Lakota helicopter

  AFA Conference: The chairman and CEO of EADS North America is pressing the case of his company’s Lakota helicopters for the Air Force mission of protecting nuclear missile sites. In a letter hand-delivered today Fanning_Eric USAF UH72A 09.11.13┬áto Acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning, Sean O’Keefe argued that the Air Force’s plan to refit… Keep reading →


The Swedes who build the Gripen fighter are known for being practical, producing advanced fighters that are relatively cheap (at least compared to almost everyone else). At the Paris Air Show the Gripen folks, SaaB Group.┬ávery deliberately floated an interesting idea. Since the Gripen uses fly-by-wire technology and advanced avionics which virtually eliminate the need… Keep reading →

The MALE UAV designed by BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation is on display at Paris Air Show

PARIS AIR SHOW: If you think times are tough in the United States defense world, consider that three of Europe’s biggest defense companies, where defense budgets have been on a downward trajectory for a decade, have issued a plea for help building a European medium altitude drone. In a press release sent out simulatenously in… Keep reading →


America’s defense industry is deep in economic pessimism but the rest of the world isn’t defined by sequestration and the Afghan drawdown, and that will be very clear at next week’s Paris Air Show. This year’s show will probably be defined by commercial aviation, especially the twin aisle jet market. Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner will return… Keep reading →

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 →

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