US Navy's first Poseidon comes together

Boeing has started final assembly for the first US Navy P-8A Poseidon, a derivative of the 737-800ERX. Spirit AeroSystems builds the P-8A fuselage in Wichita, Kansas, and delivers the final product to Boeing's new facility in Renton, Washington. The delivery of the first fuselage to Renton opens Boeing's third final assembly line for the 737, with security standards that comply with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Boeing is under contract to deliver the first five test vehicles. First flight is scheduled for next year and entry into operational service is set for 2013.

ENAER to promote M-346 Trainer

Chile's ENAER has signed a memorandum of understanding covering co-operative marketing and possible production of Alenia Aermacchi's M-346 advanced and M-311 basic jet trainers for Latin American air forces. Announced at last week's FIDAE air show in Santiago, the agreement "confirms Alenia Aermacchi's strategy for an internationalisation of the M-346 programme through a strong partnership in South America," says chief executive Carmelo Cosentino. Chile is seeking a replacement for its air force fleet of around 30 CASA C-101s for roles including lead-in fighter training and close air support.

BAE Systems cuts 584 Hawk jobs on loss of UAE deal

Failure to make the shortlist for a United Arab Emirates jet trainers contract has led BAE Systems to cut 450 Hawk programme jobs over 18 months at its Brough, Yorkshire factory, which builds the aircraft. Another 134 Hawk-related staff will go from Woodford, where Nimrod MRA4 work is not affected by the cuts. BAE told Flight that some success in finding new work for Brough, including for the Lockheed Martin F-35, Nimrod and forward bases support, has not been enough to sustain the head count at what is essentially a "one project site". BAE is still to build 43 Hawks, including 26 for the RAF, 14 for India and three for South Africa, and has support contracts for the type.

Bombardier in 'robust' financial health

Bombardier posted "robust" financial results for the fiscal year ending 31 January, as both revenues and profits surged nearly one-fifth. The aerospace division accounted for more than half of all sales, with revenue growing 17% to US$9.7 billion. Aircraft deliveries, meanwhile, rose 11% to 363 compared to 326 last year. In the current fiscal year, Bombardier expects business jet deliveries to increase even further, while regional airliner deliveries should reach "similar" levels. "The strengthening of the balance sheet, the strong cash position and large backlog will enable Bombardier to weather current financial market turmoil," says chairman and chief executive Laurent Beaudoin.

Alitalia board ponders next move

Italian flag carrier Alitalia's board was due to meet on 8 April to decide on the most appropriate course for the airline following the collapse last week of acquisition talks with Air France-KLM. Aristide Police has been appointed to preside over the airline, in a non-executive role, following the resignation of Alitalia chief Maurizio Prato. The airline still considers the Air France-KLM proposition to be an "appropriate" mechanism to return the ailing Italian airline to profitability. But the board is having to consider alternative measures to keep the company operating after Alitalia's unions failed to back the takeover plan. Unions have indicated willingness to continue discussions with Air France-KLM but the Franco-Dutch group has not given any sign that it is prepared to resume talks.

Boeing Engineering Student of the Year Award

If you are an engineering student whose work has impact on aeronautical or space technology, enter the Engineering Student of the Year award, sponsored by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. The winner and a companion will be guests of Boeing for a presentation during Flight International's 100th anniversary celebrations at the 2008 Farnborough air show. Details and entry instructions at

Mass dampers to tackle Ares I oscillation

Last week NASA said its Ares I crew launch vehicle’s first-stage’s solid rocket motor induced oscillation issue only threatens the crew’s ability to do their jobs and would not damage rocket systems. The solutions include spring loading existing mass on the aft skirt, adding tuned damper mass elsewhere and trying to “detune” the structural design, including reducing stiffness.

Source: Flight International