It’s all go at the show
In the week that was, we saw the UK’s then prime minister open proceedings at the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA 2016) only to then be replaced two days later by Theresa May. Also, Pokémon Go happened (!).
Monday got off to a flying start with an array of airborne announcements. In total 59 aircraft are to be delivered by Boeing to the UK.
The company confirmed that it was now on contract for 50 AH-64E Apaches for the British Army. In addition, the UK MoD is also to receive nine P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) from Boeing.
Rain stopped play on Monday afternoon. Panic only really set in at the media centre when the wi-fi went down and then the journalists got up and ran for the station navigating through the British summer time monsoon that descended. Here at Shephard we were highly amused by all the weather-related puns.
Leonardo added two more international customers to its Falco Evo Shephard learnt at FIA 2016. The new customers currently operate the legacy Falco UAS.
In other UAS news, the Fury guided munition, jointly developed by Textron Systems and Thales UK, will undergo final moving target testing later this year. The Fury is designed to be utilised by small and medium sized UAS and special missions aircraft.
In training news, a second team announced that they would be putting their hat into the ring for the UK MoD’s Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) programme. ASDOT considers the UK’s live air training activities and airborne threat training.
For the #avgeek the F-35 Lightning tearing up the airshow sky was an exciting and LOUD affair throughout the week. Raytheon was vocal about its involvement with the aircraft as suppliers of weapons systems to the platform.
Raytheon were also host to one of the most engaging and firey presentations at FAI 2016. Air Cdre Dean Andrew, ISTAR force commander on the Sentinel R1, talked passionately to journalists at FIA 2016 in an effort to lobby ‘anyone that would listen’ regarding cuts to his force announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015. Journalists could not believe their luck with Andrew’s candor and repeatedly asked ‘you know you’re on record right?’.
It was a great show for rotorcraft as Sikorsky’s armed Black Hawk made its debut at the show. The company revealed that it was working closely with a customer but would not divulge their name, more the pity. The weapon system is anticipated to be qualified by the end of this year. Leonardo Helicopters also debuted their armed version of the AW149.
Bell Helicopter paid tribute to their crew members who lost their lives on 6 July during a test flight of the 525 Relentless.
Company officials were seen wearing ‘R’ badges in memory of the 525 Relentless crew. The V-280 mockup made its international debut at FIA 2016 and also the company appointed RUAG Aviation in Switzerland as its newest customer service facility for the Bell 429.
FIA 2016 proved to be an eventful show with contracts signed, aircraft debuting and tropical weather storms adding to the mix. Shephard covered a whole host of topics so be sure to check out our dedicated news page.