finally…

Bringing the show to a standstill at closing time was the departure of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner back to the US to resume its intensive flight test programme. The flying display guide was suitably vague – saying only 787 ‘departure’ and tantalisingly, ‘flyby’. Hopes therefore, seemed to be dashed when the 787 disappeared into the distance. Was it going home without waving goodbye? However, it returned with two specks accompanying it. F-22s? F-15s from Lakenheath perhaps? Or even RAF Typhoons? The escorts turned out to be better than all three - a pair of Supermarine Spitfires. As it passed the media centre, the Dreamliner effortlessly increased power to climb away from its escorts leaving crowds suitably impressed. Truly magnificent!

from the Royal Aeronautical Society

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2 Responses to “Farnborough Airshow – Day 2 highlights”

  1. The $25 billion worth of aircraft orders placed is great news, although defence budgets are under pressure its a relief the civilian sector has stepped in to place a significant proportion of the orders. I’m hoping new generation of private jets go on display at Farnborough that will make private jet hire companies roll out their cheque books

    • Tim.Robinson says:

      Yep - there’s definitely a mood of optimism at the show among the civil folk at the show - here’s hoping a rising tide lifts all boats.

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