Thursday, December 29, 2016

Fighter Jet Times - December 29, 2016

December 29, 2016

Debate continues to swirl around whether the United States should continue to ramp-up production of the F-35 stealth fighter, or should instead adopt a less expensive, non-stealthy alternative as some have suggested.

Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney has received a $382 million contract to provide support and maintenance services for the F119 engines that power the F-22 stealth fighter.

A second, evolved version of China's FC-31 stealth export fighter has made its first flight.  The FC-31 has been targeted primarily at China's export customers, much like the JF-17 that was produced for service in Pakistan.  For domestic use, China has continued to focus on the much larger J-20 stealth fighter.

China's first aircraft carrier is on its way into the South China Sea for trials, placing armed forces across the region on an elevated state of alert.

Indian defense officials have reported that India needs to place another order for some 200 fighter jets, to replace its aging fleet of warplanes over the next decade.

After 36 years of operation, Israel has retired its last F-16A/B "Netz" fighter jets.  The F-16A/B participated in many Israeli military operations, including the bombing of Iraq's Osirak nuclear weapons complex in 1981.  Some 40 early-model F-16s from Israeli air force service are currently available for resale to qualifying customers.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Space Highlights - December 28, 2016

December 28, 2016

China has launched a pair of high-resolution remote Earth sensing tosatellites into orbit, labeled SuperView-1 01/02.  The satellites were launched aboard a Long March 2D rocket.

China also launched the TanSat carbon monitoring satellite, intended to track the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

India's ISRO is preparing to make a record setting launch attempt in January, when it will attempt to launch 83 satellites aboard a single rocket.

NASA has released additional, close-up views of Saturn's moon Pandora, as captured by the Cassini spacecraft during its ring-grazing orbits.

The new orbital path of the Cassini spacecraft has effectively ended close-up study of Saturn's giant moon, Titan.  Images of Titan from last June, which reveal changes in the circulation patterns of Titan's clouds and atmosphere, continue to baffle scientists who are attempting to unravel the mysteries of the cloud-covered moon.

NASA's Curiosity rover is on the move again, although its rock drill is still out of commission.

Europe's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has captured its first image of the Martian moon Phobos.

A new study suggests that Neptune-sized gas giants appear to be common fare in the outer reaches of many of the solar systems where exoplanets have been identified.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Wide Body Report - December 27, 2016

December 27, 2016

Boeing closed out its 2016 year with the delivery of its 500th 787 Dreamliner - a 787-8 delivered to Avianca.

United Airlines has taken delivery of its first 777-300ER.  United has another 13 examples due for delivery in 2017.

Lufthansa has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-900, out of a total order for 25 aircraft.

Airbus expects to further reduce its production rate for the A380 - the second such announcement within the past year.  Airbus had previously revealed plans to cut production from 27 aircraft in 2016, to 20 in 2017, and down to a projected total of 12 in 2018.  Airbus now plans to slash its 2017 production rate to just 14 aircraft.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Single Aisle News - December 26, 2016

December 26, 2016

The government of Brazil has announced plans to lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Canadian government funding in support of Bombardier's C-Series program.  Bombardier officials have continued to emphasize that all government support supplied for the C-Series was previously reviewed and was within WTO guidelines.

A third Mitsubishi Regional Jet prototype has arrived in the United States for flight test.  A single flying prototype still remains in Japan at this time.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has acknowledged that the timeline for customer deliveries of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet is expected to slip for the fifth time, from the current date of mid-2018.  A new delivery date target has not been announced.

Hawaiian Airlines is expected to receive its first Airbus A321 NEO aircraft at least three months later than planned, due to delays in engine deliveries from manufacturer Pratt & Whitney.

CFM International has obtained certification of its LEAP-1C engine from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the FAA in advance of the first flight test of China's C919 prototype airliner.  The LEAP-1C is a derivative of the LEAP-1A that is offered as an engine option for the Airbus A320 NEO.

Russia's Irkut Corp. has begun vibratory frequency testing for its MC-21 airliner, in preparation for first flight in 2017.  The first prototype, equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW1400G Geared TurboFan (GTF) engines was rolled out on June 8th.

Questions continue to circulate regarding the future plans for Russia's PD-14 engine, developed as an indigenous Russian alternative to the U.S.-developed PW1400G that will power early versions of the Irkut MC-21 airliner.  To date, the PD-14 has only been ordered by two domestic MC-21 customers.  The Russian engine recently entered its second-round of flight tests.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fighter Jet Times - December 22, 2016

December 22, 2016

Investigators have determined that a fire aboard a USMC F-35B fighter this past October could be traced back to an insecure bracket in the weapons bay.  The loose wiring bracket led to an electrical spark, which ignited a fire in the hydraulic system.

Carrier landing trials have determined that the symbology on the F-35's helmet-mounted display is still too bright for night operations, making it difficult for the pilots to land the airplane.

In response to complaints from President-elect Donald Trump, the F-35 program chief, Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan has emphasized that airplane unit costs have continued to fall as production slowly ramps-up.

Rumors continue to circulate that China is preparing for flight test of a purported stealth bomber, labeled the H-20.

Russia's Sukhoi has released fresh pictures of its T-50 stealth fighter prototype, as the aircraft inches towards production-ready status.

Japan has approved a record $44 billion defense budget for 2017, which includes investments for the supply of F-35 fighters and new submarines.

India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has officially floated a tendor for the supply of active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar systems for the Mark-1A version of India's Light Combat Aircraft.  The Indian military has placed an order for 83 of the new fighters.

Israel's air force has selected Raytheon's APG-82(V)1 AESA radar to upgrade its F-15I fleet.  Israel's F-15Is were delivered in the 1990s, prior to the introduction of an AESA radar for the F-15.

Boeing's first prototype for its entry into the T-X advanced fighter trainer competition has made its first flight.  Boeing is partnered with Saab to develop the all-new trainer design, which features a General Electric F404 engine.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Space Highlights - December 21, 2016

December 21, 2016

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket successfully launched the EchoStar 19 communications satellite into orbit.

NASA launched the first Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) satellite, intended to observe hurricane wind patterns, aboard an Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket.

Japan's Epsilon rocket launched the ERG satellite into orbit in what was only the second launch attempt for the new rocket model.  The Exploration of Energisation and Radiation in Geospace (ERG) spacecraft is expected to study the Earth's magnetosphere and radiation belts.

Operation of Curiosity's rock drill has continued to be suspended, as engineers explore why the Mars rover's drill mechanism became jammed.

The ESA's Trace Gas Orbiter is preparing to adjust its orbit around Mars, so that it can begin its mission to study the Martian atmosphere.

A new study suggests that the recurring slope linea (RSL) that have been observed on some Martian hills, mountains and valleys, could be caused by trace amounts of water in the Martian atmosphere rather than by subsurface water in the Martian soil, as was previously assumed.  The seasonal markings bear the signature of hydrated salts, indicating the presence of liquid water.  The new study, however, suggests that the water might be from the thin Martian atmosphere.

Despite the near total absence of surface ice, researchers have concluded that the asteroid Ceres contains a considerable quantity of sub-surface water ice, based on observations from NASA's Dawn spacecraft.

NASA has released stunning new images from the Cassini spacecraft, including views of Saturn's moon Mimas against the backdrop of Saturn's rings, as the Cassini spacecraft begins its ring-grazing orbital finale.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Wide Body Report - December 20, 2016

December 20, 2016

Boeing has confirmed plans to further trim production of its 777 airliner, as demand for the existing model dries up and customers await the introduction of the 777X.  Production is expected to be slashed from the 8.3 per month average produced today to 5 per month by next August.

Air Tanzania has been revealed as a previously unidentified customer for a single Boeing 787-8 airline on the order books.

Singapore Airlines has announced plans to open up a route between Manchester, England and Houston aboard the Airbus A350-900 in 2017, as well as a route connecting Stockholm with Moscow.

Iran has finalized its previously announced deal with Airbus for the delivery of 100 aircraft, a week after announcing a similar deal for 80 aircraft with Boeing.  Both deals may become subject to a threat of renewed U.S. sanctions, which have been proposed by the U.S. Congress as well as by President-elect Donald Trump.  The final agreement with Airbus also eliminates an option for the potential purchase of 18 Airbus A380 super-jumbo jets.

Scandanavian Airlines (SAS) has delayed the delivery of its Airbus A350-900 aircraft by more than a year.

Airbus intends to delay delivery of its first A330 NEO by three months, from December 2017 to March 2018 due to developmental delays.  The re-engined A330 NEO is powered exclusively by the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engine.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Single Aisle News - December 19, 2016

December 19, 2016

Bombardier's CEO, Alain Bellemare has indicated that the days of steep discounts on C-Series sales - offered to entice many of the early customers to commit to a deal - are coming to an end in 2017.

Latvia's airBaltic has completed its first revenue flight with the CS300 C-Series.

Embraer reports that its E-Jet E2 flight test program is "on schedule" with more than 300 flight hours logged.

AerCap Holdings has delivered the first A320 NEO airplane on lease to a Chinese airline.  The airplane, equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines, was delivered to China Southern Airlines.

Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) took delivery of its first A320 NEO, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines.  The airplane is expected to enter revenue service in January.

Pratt & Whitney has obtaine joint-type certification from the FAA and EASA for the A321 NEO, powered by the PW1100G engine.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Fighter Jet Times - December 18, 2016

December 18, 2016

Following a six hour delay due to fog in Italy, the first two F-35 fighters arrived in Israel.  The two aircraft made their first flight test in Israel the following day.

The U.S. has delivered the first batch of four F-15SA fighters to Saudi Arabia, out of a total order of 84 aircraft.  The F-15SA will join the F-15S, F-15C, and Eurofighter Typhoon fighters that already make up Saudi Arabia's air force.

The U.S. and U.K. have signed an agreement to permit U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs to operate off of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, once the new carrier becomes operational in 2021.

Shares of Lockheed-Martin took a tumble, following comments by President-elect Donald Trump claiming that the F-35 program was "out of control."

The U.S. Air Force has announced plans to begin flying the F-22 Raptor out of air bases in northern Australia for the first time in 2017.

China is expected to receive its first four Su-35 fighters from Russia by the end of December.

Japan and China continue to trade accusations over close-range encounters between Japanese and Chinese warplanes over contested air space in the East China Sea.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Space Highlights - December 14, 2016

December 14, 2016

NASA aborted the launch of a Hurricane tracking satellite due to a problem with a hydraulic pump.  The launch has been rescheduled for later this week.  The satellite is expected to be the first of an eight-satellite fleet, which will be launched aboard an Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket, from an L-1011 carrier aircraft.

Inmarsat has formally announced that it will transfer the launch of its next communications satellite from SpaceX to an Arianespace booster, due to delays in the SpaceX launch schedule.  SpaceX's last booster exploded on the launch pad during the fueling of the rocket this past September.

China has successfully launched an upgraded, Fengyun-4 weather satellite aboard a Long March 3B rocket.

NASA has released the first set of photographs captured by the Cassini spacecraft during a "ring-grazing" orbit.  The photos include images of a tiny moon creating ripples in Saturn's rings, as well as images of hexagonal cloud formations at Saturn's northern pole.

NASA's Juno spacecraft has made its third close-approach to Jupiter's cloud-tops.  NASA expects to receive the full data download from the spacecraft's encounter in the coming days.

Researchers have released observations of the cloud systems on an exoplanet some 1,044 light years away, reporting that the Jupiter-sized gas giant bears the chemical traces of ruby and sapphire particles, that are apparently whipped through its hot cloud systems.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Wide Body Report - December 13, 2016

December 13, 2016

United Airlines expects to introduce service aboard its new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in February, after receiving its first aircraft at the end of December.

Kuwait Airways has welcomed its first Boeing 777-300ER.  Regular commercial service with the type is expected to commence in the upcoming weeks.

Boeing has begun tests of the new Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-TEN, in preparation for flight aboard the first 787-10 prototype.  The initial flights have been made aboard an existing 787-9 airframe.

Cathay Pacific has announced that the A350 will be assigned to fly the airline's Brisbane-to-Hong Kong route, marking the first A350 to service Brisbane.

Airbus has presented Etihad Airways with an award for "Top Operational Excellence" in A380 operations.

Emirates expects to recieve its first Rolls-Royce powered A380 on December 16th, after resolving a number of last-minute technical difficulties.  The airline had previously complained about unsatisfactory performance of the Rolls-Royce engine.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Single Aisle News - December 12, 2016

December 12, 2016

Bombardier expects to improve the officially published specifications for the CS300 C-Series, claiming that the airplane's per seat and trip costs have already proven to be 2% better than previously published values.

Bombardier officials say that they are confident that they will win another substantial C-Series order in the coming months.  No specific airlines, however, have been named as likely candidates.

Air France's KLM division has won a contract to provide support for the A320 NEO in AirAsia service.  AirAsia's A320 NEO models are equipped with CFM International LEAP-1A engines.

Boeing has closed on a $16.6 billion agreement to sell airplanes to Iran, including 50 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes, as well as 15 Boeing 777X aircraft, currently under development.  The deal comes as the incoming Trump administration has signaled that it might be less friendly to business ties with Iran.  Some Iranian airlines are also still fall under previous U.S. sanctions due to ties to terrorist organizations.

After having completed three prototype PD-14 engines in 2016, Russia's Perm Motors reports that they expect to build another four production-standard engines in 2017.  The PD-14 is being developed as an all-Russian alternative engine for the Irkut MC-21 airliner.  Initial versions of the MC-21 are expected to feature Pratt & Whitney's PW1400G Geared TurboFan (GTF) engine.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Fighter Jet Times - December 9, 2016

December 9, 2016

Pentagon test chief Michael Gilmore has accused the U.S. Air Force of drafting misleading answers to questions posed by the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, regarding the status and progress of the F-35 program.

The U.S. Marine Corps has dropped Paveway IV laser-guided munitions from an F-35B for the first time at the China Lake test range.

The first two F-35 fighters bound for Israel have left the United States and reached the Azores.  They are expected to reach Israel on Monday December 12th, where they will be welcomed at a ceremony to be attended U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

The Israeli government is reportedly still interested in placing an additional order for F-15I fighters, despite the delivery of the F-35, due to the F-15's longer range and greater payload.

Israeli warplanes have reportedly struck installations used by the Syrian army and Hezbollah near the outskirts of Damascus.  A number of Israeli air strikes have been carried out over the past several years, many of them tied to preventing the Iranian-backed Hezbollah from acquiring advanced weaponry.

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 crashed off the coast of Japan while on a training sortie.  The pilot ejected successfully.  The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The latest concept designs for Japan's proposed next-generation, indigenous stealth fighter would make for an airplane even larger than the F-22 Raptor.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Space Highlights - December 8, 2016

December 8, 2016

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying the U.S. Air Force's eighth Wideband Global SATCOM communications satellite.

India launched its Resourcesat-2A aboard its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket, earlier this week.

Arianespace launched Turkey's GokTurk-1 Earth observation satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit, from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.

NASA has released the first images from the Cassini spacecraft's first of 20 "ring-grazing" orbits, during which the spacecraft will pass just outside of Saturn's rings.

NASA is investigating why the Curiosity Mars rover failed to properly deploy its rock drill as expected this past week.

NASA is preparing for the next close flyby of Jupiter by the Juno spacecraft, expected to take place this coming week.

A new study, utilizing data from the ESA's Mars Express and from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has compiled additional evidence for a warmer, wetter history on ancient Mars - documenting flood zones and sedimentary rock on the ancient Martian surface.

Researchers have found evidence for a large, underground cache of frozen water beneath the Martian surface, that is estimated to contain as much water as the Earth's Lake Superior.  The researchers utilized radar imagery collected from the Mars Reconnissance Orbiter to document evidence for the frozen, subsurface ice in the Utopia Planitia region.

NASA's Kepler space telescope has identifed an unusually dense, "hot Jupiter" planet.  Located 1800 light years from Earth, the planet is roughly 10-percent smaller than Jupiter, but with 30-percent more mass.  It orbits its Sun-like parent star every 5.8 days.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wide Body Report - December 7, 2016

December 7, 2016

The FAA is asking operators of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to periodically shut down and reboot their airplane's systems, to avoid a potentially dangerous computer system glitch that might otherwise occur mid-flight.  According to the FAA advisory, "all three flight control modules on the 787 might simultaneously reset if continuously powered on for 22 days."

Boeing has begun final assembly for its first 787-10 stretched Dreamliner model.  The first two fuselage sections have already arrived at Boeing's North Charleston final assembly plant.

United Airlines is negotiating a possible reduction in its order for Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, and is reportedly examining converting some if its orders to smaller models.

Airbus has posted a total of 600 airplane orders, and delivered 577 airplanes from January to December of 2016.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Single Aisle News - December 6, 2016

December 6, 2016

The Tanzanian Government Flight Agency has placed a firm order for two CS300 C-Series aircraft, bringing the total number of C-Series on order to 360 aircraft.  The government agency intends to lease the airplanes to the national airline, Air Tanzania.

Bombardier handed over the first CS300, the larger C-Series model, to airBaltic - the first delivery in a 20-airplane order to the Latvian carrier.

Embraer has delayed the certification date for the E175-E2 by one year to 2021.  Among other factors, the delay has been partially attributed to continued resistance by North American pilot unions to permitting regional jet carriers from operating aircraft with a take-off weights greater than 86,000 pounds - effectively protecting the mainline carrier routes from being taken over by the lower-paying, regional jet airlines.

AerCap has contracted for the placement of three E190-E2s and two E195-E2s with Turkish carrier, Borajet - marking the first placement of Embraer's new E2 family of aircraft by a lessor.

SAS has secured financing for the purchase of five Airbus A320 NEO aircraft, through a sale and leaseback agreement with Jackson Square Aviation.

Aircalin has sined a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the purchase of two A320 NEO and two A330-900 aircraft.  Aircalin is the carrier for the French South Pacific territory of New Caledonia.  The aircraft will be deployed on existing routes to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific islands.  An engine selection for the A320 NEO aircraft has not been announced.

Spirit AeroSystems has delivered the first redesigned thrust reversers for the CFM International LEAP-1B engines, for the Boeing 737 MAX.  Previous editions of the 737 MAX engine used a titanium honeycomb inner wall.  Spirit AeroSystems will be producing the composite inner wall for the redesigned unit.

Russia's PD-14 turbofan engine, being developed as an alternative motor for the Irkut MC-21 airliner, has entered its second round of flight testing aboard an Ilyushin Il-76 flying testbed.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Ran Ronen: The Passing of Memory

This past weekend marked the passing of an Israeli aviation legend, Brig. Gen. Ran Ronen (Pekker). Ran flew in every Arab-Israeli war from the 1956 Sinai Campaign to the Yom Kippur War of 1973. But he is best remembered as the commander of Israel's 119 Squadron, the "Bats," both before and during the Six Day War.

In a nation that has seen more than its fair share of combat worn veterans, Ran Ronen stood out as among the most renowned. He was not merely one of the greatest combat pilots of all time. In the words of fellow veteran Menachem Shmul (who served under him), Ran Ronen was "the greatest squadron commander ever."

Ran epitomized the ethos of the Israeli commanding officer, demanding excellence from his men, and leading them into battle by personal example. As commander of the "Bat" squadron, Ran chose to personally fly the most dangerous of missions in the years leading up to the Six Day War: flying the reconnaissance sorties deep into Egyptian territory that paved the way for Israel's stunning aerial victory in the Six Day War. As the commanding officer of the "Bats," he developed the demanding aerial gunnery standards that were essential to preparing a generation of Israeli pilots for future war. His example as a leader and pilot set the standard by which Israeli squadron commanders would be judged for decades to come.

During the War of Attrition, Ran Ronen was tasked to personally rebuild Israel's first F-4 Phantom squadron, after its morale had been shattered by the tragic death of their beloved squadron leader, Shmuel Hetz. And during the Yom Kippur War, as the commanding officer of Israel's largest air base, Ran Ronen continued to fly operational missions deep into enemy air space, during some of the darkest days in the history of Israel's air force.

It is not only Israel's air force that lost a legend this past week. Rather, it was a piece of Israel's collective memory that has passed away. The dark clouds of those decades, when Israel's very existence was an open question mark on the world stage, have often been lost on succeeding generations. Too few, it seems, recognize the personal sacrifice that a generation of pioneers, and their children after them, were called upon to make to secure the survival of the Jewish people.

Ran Ronen was laid to rest in Kfar Vitkin this past week, the moshav where he and his future wife, Heruta had once been raised. He was 80 years old, finally falling victim to cancer. To him, and many like him, succeeding generations are all alike indebted.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fighter Jet Times - December 1, 2016

December 1, 2016

Israel's Cabinet has approved the procurement of an additional 17 F-35 stealth fighters, bringing their total standing order to 50 airplanes.

The compromise version of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act is expected to maintain the F-35's Joint Program Office (JPO), despite language in the earlier Senate version of the bill that would have eliminated the JPO and called upon each branch of the armed forces to manage its own F-35 procurement and modernization effort.

Japan has officially taken delivery of its first F-35A stealth fighter. The airplane is expected to be deployed to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona to support Japan's training requirements.

Russia's United Engine Corporation (UEC) reports that they have performed their first successful engine start for the next generation engine that is expected to eventually power the PAK-FA stealth fighter.  Current prototypes of the PAK-FA utilize an evolved version of the AL-31F engine that originally powered the Su-27 fighter when it was introduced in the 1980s.

India has signed a $2 million consultancy deal with French engine manufacturer Safran, to provide technical assistance for a revived Kaveri fighter engine program.  The Kaveri was originally expected to power India's Tejas fighter, but after decades of development the Tejas entered production with a General Electric F404 engine.

China has reportedly tested a long range, hypersonic missile from a J-16 (Su-27 derivative) fighter, successfully shooting down a drone target.  The new missile is believed to have a range of some 300 miles - well beyond that of its counterparts in the United States or elsewhere.

Japan reports that the number of Japanese fighters that were scrambled to intercept Chinese or Russian aircraft approaching Japanese air space has doubled in 2016.

A Canadian CF-18 pilot was killed after his airplane crashed in western Canada during a training sortie.  The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Philippine Air Force has taken delivery of its first two FA-50 fighter jets from South Korea.  The FA-50 is a lightweight fighter, derived from South Korea's T-50 trainer, powered by a General Electric F404 engine.  The Philippines has an additional 10 airplanes on order.

Russia and Iran are reportedly negotiating for the delivery of Su-30 fighters to Iran.  The Iranian air force is currently equipped primarily with U.S.-made warplanes left over from the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979.  Under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which lifted most international sanctions over Iran, the arms embargo against Iran was not expected to be lifted until 2020.  Russia has already gone forward with the delivery of S-300 surface-to-air missiles, however, despite U.S. objections.

The day after ISIS elements attacked Israeli soldiers near the Golan Heights, Israel has staged an air strike on an ISIS operations center.