We’re back in business after a lengthy festive break, with 2014′s first issue of Flight International including our finger-in-the-air forecasts for the year to come.
With an eye on the defence sector, we ask whether peace is likely to break out in Afghanistan; if we’ll see a fresh round of European industrial consolidation; what the chances are of Brazil, India or the United Arab Emirates signing fighter deals; whether Embraer’s KC-390 (below) will make its first flight; and if the USA can get through the year without cutting any major programmes.
Another question I’d like to pose is about the prospect of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 (US Air Force image below) making its international show debut during 2014. Getting the Joint Strike Fighter in the air at Farnborough would be talk of the event, but despite some optimistic noises that I’ve been hearing from some in industry, this would surely hinge on the US Marine Corps bringing at least a pair of jets across the pond for a couple of weeks.
While the service flew a bunch of V-22s over for the last show, the pressure of getting test and training work complete ahead of its initial operational capability target of late 2015 makes me think that we’ll have to wait a while longer to see the STOVL F-35B flying in the UK. A pity, if I’m right.
If you’ve got any top tips for what we can expect to happen in the next 12 months (series or otherwise), then please share your thoughts!