By Carl Chance, Wings Over Kansas’s aviation & aerospace correspondent, former news consultant and producer for Wingspan Air & Space Channel.
Boeing Rolls Out First EA-18G Growler:
The Boeing Company recently rolled out the U.S. armed forces’ newest airborne electronic attack aircraft, the EA-18G Growler, on time and within budget.
Boeing presented the aircraft to a crowd of more than 750 U.S. Navy customers, industry partners and Boeing employees during a ceremony at its Integrated Defense Systems facilities in St. Louis. U.S. Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, Chief of Naval Operations and guest speaker at the ceremony, said, “The Growler is a model of what a strong strategic relationship between the Navy and industry can do. It represents acquisition excellence at its finest. This program has saved billions of dollars with an innovative approach.
“It is clear that the demand for electronic warfare is not only going to remain high, but is going to grow,” the admiral said during his remarks. “The Growler was designed and built to answer that call. Its speed, range and robust self-defense systems will serve as force multipliers for naval aviation and greatly strengthen the entire joint force.”
A derivative of the combat-proven, two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet, the EA-18G’s highly flexible design enables warfighters to perform an array of airborne electronic attack (AEA) missions, operating from either the deck of an aircraft carrier or land-based fields. The EA-18G integrates the capabilities of the most advanced AEA system, designed and produced by the Northrop Grumman Corporation, which recently completed tests on the EA-6B, with the advanced weapons, sensors and communications systems found on the Super Hornett.
Boeing wins South Korea’s Surveillance Plane Project:
The Times Of Oman recently reported that Boeing Aircraft Company was named to supply surveillance planes as South Korea upgrades its ability to monitor the movement of North Korean forces, officials announced.
The project is aimed at upgrading South Korea’s early warning capability, with the first two surveillance planes to be deployed in 2009 and the other two in 2011.
South Korea, which is still technically at war with North Korea, has no air surveillance system of its own and depends on US airborne reconnaissance aircraft based at Okinawa in Japan.
South Korea has generally favored defense equipment from the United States, which has kept troops there since the 1950-53 Korean War to deter aggression by North Korea.
In 2005, Seoul picked Eurocopter as lead partner in a multi-billion dollar project to develop multi-purpose military helicopters. Early in 2006, an Israeli firm won an 80 million-dollar deal to upgrade optical surveillance systems on South Korean fighter aircraft.
Continental Airlines, Launch Customer for 12 Boeing 737-900Ers:
Boeing and Continental Airlines announced that Continental will become the first airline in the America’s and the first two-class carrier to operate Boeing’s newest and largest-capacity member of the Next-Generation 737 family, the -900ER.
Continental converted orders for 12 Next-Generation 737s to the new 737-900ER model. Boeing will deliver Continental’s first 737-900ER in 2008. Last month Continental Airlines ordered an undisclosed mix of 24 Next-Generation 737s along with 10, 787 Dreamliners.
“The 737-900ER will support Continental’s growth with the excellent economics, reliability and range of the Next-Generation 737 family and provide greater capacity than the 737-800,” said Ray Conner, vice president, Sales, the Americas, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The 737-900ER will provide these important enhancements on routes up to 3,200 nautical miles (5,900 km).
Raytheon Aircraft Services Signs Contract Extension with All Nippon Airways for Pilot Training Maintenance Program:
Raytheon Aircraft Services (RAS) has signed a three-year contract extension with International Flight Training Academy (IFTA) to continue a highly successful pilot training program in Bakersfield, Calif. for All Nippon Airways (ANA).
The IFTA, which began in 1992, is Tokyo-based ANA’s official pilot training center. RAS has provided total maintenance, inspection and repair support for ANA’s fleet of 17 Beechcraft Bonanzas and 8 Barons since the program began.
Hawker 850XP to Tour South America:
Raytheon Aircraft Company (RAC) will soon be launching a tour of the Hawker 850XP in South America. The aircraft will tour several countries in South America beginning Aug. 7th, including Argentina, Brazil and Chile. It will also participate in an open hose with Beechcraft and Hawker sales representative Lider Signatires S.A. at their facility at the Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 8th and 9th.
This will be the Hawker 850XP’s first tour of South America following successful tours in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and Central America. Demand for the eight-passenger, 2,700 nautical mile rage business jet has been high resulting in the next aircraft not being available until late in the first quarter 2007.
“The Hawker 850XP captures the perfect balance of speed, range, and comfort,” said Ted Farid, vice president, International Sales. He added: “Built with exceptional quality and reliability, the Hawker 850XP is uniquely suited for the vast expanses and rugged conditions of South America. The Hawker 800-series aircraft remain the world’s best selling midsize jet for these very reasons. This tour is an excellent opportunity for customers to see first hand the airplane’s wonderful attributes.”
I’ll have more news and items of interest in my next report. Please keep logging on to www.wingsoverkansas.com for weekly aviation and aerospace update stories, features, history and more.
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