NATIONAL HARBOR, MD: Degraded Visual Environment, or DVE, is jargon for the problem helicopter pilots face when their rotors kick up blinding clouds of dust or other debris. DVE also describes the problem the entire rotorcraft industry is facing as it tries to anticipate what new aircraft the Army can actually afford in this blindingly uncertain federal budget situation. At this week’s Army Aviation Symposium, hosted outside Washington by the Association of the United States Army, the future was obscured by the fog, not of war, but of funding.
“We’re trying to see 20 years into the future, really,” said EADS. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Reports that the Army has finally figured out whether the Hamlet of aircraft programs, Armed Aerial Scout, should be or not be are greatly exaggerated. Army aviation acquisition officials have looked at what birds in hand industry can offer to replace the service’s aging OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout helicopters and have decided they’d prefer to go after a bird in the bush. They’re still trying to decide, though, whether they can actually afford one.
The Army has been struggling for more than 20 years to come up with an aircraft to replace the Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. OH-58, which first went into service in 1969 and has been upgraded several times. Rumors were reported last week that a decision had been made to buy a new Armed Aerial Scout after a Pentagon meeting. At that session, Army aviation officials briefed the service’s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, Heidi Shyu, on the results of flight demonstrations of helicopters manufacturers could offer for the armed scout role. They also presented options and a recommendation, but no decisions were reached. Keep reading →
In the aftermath of the EADS-BAE merger being called off, speculation continues about the outlook for defense merger and acquisition (M&A) activity – andwhat impact that will have on government and suppliers.
CORRECTED Oct. 19, 2012, 9:30 a.m. to clarify imprecise information provided during the EADS press briefing.
WASHINGTON: The U.S. arm of European aerospace and defense giant EADS urged the Army on Thursday to buy new armed scout helicopters instead of upgrading its aging OH-58D Kiowa Warriors — and challenged competitors to top the performance two potential EADS entries recorded in recent flight demonstrations. Keep reading →
[Corrected at 4:50 pm to fix misquotation; see note below] With today’s spectacular but not unanticipated collapse of the mega-merger between Airbus parent company EADS and British armsmaker BAE, what’s next? The conventional wisdom is that BAE, the smaller of the two firms, is now vulnerable. But top analysts tell Breaking Defense that, in many ways, the reaction against the deal by both the German government and the stock market is a bigger rebuff for EADS.
Here’s the conventional wisdom in a capsule: “There will almost certainly be greater pressure on BAE Systems than EADS to reveal a plan B strategy as soon as possible,” wrote IHS Jane’s analyst Guy Anderson in a widely distributed email. “[T]he company has put itself firmly out on the field in terms of merger discussions….Investors are unlikely to be satisfied with business as usual.” Keep reading →
Paris and Berlin are in a bind as British-based BAE and Franco-German giant EADs, the parent company of Airbus, seek approval to merge into the world’s largest aerospace company.
If the French and German governments accept the companies’ current merger terms, their ability to influence the new tri-national behemoth will be sharply diminished and they will possess less power to protect their citizens’ job. If they demand greater influence, however, they may scupper the deal altogether, because both investors and the US government are leery of Franco-German meddling. Keep reading →
Today’s surprise announcement that UK-based arms-maker BAE and Airbus parent EADS are exploring a merger — sort of, maybe, if their respective boards approve an extremely complex deal that creates a so-called “dual-listed” entity in which each partner still issues its own separate stock — sent shockwaves throughout Europe and through the commercial aviation industry worldwide, but its impact on the US defense market is likely to be limited.
“Assuming a deal is completed, we do not see it as an immediate game changer for the U.S. defense sector,” wrote Capital Alpha analysts Bryon Callan and Russell Taylor in an analysis released this afternoon. Keep reading →
COLUMBUS, MISS: You can’t blame industry for being a bit wary about the Army’s third attempt to get its Kiowa replacement program off the ground. First there was the Comanche. Then the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter. Now there’s the Armed Aerial Scout.
But this time, competitors know how high the stakes are for the Army on AAS. They also know how quickly powerpoint designs and cost estimates can fall apart once work begins. Keep reading →
Paris: Aerospace reporters began grumbling about the paucity of U.S. defense news at this year’s Paris Air Show by the end of the second day.
While defense companies don’t go to air shows to make news, they are important venues for them to gain bragging rights and to set the tone of the debate about the competitions in which they are engaged. Keep reading →
Paris: It’s a helicopter, but it’s not ungainly. It’s a helicopter, but it has two forward-facing propellers. It’s a helicopter but it flies as fast as some planes.
It is the X3, a very high-speed helicopter built by European defense giant EADS. It’s already set one speed record, zooming at 279.6 miles per hour (232 knots or 450 km per hour). A remarkably attractive helicopter, the X3 is described quite completely by this paragraph from EADS: Keep reading →