Special Report: Cobham awarded over $72m in Long-term Contracts for Specialised Military Antennas

On the face of it, an average headline. However, for the No. 3 UK-based aerospace company, antenna systems represent a small market of the company’s forte. A change like this represents how important data link systems have become in the aerospace industry. As UAVs stretch further and further away, in more and more hostile environments, antenna systems represent big business.

Cobham has been awarded two contracts totaling more than US $72 million during the next six years through its newly-acquired Trivec-Avant business, which has become part of the Antenna Systems Strategic Business Unit. Cobham specialises in meeting the insatiable demand for data, connectivity and bandwidth in defence, security and commercial environments. Offering a technically diverse and innovative range of technologies and services, the Group protects lives and livelihoods,responding to customer needs with agility that differentiates it.

Couple this with the recent news that a new chief executive is soon to head the company, a familiar name since Sir Alan Cobham founded the company’s subsidiary in 1934, after Andy Stevens is due to leave from a back injury. For the future, Cobham Plc is definitely one to watch.

Image courtesy of defenceprocurementnews.com


What the Dreamliner can do for you?

Boeing 787 - A big step for aviation, but how does it affect you?

This Wednesday the revolutionary Boeing Dreamliner will fly its very first commercial flight. “The flight is a coming-out party for a jet that reflects the biggest change in aircraft construction since metal replaced wooden biplanes,” USA Today’s Charisse Jones writes. I’d incline to agree with her. After two years in delays almost two years after its first test run, the latest update to the Boeing series will cart 264 passengers from Tokyo to Hong Kong. The jet will supposedly revolutionize the flying experience with comfier interiors, recycled plane parts, and a lighter, more fuel efficient body.

But how can all this radness positively affect your flying life?

Lower prices: First off, the Dreamliner claims a 20 percent jump in fuel efficiency over other similar planes. It’s built with General Electric and Rolls-Royce engines, which are just more efficient, claims Boeing on its site.  “Advances in engine technology are the biggest contributor to overall fuel efficiency improvements,” explains Boeing. “The new engines represent nearly a two-generation jump in technology for the middle of the market.”

The plans is also apparently 30 percent cheaper to maintain, reports Jones. “The Dreamliner’s unique makeup also won’t corrode as easily as other jets,” she writes. “The payoff for airlines is the ability to fly long-distance trips without burning as much increasingly costly jet fuel as other similar-size planes.” Sadly, the airlines might not share that wealth with passengers, though. Yet, there is another way you could save money. A midsize plane, The Dreamliner might open up new routes that otherwise would’ve been hard and expensive to get to. “It could pave the way for airlines to have new, direct flights between far-away cities on routes that otherwise wouldn’t have profitably supported non-stop trips on a bigger jet burning more fuel with so few passengers,” continues Jones.

It's only Economy, but does the 787 provide an experience that is a class of its own?

Comfy insides: After ponying up big bucks, perks like nice seats and in-flight entertainment matter. The Dreamliner is at least trying to up its game. The interior looks comfortable, if a bit futuristic. There’s also an actual bar in the main cabin and the in-flight entertainment, which each set has, is all Android operated touch screens, as CNET reported.

Greener body: For the environmentally conscious: It’s body is made of 50 percent composites, which should quell guilt about burning massive amounts of fuel whilst jet-setting. And believe me, when I say greener, take a look inside. No question, this is aerofutures.

References courtesy of The Atlantic Wire

FAA probes News Corp’s ‘The Daily’ Aerial Drone

News Corp's Alleged UAV used for intelligence gathering for 'The Daily'


The US military has drones, lots of them if the daily reports coming in from Afghanistan and Pakistan are any indication. And a handful of law enforcement groups – though less than would like -have a drone or two at their disposal. But on the domestic, non-security front, drones live a in a regulatory gray area. Hobbyists can use them, but commercial entities are not supposed to employ drones for any kind of monetary gain, says the FAA.

Nonetheless News Corp’s The Daily has a news gathering drone aircraft that it’s been flying around, and the FAA is investigating that use to ensure that it complies with all of the nebulous FAA regulations that kind of exist regarding private drone usage.

The Daily has used its drone to capture aerial footage of storm-struck Alabama earlier this year as well as the flooding in South Dakota, Forbes has said. Their hardware: a MicroDrone md4-1000, a micro aerial vehicle that can be fitted with various imagery or sensor payloads (Google has one like it, purportedly to augment its aerial map data).

The question for the FAA, then, is whether or not new gathering (or aerial cartography, for that matter) is considered a commercial exercise. Seems like it would be, but given that the FAA is reportedly considering loosening its drone aircraft restrictions later this year anyhow, The Daily may just get the green light anyhow, opening up a potentially really cool new high-tech means of reporting the daily news.

That would be great news for The Daily, which happens to belong to the same media family as the News of the World which recently collapsed under shady phone hacking allegations. Of course, all of this information is unrelated, because it’s not like you can use a drone to hack a cell phone… Right?

Credit Popular Science for Content

Northrop Grumman Speculation Continues Over ‘Super Talon’

Burt Rutan's ARES Concept a possibility for the USAF T-X Training System

Last July it was known as the ‘Biggest USAF Contract That Nobody was Talking About’. Since then funding for the new advanced jet training system has jumped tenfold and in the latest five-year spending plan $306 million has been put aside for the T-X programme- the replacement for Northrop T-38C Talon and its simulators.

According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Northrop has applied to register the rights to the term ‘Super Talon’. Whether this is a major overhaul of the original aircraft or a new pu

rpose built design is yet to be seen. Boeing are the only other company interested in competing at this time, though have made no soundings for what direction they suggest for the system. The scheduled introduction of the aircraft is 2017 if the USAF does not chose an off-the-shelf model to replace it.

Northrop Grumman‘s advanced development team has been busy lately. The last two years has yielded the revelations of Wild Thing, MQ-X and, most recently and featured on this blog, Firebird. Now, this otherwise secret concept may have leaked outside Northrop’s version of Skunk Works. The ARES Concept as developed by Burt Rutan is one of the more exotic options that  Northrop Grumman are looking into. A re-built T-38 with 9g maneuvering, increased engine power, embedded training suites and a digital cockpit are some of the improvements possibly on the cards.

USAF officials are expected to brief the Defense Acquisition Board about the requirement in June. Until then we can probably expect more speculation to surface over the coming weeks.

Image Courtesy of air-and-space.com