Qantas signs for more A380s
ORDER Qantas has secured an "attractive package" from Airbus in the wake of the A380 production delays, prompting it to convert eight of its 12 options into firm orders. The deal includes an additional four A330-200s, which will help the airline alleviate capacity problems caused by its A380s arriving almost two years late. Qantas now has 20 A380s on firm order, due for delivery from August 2008 to 2015. The four A330-200s will arrive between December 2007 and December 2008. The airline's latest contract includes protection against further delays in A380 deliveries and rescheduling rights in the event of changed circumstances. Meanwhile, Qantas has ordered five more Boeing 737-800s for delivery from February 2008.
Singapore deal to launch PC-21 production
TRAINERS Singapore's Ministry of Defence has announced its selection of the Pilatus PC-21 to replace its air force Aermacchi S-211 trainers used at Pearce airbase in Australia since the 1980s. A team led by Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training and Support will supply and maintain 19 PC-21s and ground-based training equipment from 2008 under the Basic Wings deal. Singapore also evaluated the Alenia Aermacchi M-311, Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano and Raytheon T-6 Texan II for the requirement.
Raytheon gains approval for Cobra flights
CERTIFICATION Raytheon's Cobra unmanned air vehicle has followed the Bell Eagle Eye and General Atomics Altair in receiving an experimental airworthiness certificate from the US Federal Aviation Administration. The low-cost Cobra, with a 3m (10ft) wingspan, is designed to support the company's development and testing of unmanned systems technologies. The certification is the first for a small UAV and permits flights in a section of national airspace in south-eastern Arizona. Raytheon will use the Cobra to conduct research and development, crew training and market surveys.
USAF to form Cyberspace Command
COMPUTERS The US Air Force is to set up a new Cyberspace Command, under the 8th Air Force headquartered at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, to protect US computer systems and attack enemy networks. "The aim is to develop a major command that stands alongside Air Force Space Command and Air Combat Command," says USAF secretary Michael Wynne. Cyberspace operations will include detecting then denying, disrupting or destroying enemy facilities and networks for data storage, processing or transmission. Funding for the command will be sought in fiscal year 2009, which begins in October 2008.
Australia completes maritime UAV trials
DEMONSTRATION Australia's Department of Defence will submit a report to the nation's parliament before year-end on a recently completed trial of maritime surveillance unmanned air vehicles. General Atomics' Mariner flew surveillance and response missions of 75.5h from Royal Australian Air Force base Learmonth in Western Australia during September, with individual sorties ranging from 2h to more than 20h. The planned objectives for the trial were satisfactorily achieved, according to Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation. Northrop Grumman conducted a second-phase trial using its Cyber Warfare Integration Network in San Diego, California to simulate missions with the Global Hawk UAV.
McElroy leaves RAA for ACI
APPOINTMENT Deborah McElroy is set to leave US trade group the Regional Airlines Association (RAA) after almost 20 years to join the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA). The RAA president will become the airport group's senior vice-president government affairs from 15 December. "We are really excited to have such a well-recognised and respected leader in Washington DC aviation circles join our team," says ACI-NA president Greg Principato. The RAA has yet to appoint her successor.