This Week Briefings

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A400M NATIONS SET JULY DEADLINE

France and Germany have failed in their attempt to broker a six-month extension to an existing three-month moratorium period to resolve issues on Europe's delayed Airbus Military A400M transport programme, with a deadline of late July having been agreed on 22 June at a meeting in Seville. EADS declines to comment.


ORION CREW ESCAPE ALTERNATIVE TESTS DELAYED

NASA has postponed indefinitely the launch of its 20,450kg (45,000lb) 10m (33ft)-tall Max Launch Abort System flight-test vehicle from its Wallops Flight Test Facility in Virginia. Planned for 25 June, the launch has been delayed at least four times since its original target of September 2008. The test vehicle is an alternate launch abort system for the Orion crew exploration vehicle.


IAI CONTINUES TRAINER SEARCH

Israel Aerospace Industries still plans to offer an advanced trainer to the Israeli air force, despite the December 2007 collapse of a joint venture with the USA's Aviation Technology Group on the Javelin very light jet. IAI believes an opportunity exists to replace the air force's Douglas A-4 Skyhawk trainers by 2016, and company sources say efforts continue to "form the right group" to offer a solution "with an affordable price tag".


EUROCOPTER CHIEF PREDICTS STRONG RECOVERY

Eurocopter's chief executive Lutz Bertling has delivered a resoundingly positive assessment of the company's mid-term prospects, predicting a strong recovery to follow a tougher year ahead. At the Paris air show, he said the helicopter maker is already seeing the effects of the worldwide downturn being mitigated by its strong presence in publicly funded markets such asthe police and military.


ISRAELI F-16 DOWNS 'THREAT' UAV

The Israeli air force performed a successful intercept trial against a target unmanned air vehicle last week, with of its Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters downing the simulated threat using 140 rounds from its M61A1 20mm cannon. An F-16 pilot shot down an Iranian-made Ababil UAV operated by Hezbollah militants near the border with Lebanon in 2006. The air force has been at heightened readiness since a similar incursion into Israeli airspace in 2004.


GOVERNMENT TO BAIL OUT AIR INDIA

The Indian government has agreed to bail out national carrier Air India, which posted an $800 million loss for the year ended 31 March and appealed to the state for $820 million in equity and soft loans to prevent it going under. The amount tobe disbursed has not been confirmed and will depend on how the state-owned airline plans to restructure its business to stem future losses.


SAM WILLIAMS

Sam Williams, aerospace propulsion pioneer and founder of Williams International, died on 22 June. He was 88. In 1968, Williams patented the small fan gas turbine to power cruise missiles for the US Air Force. He later introduced the FJ44 family of two-spool turbofans for the light business jet market, beginning with the Scaled Composites Beechcraft Triumph. His accomplishments as an engineer were noted because he achieved his breakthroughs largely alone and self-funded.