High-end business jets are a strong market. General Dynamics' first-quarter results, announced last month, show the continued evolution of the company from an almost pure-play defense prime to a company deriving nearly half (45%) of its earnings from Gulfstream Aerospace and Jet Aviation, two units that focus on manufacturing, completing, and supporting high-end ($26 million-plus) jets.
The launch Friday of SpaceX's Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket to the International Space Station (ISS) is important for at least three primary reasons. First, because the vehicle carries about 5,000 pounds of supplies (including food and new spacesuits) to ISS aboard its Dragon capsule. The station currently houses a six-man crew -- Oleg Artemyev, Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Tyurin of Russia; Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson of the United States; and Koichi Wakata of Japan.
Harris is seeking to maintain its leadership in global defense communications markets while pursuing opportunities to grow in public safety communications. International markets are a particular priority.
JSTARS plans have been in flux for a few years now, as the specter of cancellation of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has loomed over the Air Force and major upgrade funding for other important programs has been withheld. In 2013 the Air Force has been more proactive about saying they will not fund a major JSTARS upgrade before retirement, but the list of upgrades in the FY14 budget is still a long list. And sustainment alone is very expensive, so why not continue at least with electronics upgrades?
US Court of Federal Claims Judge Susan Braden's injunction on Wednesday prohibiting United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Denver, Colorado, from procuring more RD-180 liquid-fuel engines from NPO Energomash (through the US-Russian joint venture RD AMROSS) could have much broader implications for the United States than first meets the eye.
At last month's Singapore Airshow, Boeing executives discussed the 200-280-seat segment as a potential market for the company's next new jet. Airbus also has examined a new jet in this class. There are valid reasons to believe this will be the next new jetliner that one or both companies pursue, and that it will open a pivotal battleground.
Ariane 5ME (Midlife Evolution) is a proposed European solid- and liquid-fueled, heavy-lift expendable launch vehicle. It was originally known as the Ariane 5ECB (Evolution Cryotechnique type B). The vehicle is being designed as an upgrade to the Ariane 5ECA rocket and intended as a bridge to the next-generation Ariane 6, which is scheduled to enter service in 2021. Plans call for the first qualification flight of the Ariane 5ME in mid-2018. The designated launch site is the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.
Future prospects for the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter are somewhat thin. India is the best short-term prospect, with a likely order for 22. But on the positive side, the challengers are not looking great. The AH-1Z looks hopeless after South Korea. Eurocopter's Tiger looks rather sickly. In theory, the re-born AW129 (with Turkish help) could play a role, but the odds aren't in its favor. It lacks the heavy attack and sensor capabilities of the Longbow Apache. It also lacks the US stamp of approval. The two designs are effectively in different market niches.