Two consortia join UK helicopter contest

Contract Two consortia have entered the bidding for the UK's new joint search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopter contract. Bristow Helicopters, Serco and FB Heliservices have joined forces, as have CHC Helicopter and Thales UK, to pitch for the contract, which industry sources suggest could be worth up to £1 billion ($1.75 billion) over 25 years (Flight International, 11-17 April). The project aims to replace existing military and civilian SAR helicopter fleets and bring them under a single umbrella contract to reduce operating costs.

Israel tackles flaw with F-16 landing gear

Investigation The Israeli air force could replace the landing gear on its Lockheed Martin F-16C/D fighters, following failures that have caused extensive damage to two of its aircraft in recent years. One Israeli aircraft has been equipped with instrumentation to measure the stresses on its undercarriage across various landing conditions, with the resulting data to be shared with the US Air Force. One of Israel's F-16I fighters also sustained heavy damage on 19 July, when it suffered a burst tyre or undercarriage collapse while taking off to conduct a strike mission over Lebanon.

Rolls-Royce aftermarket raises profits

Results Engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce's first-half underlying profit before tax increased 22% year-on-year to £324 million ($600 million) on continuing growth in the company's aftermarket service business, which accounted for 60% of its civil aerospace income. Sales in this sector rose by 8% and the company expects this to grow by more than 10% over the full year. Underlying profit in the civil aerospace division reached £246 million in the six months to 30 June, compared with £200 million in the same period a year earlier. Defence aerospace profits edged up by £1 million to £95 million. The company posted overall revenues up 6.5% at £3.4 billion.

Simulators in demand

Training CAE is to supply two Airbus A380 full-flight simulators plus other training equipment to FedEx Express. Thales is to provide three simulators, two for the A320 and one for the ATR 42, plus an A320 maintenance/flight training device, to India's Kingfisher Airlines. Canada's Mechtronix, meanwhile, has signed a letter of intent with Turkish aviation service provider Gozen Group to produce full-flight simulators for the A320 and Boeing 737NG for its new pilot training centre. Mechtronix has also received an order from Netherlands trainer Flight Simulation for a 737NG Level B simulator.

Carlyle boosts inventory management

Acquisition Private equity group Carlyle is buying a majority stake in Wesco Aircraft Hardware for an undisclosed sum. The California-based company distributes aerospace hardware worldwide and provides inventory management services. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Boeing to develop Block III Apache

Upgrade Boeing has signed a $619 million US Army contract to develop the upgraded Block III version of the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter. Delivery of the first production aircraft is due in 2011. The upgrade will enhance performance, situational awareness and survivability, improve targeting and reduce operating and support costs.

HAL signs IAI supply contract

Aerostructures Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) is to supply aerostructures to Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). Indian sources say the assemblies are for the Gulfstream G150 business jet. The eight to 10-year deal is worth more than $30 million. IAI and HAL have a history of co-operation, including setting up a joint venture to support the export version of HAL's Dhruv helicopter. HAL has delivered kits for Boeing 737 passenger-to-freighter conversions performed by IAI's Bedek Aviation Group.

Source: Flight International