An order for ten McDonnell Douglas MD Explorer helicopters is expected to be announced at Farnborough today - kicking off what may prove to be a bumper show for orders.

British police sources confirmed that Police Aviation Services, which provides air support to UK police forces, has awarded the contract to McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems. It is believed to be one of the largest orders ever placed for the twin-turbine helicopter which recently gained European Joint Aviation Authorities certification.

The Explorer has been on recent demonstration flights with Hampshire police. An inspector with neighbouring Devon and Cornwall police says: "Aerial support is no longer an exotic and expensive novelty for many British police forces. It's an important tool in day-to-day operations."

McDonnell Douglas will hold an Explorer briefing this afternoon, at which the order is expected to be announced.

The anticipated announcement could herald a bumper show in terms of orders announced. With airlines returning to profit, the civil side of the industry is more bullish than for some years.

Airbus Industrie, Boeing and Rolls-Royce could all use the show for major announcements.

Europe's big civil manufacturer is reported to be poised to announce a $3.5 billion order for aircraft from Korea's Asiana.

Rolls-Royce may be on the verge of securing a huge follow-up order for RB-211-535 engines, after last week's $450 million order for 30 shipsets for the Kato Group of Egypt. The engines are for Tupolev Tu-204 aircraft.

With stories that Kato may have ambitions to build a major fleet of Tu-204s, R-R could be looking at big future orders. Boeing may yet launch its 747-500/600X models at Farnborough. The manufacturer has been working hard with the airline support necessary to be able to announce launch orders.













Source: Flight Daily News