With a firm launch order for 20 aircraft from fractional-ownership Flexjet, and increased engineering, management and eventually manufacturing support from Airbus Group, Aerion aims to formally launch development of its AS2 supersonic business jet by mid-2016 following selection of an engine. First flight is planned for 2021 and entry into service in 2023. Read more
San Francisco-based Cobalt Aircraft has begun taking orders for the Co50 Valkyrie-X, an all-composite, four-seat, experimental-category aircraft with stall-resistant canard configuration. It is also taking pre-orders for a certificated Valkyrie planned for 2017. Read more
Winglet specialist Aviation Partners is forming a joint venture with adaptive-structures developer FlexSys to commercialize morphing wing technology flight-tested by NASA on a Gulfstream III fitted with seamless compliant trailing-edge flaps developed by FlexSys. Read more
Nextant Aerospace has received FAA certification for its G90XT remanufactured Beechcraft King Air C90. The aircraft is re-engined with General Electric H75 turboprops, has Garmin G1000 flight-deck avionics and a new interior. Production is to begin in 2016. Read more (subscribers)
Cessna is to enter the large-cabin business-jet market with the clean-sheet, 4,500-nm-range Citation Hemisphere, to fly in 2019. With a 102in.-wide cabin, the aircraft is larger than the Citation Columbus canceled in 2009. The Citation Longitude (pictured), to fly in 2016, has been repositioned below the Hemisphere, with range reduced to 3,400 nm. Read more
General Electric has launched an 850-1,600-shp family of turboprop engines with the 1,300-shp powerplant picked by Textron Aviation to power Beechcraft’s new single-engine turboprop. To be developed in Europe, the family will challenge Pratt & Whitney Canada’s market-dominating PT6A – a significantly improved PT6A-140A version of which has been launched. Read more
Lockheed Martin has received FAA approval for its plan to certify the LMH-1 cargo hybrid airship. The plan is based on criteria for commercial operation of non-rigid hybrid airships developed by Lockheed’s Skunk Works and based on German airship certification rules. Lockheed plans to have the 20-ton-payload LMH-1 available as early as 2018.
Bombardier has completed CS100 flight testing and is close to Transport Canada certification for the initial C Series variant. Canada’s new Liberal government, which has been asked to join Quebec in investing in the C Series, says it will not allow jets at Toronto’s downtown airport, jeopardizing Porter Airlines’ CS100 order. Read more (subscribers)
Russian officials say a self-made explosive device equivalent to 1 kg of TNT was set off on board Metrojet flight 9628, which broke up in flight after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, on Oct. 31, killing all 224 people on board. This confirms U.K. and U.S. assumptions that a bomb was involved. Read more
CFM International expects certification of the first Leap engine, the Leap-1A for Airbus’s A320neo, by the end of November. With the Leap-1B for Boeing’s 737 MAX and Leap-1C for Comac’s C919 to follow, the development effort by the General Electric/Snecma company includes 82 engines, 20 test stands and two flying testbeds. Read more (subscribers)
Wikipedia Creative Commons/Jian Kang
Turkey has canceled a controversial agreement to buy a $3.4 billion long-range air and missile defense system from China, and will instead develop a system locally. The decision followed an evaluation by Ankara’s defense industry executive committee. The 2013 selection of China’s HQ-9 over European and U.S. systems shocked Turkey’s NATO allies.
Boeing has completed initial airworthiness testing of the KC-46A tanker equipped with centerline refueling boom and underwing pods. Following fuel-dock testing to validate fuel-system and boom controls, the U.S. Air Force hopes to begin aerial refueling demonstration flights in late December or early January. Read more
The U.S. Air Force may solicit bids for 72 new F-15s, F-16s or even F/A-18E/Fs if budget issues put planned production rates for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter out of reach, senior service and industry officials said at a fighter conference in the UK on Nov. 19. Such a procurement would sustain force numbers and provide additional modern aircraft. Read more
Saudi Arabia is broadening its agreement with Antonov to develop and build a new version of the An-32 medium transport to include special-mission derivatives of the improved An-132D, four for surveillance and two for jamming. To be built by Taqnia Aerospace in Saudi Arabia, the An-132D will be re-engined with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A turboprops and is planned to fly in late 2016. Read more (subscribers)
U.S. Air Force
Denmark's government is expected in December to recommend the Lockheed Martin F-35 as the replacement for its F-16s, say industry executives. The decision is not a surprise as Denmark was a Joint Strike Fighter partner nation. Belgium is likely to release a request for proposals in January/February for its own F-16 replacement. Read more
Airbus Helicopters is targeting operators of Russian rotorcraft with a re-launched Super Puma helicopter built in Romania. The company is spending €50 million ($53 million) on the new final assembly facility near Brasov to build the 8.6 metric ton H215, the former AS332 Super Puma family currently built in France. Deliveries are to begin in 2017. Read more (subscribers)
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.