Max Kingsley-Jones/SEATTLE

Airliner freighter conversion programmes have been launched by Lockheed Martin and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Dasa) Airbus, as rivalry continues between Dasa and fellow Airbus partner British Aerospace on an integrated conversion strategy.

Lockheed Martin has revived the L-1011 TriStar conversion and has agreed to use Marshall Aerospace's supplemental type certificate (STC) for a new US-based modification programme. Dasa Airbus will start commercial freighter conversions of the A310-300 next year. The deals were announced at the Cargo Facts '99 conference in Seattle on 7 October.

The TriStar deal comes as part of the US manufacturer's efforts to enhance the longer-term prospects for the widebody tri-jet, which is supported by a Lockheed Martin/Rolls-Royce-led consortium, the TriStar Alliance (Flight International, 21-27 July)

The newly created London-based leasing specialist is acquiring an initial batch of 13 L-1011-1s from Delta Air Lines, which Lockheed Martin will begin converting in December at its Greenville, South Carolina, facility. The deal could be extended to include up to 40 ex-Delta TriStars.

The first aircraft, designated L-1011-40, will be completed and available for delivery next July, offering a payload of 34,000kg (75,000lb). Doors for the converted aircraft will be produced by Lockheed Martin's plant in Cordoba, Argentina.

Dasa Airbus, which offers an A300B4 and A310-200 conversion, will begin work in Dresden on its first A310-300 for a commercial client in mid-2000. An STC is expected by the end of the year.

Until now, the company has concentrated on the shorter range A310-200, with 39 aircraft converted, all for FedEx. Six A310-300s have been modified for the German and Canadian armed forces. Dasa declines to identify the first civil customer, although industry sources suggest Lufthansa Cargo is a candidate.

Meanwhile, BAe Aviation Services (BAeAS) managing director Cliff Duke says that, although there have been talks about linking its rival A300B4 conversion programme with Dasa, the two are not in merger discussions.

Duke says BAeAS has begun serious pre-launch activities to achieve an A300-600 STC, which it intends to undertake independently of Dasa. The programme is being prepared in anticipation of demand from around 2003. Dasa says it is not working on an A300-600 programme.

Source: Flight International