Honda out to shake up market with first jet next year

By Chang-Ran Kim

TOKYO | Mon Jan 30, 2012

(Reuters) – Honda Motor Co (7267.T) expects to grab at least a quarter of the world market for small business jets soon after delivering its first aircraft next year, achieving the company’s long-standing goal of taking to the skies, an executive said.

Honda, Japan’s No.3 car maker and the world’s biggest manufacturer of motorcycles and engines, is in the final stages of getting its $4.5 million HondaJet certified. It aims to ramp up the pace of production to 80 a year in the first half of 2013.

Honda received more than 100 orders for the seven-seater jet in three days when it began taking orders in 2006, promising a quieter engine, 20 percent better fuel economy over competing models and operational costs of two-thirds or less.

It has not disclosed an updated number of orders, but Michimasa Fujino, a Honda executive and CEO of its North Carolina-based subsidiary, Honda Aircraft Company, said it held a backlog of about three years from orders taken through its nine dealerships in North America and Europe.

« I’m very optimistic about our prospects, » Fujino, who initiated Honda’s foray into aviation research in 1986, told a small group of reporters at the automaker’s Tokyo headquarters on Monday.

« We’re doing with HondaJet what the Civic did to American cars from the 1960s. Our competitors are still producing with technology from the 1990s, » he said, referring to Textron Inc’s (TXT.N) Cessna and Brazil’s Embraer SA (EMBR3.SA), which now dominate the 200-a-year small business jet market.

The Civic, known for its reliability, durability and mileage, has consistently been among the United States’ best-selling cars since its launch in 1973, forcing industry giants such as General Motors Co (GM.N) to follow suit with cars to meet the country’s tighter emissions regulations.

Honda’s ambition of making jets traces back to its iconic founder, Soichiro Honda. The HondaJet will make Honda the only car maker in the world to build its own aircraft.

Its engine is made by a joint venture between Honda and General Electric Co (GE.N).

Honda Aircraft is aiming to turn a profit by 2018, Fujino said.

BRAZIL, CHINA CLAMOURING FOR JETS

The business jet industry is expecting a rebound in sales this year after the global economic crisis hammered sales over the past three years.

While the small business jet market has traditionally been limited to North America and Europe so far, Fujino said he was fielding about a call a week from China, both from prospective buyers and eager dealers, while interest was also greater than he anticipated in Brazil, India and the Middle East.

« Right now we want to focus on delivering on the orders that we have, but I’d like to enter Brazil and China earlier than we’d initially planned, » he said, declining to specify a timeframe. New demand from emerging markets could expand the global small-jet market to about 300 a year, he said.

Fujino said he was also seeing more interest in the smallest end of the market as medium-sized jet users look to downsize to get more for their fuel, much like the trend in the car industry.

« Most of our customers are owners of small- and medium-sized businesses, and many are looking to get the most out of the jets that they need, » he said.

With operational costs of about $1,000-$1,200 an hour, HondaJet could make travelling in a group of five or six cheaper and more efficient than flying commercially between small cities, he said. Competitors offer at best $1,800 by comparison, he added.

Honda Aircraft will add 300-350 factory staff to bring its total workforce to around 1,000 in the first half of 2013, Fujino said.

(Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

Source: Reuters

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L-3 Awarded Contract for C-17 Training System Program

NEW YORK, May 18, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — L-3 Communications (NYSE: LLL) announced today that its Link Simulation & Training (L-3 Link) unit has been awarded a contract to operate the U.S. Air Force’s C-17 Training System (TS) program. In addition to an initial one-year award, the program includes four one-year options and an additional option for two more years of training support. The contract, which was originally awarded in November 2010, has a maximum potential value that is expected to be $976 million.

L-3 Link will operate the Air Force’s C-17 TS program as the prime contractor, combining the former stand-alone C-17 Aircrew Training System (ATS) and Maintenance Training System (MTS) programs under a single contract. The C-17 TS is the Air Force’s largest airlift transport training system.

« L-3 Link and our teammate, AAI Corporation, will provide a low-risk transition in support of both C-17 aircrew and maintenance training, » said Leonard Genna, president of L-3 Link. « Our goal throughout the life of the C-17 Training System will be to reduce overall contract costs, identify program improvement opportunities, provide innovative solutions and maximize the synergies between all areas of C-17 training operations. »

In support of the C-17 TS, L-3 Link will oversee the program management, training device modifications, courseware development, instruction and concurrency management between the training system and aircraft platform. AAI Corporation, which has operated the C-17 MTS since 1997, is responsible for maintenance training device production and modification in addition to all C-17 TS contractor logistics support. AAI will manage the C-17 maintenance training operation, while the U.S. Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command will continue to provide maintenance instruction. The C-17 TS operates 10 installations throughout the United States, including the newest C-17 installation at Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley.

AAI Corporation and its indirect wholly owned subsidiaries, Aerosonde Pty Ltd and ESL Defence Limited design, produce and support industry-leading aerospace and defense products and services, including unmanned aircraft and ground control technologies; high-fidelity training and simulation systems; automated aerospace test and maintenance equipment; armament systems; and logistical, engineering, supply chain and operational support services. AAI is an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company. More information is available at www.aaicorp.com.

L-3 Link Simulation & Training is a world leader in providing total training solutions for operators and maintainers across a wide range of military platforms and Air Traffic Control systems. L-3 Link’s innovative solutions provide a full spectrum of state-of-the-art training technologies, including high-fidelity immersive simulations, as well as distributed academic and interactive courseware. The company has delivered military training systems to customer locations throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim. L-3 Link is headquartered in Arlington, Texas, with key bases of operation in Binghamton, N.Y.; Orlando, Fla.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Broken Arrow, Okla.; and Phoenix, Ariz. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.link.com.

Headquartered in New York City, L-3 Communications employs approximately 63,000 people worldwide and is a prime contractor in C3ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) systems, aircraft modernization and maintenance, and government services. L-3 is also a leading provider of a broad range of electronic systems used on military and commercial platforms. The company reported 2010 sales of $15.7 billion.

To learn more about L-3, please visit the company’s website at www.L-3com.com. L-3 uses its website as a channel of distribution of material company information. Financial and other material information regarding L-3 is routinely posted on the company’s website and is readily accessible.

CAE lorgne un contrat pour des véhicules de combat

Publié le 11 mai 2011

Marie Tison

(Montréal) CAE fera équipe avec l’entreprise américaine Force Protection dans l’espoir de remporter un contrat de plus de 1,5 milliard pour la fourniture de 600 véhicules de combat pour la défense canadienne.

«Si nous l’emportons, nous aurons deux rôles, a indiqué la porte-parole de CAE, Pascale Alpha. Premièrement, nous fournirons le même genre de services de soutien que nous fournissons présentement pour les CF-18 à Mirabel et pour les hélicoptères maritimes dans les provinces de l’Atlantique. Deuxièmement, nous mettrons en place une équipe d’entreprises pancanadiennes pour répondre aux exigences du contrat.»

En juillet 2009, le gouvernement conservateur a annoncé son intention d’acquérir divers types de véhicules blindés pour remplacer ou compléter les véhicules utilisés actuellement par la Défense nationale. Ottawa entend notamment acquérir 500 véhicules blindés tactiques de patrouille afin d’effectuer des missions de reconnaissance et de transporter des troupes. Le contrat sera assorti d’une option pour 100 véhicules additionnels.

Plusieurs entreprises se sont déjà qualifiées pour participer au processus formel d’appel d’offres pour ces véhicules blindés de patrouille, dont Force Protection, Textron Marine and Land Systems, BAE Systems et Thales. Ces entreprises sont maintenant à la recherche de partenaires canadiens pour participer au processus d’appel d’offres parce que le gouvernement canadien exige des retombées industrielles régionales équivalentes à 100% de la valeur du contrat, évalué à plus de 1,5 milliard sur une période de 25 ans.

Si l’équipe Force Protection-CAE remporte le contrat, la part de CAE représentera environ la moitié de cette somme. Ce contrat permettrait de créer ou de conserver 250 emplois chez CAE, notamment à Mirabel, Montréal, au Nouveau-Brunswick et en Nouvelle-Écosse.

«Ce sont des emplois liés notamment aux logiciels et aux systèmes d’ingénierie impliqués dans les services de soutien», a spécifié Mme Alpha.

Le gouvernement devrait lancer l’appel d’offres en juillet 2011 et devrait attribuer le contrat au premier trimestre de 2012.

Source: La Presse

Pentagon Contract Announcement: Textron

Textron Marine & Land Systems, New Orleans, La., was awarded on March 24 a $64,332,732 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for the procurement of additional Knight vehicles, ASVs (M1200s and M1117s), and special tools.

Work will be performed in Slidell, La., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received.

The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-C-0532).

CPI Aerostructures Announces Order from Bell Helicopter for Structural Panels on AH-1Z ZULU

EDGEWOOD, N.Y., Mar 15, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) —

CPI Aerostructures, Inc. (« CPI Aero(R) ») (NYSE Amex: CVU) announced today that it has received a purchase order from Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, for the manufacture of various structural panel assemblies for the AH-1Z ZULU attack helicopter. The ZULU is a twin-engine attack helicopter used by the United States Department of Defense. The AH-1Z reached initial operational capability in September 2010 and was approved to begin full-rate production in December 2010. The initial delivery order to CPI Aero is for the production of one of the six panels plus associated tooling and other non-recurring charges.

Edward J. Fred, CPI Aero’s President & CEO stated, « We have worked hard to earn the Bell business and we are proud to now be a part of the Bell Helicopter supplier network. While the initial order requirement is small, we are hopeful that this will lead to more sizable orders as the aircraft transitions to full scale production. »

About Bell Helicopter

Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tilt rotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell’s global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.

About Textron Inc.

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, and Textron Systems. More information is available at www.textron.com.

About CPI Aero

CPI Aero is engaged in the contract production of structural and other aircraft parts for leading prime defense contractors, the U.S. Air Force, and other branches of the armed forces. CPI Aero also acts as a subcontractor to prime aircraft manufacturers in the production of commercial aircraft parts. In conjunction with its assembly operations, CPI Aero provides engineering, technical and program management services. Among the key programs that CPI Aero supplies are the E-2D Hawkeye surveillance aircraft, the UH-60 BLACK HAWK helicopter, the S-92(R) helicopter, the MH-60S mine countermeasure helicopter, the Gulfstream G650, C-5A Galaxy cargo jet, the A-10 Thunderbolt attack jet, and the E-3 Sentry AWACS jet. CPI Aero is included in the Russell Microcap(R) Index.

The above statements include forward looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, which are described from time to time in CPI Aero’s SEC reports, including CPI Aero’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010.

Bell Helicopter AH-1Z Earns Navy Initial Operating Capability designation ahead of schedule

Fort Worth, TX – March 13, 2011 – Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today that the U.S. Marine Corps’ newest attack helicopter, the AH-1Z Cobra, achieved Initial Operating Capability ahead of schedule in February.

« The AH-1Z is a magnificent machine and I am thrilled that the Zulu has now been designated ready for combat. » said John L Garrison, president Bell Helicopter. « The partnership between Bell Helicopter and the Navy-Marine Corp team demonstrates that we are both fully committed to providing world class equipment for our warfighters. »

The U.S. Marine Corps is replacing the two-bladed AH-1W with the AH-1Z, which features a new, four-bladed composite rotor system, performance-matched transmission, four-bladed tail rotor, two additional wing stores stations on larger stub wings, upgraded landing gear and a fully integrated glass cockpit. The AH-1Z will see a 120% increase mission radius with attack payload over the AH-1W.

As part of the H-1 Upgrade Program, the AH-1Z replaces the currently fielded AH-1W. The AH-1Z will serve a primary role in assault support, offensive air support and air reconnaissance. The Zulu will play a supporting role in anti-air warfare, electronic warfare, and control of aircraft and missiles.

« Getting the AH-1Z to IOC has been a huge achievement for the entire team, » said Col. Harry Hewson, program manager for U.S. Marine Corps Light and Attack Helicopters. « Now we get to put the Zulu in the hands of the Marines and prove that it is indeed the most capable marinized attack helicopter in the world. »

The H-1 Upgrade Program offers 84 percent commonality of major component parts between the AH-1Z and UH-1Y utility helicopters. This commonality reduces lifecycle and training costs and decreases the expeditionary logistics footprint for both aircraft.

The new Zulus feature 10,000 flight-hour airframes, a new four-bladed rotor system with semi-automatic blade fold of the new composite rotor blades, new performance matched transmissions, a new four-bladed tail rotor and drive system, upgraded landing gear, and pylon structural modifications. This will help the new Zulu to achieve a 39% increase in HOGE useful load over its predecessor. The Zulu also incorporates modernized, fully integrated cockpits/avionics that will reduce operator work load while improving situational awareness while being able to carry 32% more fuel.

The AH-1Z is equipped with two General Electric T700-GE-401 series engines and greatly increased lift capability and stores capacity, giving it a significantly greater ordnance payload for future growth potential. The primary weapon system is the Hellfire missile. It is fully shipboard compatible, and capable of operating from prepared or unprepared landing sites, day or night.

« The expeditionary agility that the Yankee/Zulu package brings to the Marine Air/Ground Task Force is exactly what the Marine Corps needs as we continue to fight two wars and conduct numerous other engagements in every clime and place, » Hewson said. « I am proud to be a part of the team that is making that happen. »

About Bell Helicopter
Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell’s global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries. More information is available at www.bellhelicopter.com.

About Textron Inc.
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron in known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, and Textron Systems. More information is available at www.textron.com.

AAI Shadow UAS Successfully Demonstrates Sense and Avoidance System

14:42 GMT, February 28, 2011 HUNT VALLEY, Md. | AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. company, announced today that it has successfully completed an unmanned flight demonstration of a Small Sense and Avoid System (SSAASy) on a Shadow 200 Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). AAI’s Shadow system has established a reputation as a mature, capable system during more than 600,000 flight hours, the majority of which have taken place in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. Army Ground Maneuver Product Manager Lt. Col. Andrew Hamilton stated, « This was the first successful demonstration of technology that will enable an airborne Sense and Avoid System on Army platforms. Building on the success of the ground-based Sense and Avoid System, this successful demonstration represents the next step toward an integrated air and ground-based sense and avoid solution allowing unmanned flights in the National Airspace System. »

The flight was conducted by AAI and SSAASy developer Defense Research Associates, Inc. (DRA) of Dayton, Ohio, under contract with the U.S. Army. Unique to this flight test was the participation of a manned aircraft provided by the U.S. Army. The Shadow aircraft flew an average altitude of 9,000 feet for more than two hours. The manned aircraft flew at 1,000 feet above and below the Shadow during the first flight test, and 500 feet above and below for the second.

The goals of SSAASy are to improve safety and training effectiveness with the ultimate objective of safely flying UAS in U.S. National Airspace System (NAS). The majority of current UAS flight time is overseas in military operations, however, flight crew training and development of UAS is conducted in the U.S. within restricted air space or under a Certificate of Authorization approved by the FAA.

« The advantages of being able to safely conduct UAS training operations in NAS are significant, » said AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems Senior Vice President and General Manager Steven Reid. « The limited training time available in and location of, restricted air space hinders training of flight crews. Achieving a reliable UAS sense and avoidance system removes these limitations while enabling the FAA to safely allow unmanned aircraft in the NAS. Beyond the military, there is also growing demand for UAS operations in law enforcement, border patrol and homeland security. »

The U.S. Air Force and DRA began developing an Electro-Optical Sense and Avoid System in 2001, and created the SSAASy program in 2007 as a technology transition initiative from the U.S. Air Force to the U.S. Army. This effort to miniaturize the existing Electro-Optical Sense and Avoid System has been supported by the Office of the Secretary of Defense Office of Technology Transition, U.S. Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center, Air Force Research Laboratory, U.S. Army Shadow Program Office and DRA since its initiation.

Textron Defense Systems Receives $257M Order to Supply Sensor Fuzed Weapons to Indian Air Force

BANGALORE, India — Textron Defense Systems, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. company, announced today that it has received a contract from the U.S. Air Force to produce 512 CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon (SFW) units for the Government of India under a Foreign Military Sale agreement. The total value of the contract is $257 million with $126 million funded immediately.

« We believe that SFW is truly the best area attack weapon in the world. Through a process of rigorous research, testing and analysis, we have created a weapon that is reliable, safe and meets current clean battlefield standards, » said Ellen Lord, senior vice president and general manager of Textron Defense Systems.

The Textron Defense Systems’ combat-proven SFW is unique among munitions systems because of its redundant technologies for clean battlefield operation. SFW has been engineered to eliminate the risk of unacceptable harm to civilians or non-combatants. As a result, it is the only air-delivered weapon that meets the strict unexploded ordnance (UXO) criteria for cluster munitions — requiring less than one percent UXO in intended operational environments — set forth by the U.S. Secretary of Defense in June 2008.

The first and only combat-proven clean battlefield weapon of its kind in the U.S. Air Force inventory, the SFW contains Textron Defense Systems’ BLU-108 submunition and smart Skeet warheads equipped with dual-mode passive infrared and active laser sensors. If a Skeet warhead does not detect a valid target over its lofted trajectory, one of its three safety modes will activate.

The first two modes enable the Skeet to self-destruct after eight seconds from launch or within a 50-foot (15 meters) altitude above the ground. Combined, these two features deliver greater than 99 percent reliability. The Skeet’s third mode automatically renders the Skeet inoperable via self-deactivation within minutes of hitting the ground.

Textron Defense Systems employs advanced technology and industry expertise to develop and manufacture innovative product solutions including air-and ground-based smart weapons; directed energy weapons; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, systems; and protection systems. Its distinctive solutions for U.S. and allied militaries, aerospace and homeland security communities provide precision effects, intelligence-gathering capabilities and force protection.

Textron Systems Corporation has been providing innovative solutions to the defense, homeland security and aerospace communities for more than 50 years.

Shadow Tactical UAS Program Wins Defense Logistics Best PBL Implementation Award

09:09 GMT, February 1, 2011 HUNT VALLEY, Md. | AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. company, announced today that the Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS) program received the Best PBL (Performance Based Logistics) Implementation award at the 7th Annual Defense Logistics Awards ceremony. This award was established to “honor, recognize and promote the logisticians in the U.S. Department of Defense and the Defense Industry that have made a significant contribution to military logistics.”

PBL allows the U.S. military to partner with industry to secure integrated life cycle support for components, sub-systems and systems, increasing asset readiness and minimizing total cost of ownership.

“AAI’s Shadow TUAS is the most utilized tactical unmanned aircraft system today having accumulated nearly 590,000 flight hours to date,” says Senior Vice President and General Manager of AAI Logistics & Technical Services Diane Giuliani. “That record results from quality design and manufacturing, skilled military operators, and robust maintenance and logistics support. Our AAI/Army UAS Project Office team implements and refines best practices and continuous improvement methodologies to achieve an exceptionally high average availability rate of 97 percent. In addition, we’ve helped our customer maintain or decrease associated cost of ownership while the fleet size has grown aggressively.”

The team’s achievements include the rapid fielding of several system reliability enhancements, including a new parachute that has reduced aircraft damage during parachute recoveries by 62 percent, as well as a new oil pump system that eliminated cold-weather oil flow-related incidents.

In addition, strategies like AAI’s successful public/private partnerships with Letterkenny Army Depot and Tobyhanna Army Depot set up an efficient supply chain in which AAI’s field service representatives provide an important first line of defense in the field for Shadow TUAS repairs and maintenance, with depot-level support for additional infrastructure and labor.

Bell 429 Helicopter Awarded Brazilian Certification

FORT WORTH, TEXAS — Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, has announced that the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC) has awarded the Bell 429 helicopter Brazilian certification. This approval follows certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Canada (TC) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

« This certification clears the way for the Bell 429 to operate in Brazil, where we already have a significant established base of Bell Helicopter operators, » said Larry Roberts, Senior Vice President, Commercial Business, Bell Helicopter. « Brazil represents an important market for us and the 429, with its superior hot and high performance capability, power, speed, and flexible and expansive cabin, is ideally suited for the range of missions demanded by the Brazilian market. We look forward to delivering the first 429 into Brazil. »

Deliveries of the Bell 429 into Brazil will begin in early 2011. Orders for the new aircraft were placed following a highly successful regional tour that impressed customers throughout Latin America.

The Bell 429 already has a presence in Latin America with aircraft currently operating in Argentina. Since its introduction, the aircraft has received strong acceptance from customers around the globe including Asia Pacific, India and Europe.

The Bell 429 was first certified in mid-2009 as a single-pilot instrument flight rules (SPIFR), Category A helicopter under the latest requirements of Part 27 airworthiness rules by U.S., Canadian and European authorities. It is designed and built to more stringent airworthiness standards than any other light twin-engine helicopter.

Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tilt rotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell’s global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.

Source: Bell