Boeing Frontiers
August 2003
Volume 02, Issue 04
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Australia concerned about JSF work share

Australia has joined the growing number of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program nations expressing concerns about the openness of the multinational industrial program, with defense minister Robert Hill warning there may not be a "level playing field," according to Flight International.

In parallel, senior Australian JSF industry officials have revealed they underwent a "crisis in confidence" in the Lockheed Martin-led program in May after Boeing Australia-owned Hawker de Havilland lost a major composites work package to a Lockheed Martin subsidiary.

Hill is to demand a briefing from Lockheed Martin, with JSF executive vice president Tom Burbage flying to Australia that month, the report said.

Australian defense sources say Hill sought reassurance from Burbage that Australian firms would be fairly treated in the competition process, and requested hard evidence of why the Hawker de Havilland bid had been unsuccessful. Burbage arranged for Hill to be given a follow-up briefing by Mike Cosentino, the Lockheed Martin JSF international program director, in late June.

Hill told the Australian Department of Defence annual Defence and Industry Conference in Canberra on June 24 that local firms face "many challenges" in chasing JSF work. "Not least is the challenge of securing a level playing field," he said. "For example, we have to tackle the disinclination of large U.S. firms to go overseas for their subcontracts,"Hill told Flight International. "We must also counter the ability of big overseas firms to absorb upfront costs in pursuing tenders. We need to match aggressive competition and political pressure from Europe."


Cell phones on jets by 2006?

Cell phone use aboard commercial planes in flight could be approved in about three years if a new study authorized by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration shows that their transmissions don't threaten safety. According to USA Today, the study by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, a nonprofit advisory panel to the FAA, should be completed by October 2005.

The study also will look into what effects other portable communication devices, such as modem-equipped laptops and handheld computers and wireless messaging devices, have on aircraft equipment, the paper said.


2002 safest year for U.S. airlines

Last year was the safest ever for the nation's major airlines, with no deaths and nine serious injuries due to accidents on U.S. commercial flights, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there were 34 commercial airline accidents in 2002, but most were considered minor. The one accident designated "major'' was the July 26 crash of a Federal Express Corp. cargo plane at Tallahassee, Fla. The plane was destroyed, but the crew survived.


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