Boeing Frontiers
August 2002 
Volume 01, Issue 04 
Top Stories Inside Quick Takes Site Tools
Industry Wrap

TRW-Northrop combination seen as stimulus by some

Northrop Grumman Corp. is expected to encounter little difficulty winning regulatory approval of its proposed acquisition of TRW Inc., even though the transaction will concentrate some critical aerospace and defense technologies among fewer large players.

According to Aviation Week & Space Technology, the consensus of some former Pentagon officials and various industry observers is that there is no significant overlap of products and technologies, and that the combination is more likely to stimulate rather than inhibit technology innovation.


High-altitude telecom test complete

Pathfinder-PlusA high-altitude unmanned solar-electric airplane recently doubled as a giant telecommunications tower while hovering high above the Hawaiian Islands, reported

The Pathfinder-Plus aircraft, designed and built by AeroVironment Inc., transmitted hours of next-generation mobile voice, data and video services, including high-definition television signals to handheld devices on the ground. The tests were conducted over Kauai.


New factory for A380 jet

French President Jacques Chirac recently inaugurated a new factory in southern France for the Airbus A380 superjumbo jet—a building big enough to hold 20 soccer fields, reported The Washington Post. The hall in Blagnac, outside Toulouse, France, will be completed next year. Parts for the 555-seat jet are to be manufactured at various Airbus sites around Europe and will be transported by land and sea to the Blagnac assembly hall.



Harris lands $1.7 billion FAA deal

Harris Corp. recently received a $1.7 billion, 15-year contract to upgrade the Federal Aviation Administration's nationwide communications network. With options, the deal is worth up to an estimated $3.5 billion, making it the largest-ever contract announced by the Melbourne, Fla.—based communications-equipment maker, according to Florida Today. The announcement resulted from nearly five years of work on the company's bid and followed numerous delays, including an FAA review of the system's security measures after the events of Sept. 11. The FAA did not provide details on why the Harris-led team was chosen over its competitors—Lockheed Martin Corp. and WorldCom Inc., which provides the communications network currently used by the agency—other than the Harris proposal represented the best value for taxpayers.

Big decisions may loom at Pentagon

This fall, Pentagon budgeteers and the defense secretary will make the most profound decisions on major acquisition programs since President Reagan's first term 20 years ago, reports The Washington Times. The dynamics, however, are greatly different in 2002 than they were in the 1980s, a decade which marked the largest peacetime military buildup in U.S. history. The Pentagon will embark on a major modernization campaign, reports the Times. But once-robust budgeting will be pared back to meet two realities: The Defense Department will not get the billions of dollars needed to buy every planned weapon system; and President Bush wants to cancel some items in favor of more advanced systems that can better counter 21st-century threats, such as terrorism. The Times, in its July 19 edition, predicts the following scenarios: The Air Force F-22 stealth-fighter buy of more than 300 jets will be cut to about 200. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for the Air Force, Navy and Marines will also survive, but be scaled back. The Navy already has said it does not need as many F-35s as it plans smaller carrier-based squadrons. The new, bigger carrier, the CVNX, will be canceled. The Navy will continue building Nimitz-class big-deck flattops. The Marine Corps V-22 Osprey helicopter-fixed-wing hybrid will get one last chance at successful test fights. If there is another mechanical failure crash or major test failure, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld will cancel the Osprey in favor of troop-carrying helicopters. Civilian budgeteers are likely to cancel the Army's Comanche, a planned armed scout helicopter.

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