With a booming civil and military aviation market, Boeing is shoring up the reliability of its access to titanium stock. Purchasing.com notes that Boeing is not only securing deals for itself to guarantee access to semiprocessed titanium mill products, but is also making sure that its top suppliers are also taken care of. The titanium contract restructuring brings in TMX Aerospace as a central supplier, drawing inventory from the two biggest producers, Titanium Metals Corp. of Denver and Russia’s Verkhnaya Salda Metallurgical Production Association. If needed, Boeing will also buy supply from spot market suppliers Allvac, of Monroe, NC and RTI International Metals, of Niles, OH.
Another report quotes an Eaton Aerospace executive as summing up the tightening market situation:
Lockheed Martin and Finmeccanica’s Selex are together tackling the market for cable and obstacle avoidance systems in rotary aircraft, according to Rotorhub. One big prize on their collective list is the UH-60 Black Hawk program. The two firms answered a notice for information from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command with a proposal to employ Selex’s Laser Obstacle Avoidance Monitoring system (LOAM).
LOAM employs lasers to detect cables as thin as 5mm in diameter. Lockheed will act as primary contractor in the U.S. markets, and both firms agreed to share market information for potential future bids.
Anteon Technologies and BAE Systems are together developing a new anti-torpedo technology for DARPA. The system is an effort to create an array of speakers along the side of a hull arranged so that they can collectively shoot out (and aim) shockwaves at incoming threats. New Scientist published a summary of the technology. It notes that the technology may run afoul of increasing concerns that underwater sound systems are hurting marine wildlife.
Taipei Times reports that the Taiwanese Coast Guard Administration (CGA) will submit a UAV procurement budget to the legislature with a mind to deploy them in 2007 to help keep track of Chinese marine intrusions. Other newspaper reports hold that Bell Helicopter has already had contact with the government. Bell makes the Eagle Eye craft for the U.S. Coast Guard. An official running the CGA’s procurement department said that they had asked the few companies that were “producing mature UAVs” to offer options and pricing.
The CGA unveiled its budget request with specific references to improving its capabilities of monitoring the disputed Pratas Islands, a small, desolate chain a couple hundred miles southwest of Taiwan that could prove helpful in screening against submarine incursions.
A Lockheed Aegis SPY-1D radar on board the USS Russell (DDG 59) Arleigh Burke Class destroyer successfully found and tracked a target missile needle from among a haystack of countermeasures, according to the contractor. The test, conducted just off of Hawaii, was part of the Critical Measurement and Counter-Measurements Program, an effort to introduce more stressful environment and battle conditions to equipment tests.
The AEGIS radar and combat system is now in its seventh generation, with the latest version arriving in February 2005. The most recent version of the AEGIS system is currently in use on 10 American vessels, with 8 more slated to be upgraded in the near term. Lockheed Martin’s AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense system, easily the most sophisticated ship-borne BMD yet deployed, extends the radar’s range, adds key functions like Cooperative Engagement Capability, and includes other enhancements. It is designed to work with the extended range SM-3 Standard missile.
Military & Aerospace Electronics reports that General Atomics awarded AAI Corp. a $30 million subcontract to develop the ground control components of the Army’s new Warrior UAV program. The army wants all development work done in four years with deployment capability in 2009.
That may well be possible, as AAI has plans to incorporate this work into an existing project…