Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fighter Jet Times - May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017

The U.S. Air Force is accelerating its timetable for updating the threat library for the F-35's electronic systems to include emerging Russian and Chinese stealth aircraft.

The U.S. Air Force is testing a lighter weight helmet system as part of ongoing efforts to enhance the F-35 stealth fighter.

Lockheed Martin has proposed a plan to upgrade the stealth coatings on the F-22 Raptor fleet to make them more durable.

Officials at Dassault plan to pitch proposals to India in coming months, for delivery of additional Rafale fighters.  India had previously capped its planned Rafale purchase at 36 aircraft, and opened a competition for a new single-engine fighter to lower the costs of recapitalizing its fighter fleet.

An Indian Su-30 fighter has gone missing near the border region with China.  No word has been received confirming the whereabouts of the pilot and navigator.

South Korean developers have turned to Israeli contractors to supply assistance in the development of an AESA (Active Electronic Scanned Array) radar for the KF-X stealth fighter now in the early stages of development.

Russia expects to receive some 50 production-standard PAK-FA stealth fighters by the end of 2019.

Spiraling costs and disagreements on technology transfer have reportedly prevented India and Russia from closing a deal on continued development of an Indian version of the PAK-FA fighter.

U.S. and Israeli warplanes participated in a joint training exercise in Israel over this past week.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Space Highlights - May 24, 2017

May 24, 2017

NASA has entered into an agreement with India's ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) to jointly place an Earth resources, radar mapping satellite into orbit in 2021 using India's GSLV rocket.

Rocket Lab's Electron small satellite rocket is expected to make its first orbital attempt later this week.  The new booster is aimed at the microsatellite market.

The first microsatellite to be developed and built in Slovakia is expected to be launched on a Falcon 9 rocket in early June.

Ireland's first satellite, developed by University College Dublin and Queen's University Belfast, is expected to be released as a piggy-back payload to the International Space Station.

NASA has released new images of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus, capturing the moon's polar regions in greater detail.

A new study canvasing data from the Cassini spacecraft has concluded that the geology of Saturn's largest moon Titan, with its river beds and lakes formed by liquid methane, resembles its counterparts on Mars more closely than its counterparts on Earth.

Researchers have now precisely mapped the orbits of all seven TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets - the outermost of which takes less than 19 Earth days to complete one orbit.

Despite a wide range of exoplanets identified within the past decade, no consistent classificiation system currently exists for identifying the various bodies.

Having failed to detect evidence for Axions, CERN's CAST detector has placed further limits on the sort of particles that might make up dark matter.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Wide Body Report - May 23, 2017

May 23, 2017

Luxury travel air carrier Deer Jet has added a second Boeing 787 to its fleet.

China's Hainan Airlines has signed a deal for the purchase of 19 aircraft from Boeing, including 13 Boeing 787-9s and 6 Boeing 737 MAX-8s.

Kuwait Airways has received its 7th Boeing 777-300ER.  Its full fleet of 777-300ER aircraft will be delivered by the third quarter of 2017.

General Electric has unveiled new details surrounding its new GE9X engine, slated for service aboard the Boeing 777X.

A threatened worker's strike at a supplier for key components in the Airbus A350 wing structure, has further jeopardized already late deliveries for the Airbus A350-900.

Singapore Airlines expects to phase out four of its oldest Airbus A380 superjumbo jets, in favor of new A350 aircraft that are expected to be delivered in the coming years.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Single Aisle News - May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017

Malaysia's Malindo Air has received the first Boeing 737 MAX-8 to be delivered to a customer.

Icelandair has arranged to sell the four Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that it has on order, in a sale and lease-back arrangement.  The aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2018 through 2019.

The U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission have announced that they are launching formal investigations into Bombardier's sale of 75 C-Series aircraft to Delta Air Lines, in response to Boeing's complaints that Bombardier was "dumping" the aircraft to win sales.  Delta is the only U.S. carrier with a standing order for the C-Series.

In response to Boeing's complaints over supposed unfair competition from Bombardier, the Canadian government has announced that it will be re-reviewing all proposed government purchases of Boeing products - including the proposed purchase of Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets that had previously seemed likely under the current Canadian government.

China's Comac is reportedly in talks with Canada's Bombardier over a possible plan for Chinese investment in the C-Series program.

UK budget carrier EasyJet has converted 30 of the Airbus A320 NEO aircraft that it has on order to the larger A321 NEO model.

Air Lease Corporation's CEO John Plueger expressed the lessor's concern over continued delays in the deliver of Airbus A320 NEO aircraft, with four more aircraft deliveries having been pushed out into 2018.  ALC's internal analysis reportedly shows that the fuel efficiency of the PW1100G-powered A320 NEO is "a little bit better" than that of its CFM International LEAP-1A powered alternative, but that maintenance issues that continue to hound the Pratt & Whitney engine.

Iran has scrapped plans for the purchase of regional jets from Japan's Mitsubishi.  The Iranians had been negotiating to buy over two dozen regional jets as of last September.

China's Comac expects to make its first customer deliveries of its new C919 airline beginning in 2020.  The aircraft entered flight test earlier this month.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Fighter Jet Times - May 19, 2017

May 19, 2017

The German government has requested a series of briefings on the F-35 stealth fighter, at a time when Germany is evaluating an eventual replacement for its Panavia Tornado strike jets.

The U.S. Air Force has confirmed that the modifications package to fix ejection seat issues on the F-35 stealth fighter have now been validated and will begin entering service shortly.  The F-35's ejection seat had previously restricted the airplane from being flown by lighter weight pilots, due to the potential for neck injuries during the ejection sequence.  The new version of the ejection system is intended to adjust for the pilot's weight.

Oman has taken delivery of its first Eurofighter Typhoon fighter, out of a total of twelve on order.

Two Chinese fighters intercepted a U.S. WC-135 surveillance aircraft over the East China Sea this past week, in what the U.S. complained was an unsafe intercept.

Japan scrambled F-15J fighters to the East China Sea to escort a Chinese drone away from a series of disputed islands.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Space Highlights - May 18, 2017

May 18, 2017

A Russian-made Soyuz rocket launched the Boeing-made SES-15 communications satellite into orbit this past week from French Guiana.

SpaceX launched the Inmarsat-5 F4 communications satellite into orbit aboard a FalconX booster this week.  This was the heaviest geosynchronous satellite launch yet made by a FalconX rocket, leaving no fuel remaining in the tanks to attempt a recovery of the booster's first stage.

Satellite photos indicate that North Korea is upgrading its Sohae launch facility, possibly for another satellite launch or ballistic missile test.

NASA has released another batch of photographs as the Cassini spacecraft continues its ring-diving orbits around Saturn.

The Opportunity rover has begun its descent into "Perserverance Valley," entering the rim of a giant Martian crater.

NASA officials have revealed that the Curiosity rover was very nearly lost some six months after it had landed on Mars, due to a software glitch that could have permanently disabled the rover.

NASA has released a new time-lapse video of the dwarf planet Ceres, as captured by the Dawn spacecraft.

Researchers have identified a moon orbiting the third largest dwarf planet, 2007 OR10 in the outer reaches of the solar system.

Researchers have successfully mapped the magnetic field lines of a giant exoplanet over 1000 light years away.  The planet, HAT-P-7b is nearly 80-percent more massive than Jupiter, and orbits its star every couple of days - leading to a very hot and active atmosphere.

Results released from the first trial run of the XENON1T, the most sensitive instrument yet devised to hunt for the existance of WIMPS (weakly interacting massive particles), has yet to find evidence for one of the hypothesized forms of dark matter.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wide Body Report - May 17, 2017

May 17, 2017

Singapore based low-cost carrier Scoot Airlines has taken delivery of its second Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

An ANA (All Nippon Airways) 787 Dreamliner made an emergency landing in Bratsk, Russia after reporting a problem with one of its Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.  The airplane was en route from Tokyo to Dusseldorf at the time.  Another aircraft was dispatched to complete the flight.

Delta Air Lines plans to shrink its business class seating aboard its Boeing 777 airlines in favor of additional economy seating in coming years.

Airbus' prototype A350-1000 has completed its first Early Long Flight with 310 passengers on board, including 10 Airbus flight test crew members, and 13 cabin crew members from Virgin Atlantic.  The airplane took off and landed in Toulouse after a 12-hour flight.  The Early Long Flight was intended to test out the passenger accommodations.

Delta has deferred delivery of 10 Airbus A350-900 aircraft from 2017-18 to 2019-2020.