Report sees threat to U.S. aerospace industry
The U.S. aerospace industry is facing increasing European competition, an aging workforce and a lack of long-term investments that could threaten its global dominance, according to the Washington Post, citing a recently released government report.
Boeing backed the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry's nine recommendations for improving the industry. The federally mandated commission, consisting of 12 members, released its recommendations Nov. 19 after spending the last year conducting research, holding hearings and receiving written testimony from experts throughout the world.
UAVs eyed for homeland security
Having proved themselves in military operations overseas, pilotless remotecontrolled drone airplanes are being talked about for a prominent new domestic duty in the United States: homeland security, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
If concerns about their safety and reliability can be resolved, proponents say, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) could provide round-the- clock surveillance of pipelines and ports, safely investigate disasters involving hazardous and radioactive materials and easily gauge damage to bridges, buildings and hard-to- access areas, the newspaper said.
C-17 mulled as interim NATO transport
Germany is leading a search by NATO countries for a military transport plane to use until the planned Airbus A400M is ready and is considering Boeing's C-17, according to Bloomberg.
German Defense Minister Peter Struck said that 12 countries, including France and Canada, have signed up to study alternatives to the proposed 18-billion Euro ($18-billion) A400M program that a German budgetary shortfall has delayed. Germany's initiative opens the door for Boeing to place its C-17 airlifter in several new markets. Boeing already has four C-17s on lease to the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force.
Good news for airlines
Persistently weak flying demand since last year's terror hijackings in the United States has kept pressure on jet fuel prices, giving airlines a much-needed reprieve from high fuel costs, reports Reuters English News Service.
Worries that a potential U.S. attack on Iraq would seriously boost military jet fuel consumption has been held in check by the ongoing weakness in commercial flying, which makes up a far larger share of demand, market experts said in the published report.
Wholesale jet fuel prices in the U.S. Gulf Coast have fallen 10 cents, or 12 percent, to roughly 72 cents a gallon since mid-September. The price for jet fuel in Europe, meanwhile, has dropped to around $250 per metric ton compared with $283 per ton two months ago, according to Reuters.
Pentagon’s need for speed
U.S. companies and the Pentagon have increased efforts to make armored trucks driven by robots, smarter bombs and better data networks to meet increased demand caused by the war in Afghanistan and the possibility of a conflict in Iraq, the New York Times said.
Boeing is selling thousands of $20,000 kits to convert unguided bombs into satellite- guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or smart bombs, that were more widely used in Afghanistan, the newspaper said.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems will get $131 million from Congress for 22 additional Predator unmanned air vehicles. Congress also approved $129 million more for three Global Hawk surveillance drones, made by Northrop Grumman Corp.
General Dynamics plans to sell the Pentagon newly completed driverless vehicles, armored off-road trucks bulging with lenses and antennae.
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