Air&Cosmos International magazine - issue 6

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AIR&COSMOS N° 6 - 28TH February 2019


BECKONS US $19 - 1300 INR - 15 EUR - 120 CNY - 70 AED

l Indian defence

procurement: worth the wait l Airbus/Boeing orders still outpacing deliveries l Airports: battle of the giants l Armed drones proliferate in Mideast l Green light for Rafale F4 standard l Can Europe change its mindset in space?

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editorial Duncan Macrae



India beckons The sheer scale of India's military modernisation programme and the forecasted growth of the Indian air transport sector are enough to whet the appetite of not only the world's largest defence contractors but also the Big Two suppliers of commercial transport aircraft, Airbus and Boeing. The two commercial aircraft manufacturers concur that India is the driving force in the South Asia region, accounting for almost the totality of demand over the coming 20 years. According to Boeing's most recent market outlook, carriers in South Asia, will need 2,400 new aircraft in the period 2018-2037. Boeing calculates that this growth alone will lead Indian carriers to acquire nearly 2,070 new aircraft during the forecast period. Airbus highlights the importance of the Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik Regional Connectivity Scheme (UDAN-RCS) — a government initiative designed to make domestic flying more accessible to the Indian population, by making it more affordable and convenient, whilst at the same time stimulating economic growth.The government has already awarded more than 400 routes to airlines and helicopter operators.Though these routes are largely regional in focus, greater connectivity will also feed additional passengers to the larger aviation centres creating a need for larger aircraft types. On the military side, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India has been the world's top-ranked arms importer for several years now. New Delhi's drive to modernise the armed forces accounted for 12% of global arms imports in 2013-2017, as defence spending hovered around 2.5% of GDP.The main beneficiaries were Russia, the U.S. and Israel. The signs are that India will retain its ranking as the world's No. 1 weapons importer in coming years, even though the country's military procurement process can turn into a long and winding road for bidders. In the past, cumbersome bureaucracy, coupled with messy coalition politics, has generated long delays and programme cancellations. On the eve of delivery of the first of 36 Rafales ordered from Dassault to date, it is worth recalling that it has been close on 20 years since the Indian Air Force initially formalised its “urgent” requirement for 126 aircraft. However, as long as contractors consider that the prize is worth the wait, they will keep coming back for more.

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SPECIAL REPORT: India beckons - Worth the wait ........................................................................................................................................6 - Key role for UAVS in armed forces modernisation .................................................8 - India’s leading role in South Asia........................................................................................12 Airbus/Boeing: new orders still outpacing deliveries .................................................14 Tecalemit Aerospace, Europe’s fluid system leader ......................................................17 Airports: battle of the giants ..............................................................................................................18 Vinci airports grabs Gatwick .............................................................................................................21 Green light for Rafale F4 standard ...............................................................................................24 New-generation Mica on the horizon.........................................................................................28 J-20 bares its teeth ....................................................................................................................................30 Armed drones proliferate in Mideast..........................................................................................34 EU space policy: new mindset needed......................................................................................36 Interview: Jean-Loïc Galle, Thales Alenia Space president and CEO..............38 France upgrades orbital capabilities..........................................................................................40 ........................................................................................Articles translated from French by Duncan Macrae



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Art Director and design: Mourad Cherfi Production: Frédéric Bergerat Coordination : Duncan Macrae Editors: Justine Boquet, Yann Cochennec, Jean-Baptiste Heguy, Emmanuel Huberdeau, Jean-Philippe Laurent, Pierre-François Mouriaux Copy editor: Duncan Macrae Advertising: Cyril Mikaïloff Business development: Henry de Freycinet Publishing director: Hubert de Caslou

Cover photo: Mirage 2000 / E. HuBErDEAu SOCIÉTÉ DES ÉDITIONS AIR & COSMOS (SAS)

S.A.S. au capital de 1.000.000 € Siret 632 008 702 000 37. Siège social : 157, boulevard Macdonald 75019 Paris (France) Principaux actionnaires : Discom S.A.S. et Hubert de Caslou


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Airbus Helicopters is offering the Panther for the Indian Navy.




ndia has been the world's largest arms importer for several years now. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), over the period 2013-2017, India accounted for 12% of the world's imports of military hardware. Russia, the United States and Israel were India's three main suppliers over this period. Between 2012 and 2017, India's defence spending was equivalent to 2.5% of the country's GDP. In 2017, the defence budget amounted to almost $64bn.. India seems likely to retain its ranking as the world's No. 1 weapons importer in coming years, considering the requirements expressed by the Indian armed forces and the calls for tenders already under way.The procurement process in India,

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however, tends to be a long and winding road. Political aspects carry a lot of weight in a country that is most often governed by complex coalitions frequently under fire from outspoken opposition parties. The current debates surrounding the Rafale acquisition process are a good illustration of this phenomenon. Meanwhile, the very demanding Ministry of Defence is doing its utmost to obtain the best equipment at the best prices. Sometimes political decisions such as the desire to support local industry or to increase the number of suppliers to avoid reliance on a singly foreign power, can come into conflict with the needs of the Indian military. The armed forces are highly professional and expect to obtain up-to-date systems without delay. India's entrenched bureaucracy can also slow down

the procurement process with cumbersome procedures. All these factors mean that some contracts have been in progress for several years. In some cases, contracts have been awarded, cancelled and the bidding process relaunched several times. However, India's needs are so extensive and the market prospects so substantial that the main exporters of defence equipment — from the U.S., Europe, Russia and Israel — continue to bid for Indian contracts. COMBAT AIRCRAFT.

At the end of the 2000s, the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) programme caught the attention of Russian, North American and European contractors. New Delhi had published a call for bids for the acquisition of 126 fighter aircraft

for an estimated total cost of more than $7bn. Under the original scheme, 108 of these aircraft were to be produced locally by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited). Bids were received from Boeing (with the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet), Lockheed Martin (F-16), Dassault Aviation (Rafale), Saab (Gripen), Mikoyan (MiG-29) and the Eurofighter consortium (Typhoon). In 2012, Dassault Aviation was chosen as the winner, and discussions to finalise the contract began. However, the negotiators did not reach agreement on the exact conditions for the production of the Rafale in India. The MMRCA contract was abandoned, but India nevertheless chose, as an interim measure, to order 36 Rafale aircraft to be assembled in France in view of the urgent requirement


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It is stipulated that that all of these 110 aircraft be delivered within 12 years of contract signature. Competitors for this market are expected to be the same as for MMRCA. The Indian AF is not the only force looking for a new fighter aircraft. In January 2017, the Indian Navy (IN) issued an RFI for a carrier-borne fighter.The IN could acquire 57 multi-role fighters. India is interested in aircraft that can operate from aircraft carriers with or without

time that India has launched a programme to acquire in-flight refuelling aircraft.The IAF currently operates six IL-78s of Russian origin, acquired in the early 2000s. Given the number of fighters in service, the need for more aircraft is obvious.The Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) currently dominates the world market for in-flight refuelling platforms. Boeing is offering the KC-46 Pegasus, which has attracted an export order from Japan. Russia,

with systems developed by India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).The development by DRDO of a larger aircraft is still reportedly being pursued, featuring systems that could be integrated on an A330.The Indian press sometimes connects this programme to the in-flight refuelling programme. The choice of the MRTT could indeed generate savings in maintenance costs if the same platform were used. Another programme that regularly breaks cover in time for Aero India is the acquisition of a medium transport aircraft to replace the Avro HS-748.Airbus has been offering the C-295 for several years, and this aircraft will once again be showcased at this year's edition. HELICOPTERS.


of the Indian Air Force. Indian Air Force officials have repeatedly underlined the need to increase the number of fighter aircraft squadrons. The locally assembled Su-30 MKI currently constitutes the backbone of Indian combat aircraft fleet. The Indian AF also operates Mirage 2000s (currently being upgraded) and MiG-29s ordered in the 1980s. But many outdated aircraft remain in service. In particular, the Indian AF needs to replace more than 200 MiG-21s. Many MiG-27s and Jaguars also remain in service. Indian press reports recently mentioned the emergency acquisition of 21 MiG-29s — again, an interim measure in response to the ageing of the fleet.This initiative shows that India could acquire additional fighters outside the scope of major contracts to meet the most urgent needs of its air force. Two years ago, on the eve of Aero India 2017, manufacturers were awaiting publication of a new call for tenders. This was expected to be for the acquisition of a single-engine fighter. Saab with the Gripen E and Lockheed Martin with the F16V launched press campaigns and public announcements. However, this call for tenders was never issued. In the end, in April 2018, a request for information (RFI) reminiscent of the MMRCA was published on the Indian AF website. The document indicates that New Delhi wants to acquire 110 fighter aircraft for the Indian AF, 85% of which would be manufactured in India and 15% in the winning bidder's home counry The Indian AF is looking for a multi-role aircraft that can perform air superiority, air defence, ground attack, reconnaissance, sea assault, electronic warfare and refuelling missions (like the French naval air arm's buddy refuelling aircraft). 75% of these aircraft must be single-seater aircraft; the rest of the fleet must be two-seaters.

India is looking for additional airborne C2 platforms to complement its three Il-76 Phalcons. catapults.TheVikramaditya (the meanwhile, can propose the aconly IN carrier currently ope- quisition of additional Il-76s in rational) and the Vikrant (not tanker configuration. yet operational) are not equipIn July 2017, the IAF also ped with catapults, but India published an RFI for a signals would reportedly like to acquire intelligence and communicaan aircraft carrier equipped with tions jamming (SIGINT catapults in the future.The can- COMJAM) aircraft. The IAF didates for this programme would like to acquire seven would be the Super Hornet, such aircraft, which would be which is in service in the US twin-engine platforms designed Navy, the Rafale which is used to carry 10 operators. by the French Navy and the Further reinforcement of InGripen Maritime which only dian airborne command and exists on paper. Russia could control capabilities has also been also encourage India to acquire on the cards for years.The Inmore MiG-29Ks, as the aircraft dian Army operates three Il-76 is already in service with the Phalcon aircraft admitted to acIndian Navy. tive service between 2009 and 2011. These aircraft are based on a Russian platform fitted MISSION AIRCRAFT. Other major programmes have with Israeli systems. In Septembeen underway for several years, ber 2018, the government has such as the acquisition of in- reportedly given the green light flight refuelling aircraft. In Ja- for an order for two additional nuary 2018, an RFI was publi- aircraft.The Air Force has also shed for the acquisition of six received smaller ERJ145 tanker aircraft.This is the third AEW&CS aircraft equipped


Another major Indian Navy programme that is bound to attract the attention of foreign industrialists is the RFI for 111 utility helicopters. India is looking for a twin-engine platform with retractable landing gear and rotor blades for a wide spectrum of missions, including sea rescue, medical evacuations, liaison, antipiracy, counter-terrorism, humanitarian aid, surveillance and target designation. Airbus will display the Panther at Aero India 2019 — a credible candidate since it performs this type of mission with the French Navy. During this show,Airbus will also present the H225M, known as the Caracal in the French Air Force.The H225M has already been selected by several export customers. In recent years, the Indian armed forces have already reinforced their rotorcraft fleets with orders for Apache attack helicopters and Chinooks. Several locally designed helicopter models, such as the Dhruv, have also entered service but local versions of the Alouette III and Alouette II are still operated by the Indian Army. ■ Emmanuel Huberdeau


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or several years now, India has been engaged in a major drive to modernise its armed forces through the acquisition of high-performance equipment capable of dealing with the latest threats.While India's plans to renew its fighter aircraft inventory, acquire new helicopters and deploy higher-performance missile are well known, remotely piloted aircraft have not been forgotten.The roadmap published by the Ministry of Defence at the beginning of 2018 is ample evidence of this. In total, more than 500 aircraft could be acquired by the end of 2020, to be deployed with the Indian Army and Navy. Production will be organised in compliance with the "Make In India" initiative. One of the requirements outlined by the Indian ministry of defence is for 100-150 MALE (medium altitude long endurance) drones,



India has shown interest in the U.S. Predator.



Heron: 9 Searcher Mk II: N/A Searcher Mk I / Mk II: 12 Nishant: 13 Heron: 4 Searcher Mk II: 6


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SPECIAL REPORT for deployment with the Army and Navy.The requirement has been downsized since April, when the target was up to 200 systems. The selected UAV will be required to carry out search and reconnaissance missions, target identification, urban security operations, combat search and rescue, coastal and maritime patrol, natural disaster management and the protection of sensitive installations. The aircraft will be designed for long-duration missions, i.e. with a minimum autonomy of 24 hours. In terms of sensors, the MALE UAV that will equip the Indian forces will be able to carry electro-optical and infrared cameras as well as radars. STAND-OFF STRIKES.


In addition, India plans to provide the Indian Army and Indian Navy with combat drones, also of the MALE type.The UAVs in question will require extended endurance for missions lasting more

(200km) operations and around 30 hybrid drones.The latter will be capable of fixed-sing and rotary-wing flight, in order to operate in multiple environments but also to ensure long-duration missions. Finally, between 55 and 70 stealth UAVs will also be purchased for the Indian Army. In addition to avoiding detection by radar, these platforms must be capable of carrying high-performance sensors for COMINT, jamming or detection of NBC agents. While the Indian Army is expected to receive a large number of drones in the coming years, the Navy also aims to deploy unmanned systems. Plans include around 20 HALE (high altitude long endurance) drones and about 30 MALE UAVs. In addition, 50 shipborne systems, each consisting of 3 drones, are expected to be acquired, for a total of 150 aircraft. Finally, the Indian roadmap includes a pro-

mation on the tactical environment while limiting exposure of personnel. It can operate outdoors but also indoors, thanks to eight obstacle-avoidance sensors.This UAV does not correspond to any of the categories defined by the roadmap and could therefore be destined for specific units of one of the three armed forces, probably the Army. India is also reported to have

provide India with 90 Predator C Avengers. For now, Israel has established itself as the preferred supplier of UAVs for the Indian armed forces. Heron and Searcher drones are operated by all three services, and in September 2018 a contract was announced for an unspecified number of SpyLite mini-UAVs produced by Cyient Solutions & Systems, a

Rustom-II, made in India he indian defense research and development organisation is working on the development of the rustom-ii multi-mission drone. this aircraft, which will have an autonomy of 24 hours, will be designed to perform isr (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) missions for all three branches of the armed forces. the first taxi tests were performed in 2016. the first flight took place a few months later, in november 2016.


A contract was announced in September 2018 for an unspecified number of SpyLite mini-drones. than 24 hours.According to the roadmap, this UAV will be designed to engage static and mobile targets on land and at sea (on and below the surface). The system must be capable of performing attack missions from a stand-off range of 20km.The requirement is for around 30 UAVs. A variety of remotely piloted aircraft are due to be deployed with the land forces. In addition to the two platforms are already mentioned, the roadmap includes 170 other drones.These include 50 systems for short-range


vision for UAVs that can be launched from submarines. In all, a total of 10 systems could be purchased. NANOHAWK.

Alongside the requirements outlined in the roadmap, India has shown interest in a number of other UAV systems.These include the NanoHawk, produced by the French company Aeraccess.This mini-drone, intended for Special Forces missions, has been designed for complex operational scenarios. It can be used to gather infor-

expressed an interest in acquiring Reaper UAVs. In May 2018, the Indian government reportedly announced a $3bn acquisition plan covering an unspecified number of systems. India is also thought to be interested in acquiring the MQ-9B SeaGuardian maritime surveillance UAV.The U.S. State Department reportedly approved the deal in July 2017, leaving Congress to formally approve the Foreign Military Sale. Since then, the order has not been officially confirmed. Negotiations have also reportedly been initiated to

joint venture between Israeli firm Bluebird Aero Systems and Cyient. The SpyLite is a minidrone designed for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) missions. It can be used to conduct high-altitude aerial surveillance and target acquisition operations.With four hours' autonomy, it has a range of up to 80km. It can be controlled from a fixed ground station or from a moving vehicle. There does not seem to be any provision for the SpyLite in the roadmap.


â– Justine Boquet

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IndiGo has received 69 of its 430 A320-A321neos on order.





ccording to Boeing's most recent market outlook, carriers in South Asia, which includes India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, will need 2,400 new aircraft in the period 2018-2037. Almost all of this demand will be generated by traffic growth, which is estimated at an annual average of 7.8% over the period. Boeing calculates that this growth alone will lead Indian carriers to acquire nearly 2,070 new aircraft, ranging from 100-seat regional jets to wide body transports carrying 400 passengers or more. This represents 86% of the total of 2,400 deliveries predicted by Boeing for the region.The main reason for this: the fleets of South



Asian airlines, particularly those of Indian carriers, are extremely young. Jet Airways, for example, still has 135 Boeing aircraft to be delivered out of a total of 187 aircraft ordered under successive contracts.The same applies to SpiceJet, which has only taken delivery of 39 of its 168 Boeing 737s (see tables). The same applies to Airbus customer airlines: the IndiGo fleet currently features only 168 of the 530 A320 medium-haul aircraft that the carrier has ordered, while Go Air has yet to receive two-thirds of its aircraft on order. Unlike Boeing,Airbus market forecasts do not separate out South Asia from the Asia-Pacific region.This makes it difficult to make a direct comparison between the two manufacturers' estimates. Nevertheless, Airbus and Boeing agree on one thing: India is the driving force in the South Asia region. India on its own will absorb almost all the demand over the forecast period, since 96% of the 2,400 deliveries predicted by Boeing, i.e. 2,300 aircraft, are destined for an Indian market that has recorded no less than 51 consecutive months of double-digit growth, Boeing underlines. India already represents the bulk of the South Asia air transport fleet, which the American manufacturer currently estimates at 650 aircraft, including 530 single-aisle aircraft. The latter are expected to capture the lion's share of demand over the next 20 years, with just over 2,000 aircraft, including 1,940 for the Indian market alone. The Airbus numbers are significantly lower — the European manufacturer expects just 1,4001,500 deliveries to Indian carriers. Airbus still has no less than 476 single-aisle aircraft on order from IndiGo and Go Air, and deliveries of these aircraft will be spread over the first part of the 20-year period. FUTURE TRENDS.

Though their numbers do not exactly agree, Airbus and Boeing do see eye to eye on future trends on the Indian market. Both manufacturers see further economic growth, which is expected to continue at an average annual rate of 5.9% over the period, accompanied by the emergence of an increasingly large middle class.This segment of the population will increasingly rely on air transport, as clearly illustrated by air traffic statistics over recent years, underlining the impact of the attractive fares offered by low-cost airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet and Go Air.


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INDIA BECKONS South Asia Airbus Customer airlines IndiGo Go Air SriLankan Airlines Jet Airways Vistara Druk Air Nepal Airlines Total

Aircraft ordered 530 159 17 15 13 4 2 740

Aircraft delivered 169 45 13 10 0 3 2 242

Boeing Customer airlines Jet Airways SpiceJet Air India Pakistan Airlines Biman Bangladesh Blue Air Vistara Total

Aircraft ordered 187 168 68 13 10 6 6 458

These carriers have boosted domestic traffic in India, which has been growing at a faster rate than international traffic since 2014, with average annual rates of 16% and 11.4%, respectively, and now accounts for 64% of the market.This trend is expected to continue in spite of the

KEY FIGURES Indian market needs

1,900 to 2,300 aircraft valued at

$270-320bn including

76-84% single-aisle


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Aircraft delivered 52 39 68 8 10 0 0 177

fact that, as Boeing points out, Indian airlines are faced with the highest operating costs in the world due to high fuel taxes and airport fees. REGIONAL CONNECTIVITY.

Another growth factor highlighted in the Airbus forecast is the government-backed programme to enhance air connectivity between the different regions. Under the first round of this initiative, known as the UDAN Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), 128 air routes were allocated to five carriers. The number of routes allocated in the second phase, in January 2018, exceeded 300. As Airbus comments:“Whilst being largely regional in focus, greater connectivity will also feed additional passengers to the larger aviation centres creating a need for larger aircraft types. With a number of these new routes also expected to grow and in time needing, for example,


single-aisle types.”The company notes that, already today, Letters of Award from the Airport Authority of India indicate a capacity requirement for 180 seats on many routes.

Aircraft in service in 2018 Regional jets

Wide body




Today mainly focused on domestic traffic, which Boeing expects to increase five-fold over the next two decades as India becomes the eighth-largest market in the world, Indian air transport is also beginning to develop internationally. Current regulations allow operators to launch international services after demonstrating their financial and operational capabilities for a period of five years on the domestic market. According to Boeing, Indian carriers added 54 new international markets in 2017, an increase of 9%. This growth has so far been achieved with increasingly efficient mediumhaul aircraft. Nevertheless, Boeing estimates future wide-body requirements at 380 aircraft, expanding the current fleet from 100 aircraft to 480 by 2037. Once again, this is a growth market and not a replacement market, considering the young age of the fleet. Airbus sees even greater potential in this segment. The European manufacturer predicts demand for more than 400 wide-body aircraft. Boeing notes that “although Middle East global superconnectors’ growth has moderated, they will remain tough competitors for India-domiciled carriers on long-haul flows. However, there is an opportunity for Indian airlines to focus on growing these long-haul flows with new strategies that leverage the preference for point-to-point travel.” Finally, Boeing also points out that traffic to and from China has remained negligible, but as China and India are the two most populated countries (with 2.7 billion people), significant potential remains for future growth. ■ Yann Cochennec


530 Aircraft in service in 2037 Wide body Regional jets

10 380



India Airbus forecast New aircraft deliveries




Wide body

Boeing forecast New aircraft deliveries




Single-aisle Wide body Regional jets


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nce again, the Airbus teams pulled the rabbit out of the hat, delivering 119 aircraft in December 2018 alone, not including the A220 — the new name of the Bombardier CSeries since July 2018. This does not surpass the record of December 2017, when 127 aircraft were handed over to customers. However, it is still a remarkable performance, considering that, for the whole of the past year, the European manufacturer struggled to manage the delays affecting the A320neo engine manufacturers — Pratt & Whitney, who had to overcome technical problems that have been widely discussed, but also CFM.




In the end, thanks to the A220,Airbus managed to reach its target of 800 deliveries in 2018, an achievement acknowledged even by the naysayers. Certainly, symbols are important. However, this should not conceal the fact that, not counting the A220, the European manufacturer's deliveries once again reached historic levels: 780 aircraft compared to 718 in 2017.Two years ago,Airbus was well below the 700 mark and in 2012, below 600 (see graphs p. 15). The production ramp-up can be clearly seen at the various Airbus facilities in Europe, China and the United States: 626 A320 Family aircraft were delivered in 2018, including 386 A320neos; compared with a total of 558 in 2017, including 181 A320neos. Despite the difficulties mentioned above, the number of A320neo deliveries doubled from one year to the next, including aircraft that should have already been delivered in 2016.

A350 assembly line.




Airbus delivered more medium-haul aircraft than Boeing, 626 vs. 580, respectively, but the American manufacturer again came out on top last year with a 26-unit lead for total deliveries of all aircraft models, excluding the A220. Even discounting the 10 767 tankers for the U.S. Air Force, Boeing delivered 216 wide-body aircraft compared to 154 for Airbus.


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INDUSTRY The Boeing 777X is scheduled to make its first flight this year.


Though Airbus is still delivering twice as many very large aircraft — 12 A380s, compared to six Boeing 747-8s — Boeing's advantage derives from its product range in the wide-body twin segment: three models (767/777/787) compared to two (A330/A350). In addition to the 767-based tankers for the U.S.Air Force, Boeing continues to sell 767s and 777s in cargo versions. As a result, even if the trend is downward, these two aircraft are still being delivered, while 787 deliveries are set to increase. Having delivered 145 Boeing 787s in 2018, compared to 136 and 137 in 2017 and 2016, respectively, Dreamliner production has now reached a rate of 12 aircraft per month, with a target of 14 per month in the year ahead. Airbus in the meantime recorded 49 A330 deliveries last year compared to 67 in 2017, and is unable to make up the difference with increased production of the A350. True, 93 units were delivered in 2018, compared to 78 the previous year, but the European manufacturer is still a long way from its initial target of 10 A350s coming off the assembly line every month.

Boeing back in front in net orders... 1,503 11,419

1,456 1,432

1,355 1,109





Ramping up A350 production will be a key goal for the year ahead, but it is not the only one. The European manufacturer also needs to accelerate further on the A320 family and reach the 60-per-month mark this















. ...and narrowly ahead in deliveries.


2018 Boeing 806

Total backlog, Airbus + Boeing 12175 12582 12589




13129 13450

648 688

601 534











477 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018


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2 2011







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INDUSTRY Airbus Medium-haul Net orders for A320neo

A320neo Family Total orders

Long-haul A330neo makes its mark Net orders, 2014-2018

year. Airbus has already laid the groundwork to achieve this. Having added a new line producing up to 10 medium-haul aircraft per month, the Hamburg site will be able to produce 40 units per month, alongside 16 in France and four each in the U.S. and Chinese facilities. And the Mobile assembly line can very quickly move to five per month. So potentially Airbus could be producing 64 or 65 mediumhaul aircraft per month by the end of 2019, providing the supply chain can keep pace. With this dual production ramp-up on the A320 and A350, Airbus should logically move ahead of Boeing this year or in 2020 in terms of deliveries, since the U.S. manufacturer plans to increase from a monthly rate of 52 to 57 medium-haul aircraft in 2019. But it’s not just a question of whose in the lead in this twohorse race. This acceleration at both airframers is all the more vital because, despite their past and ongoing efforts to increase production rates, from more than 1,300 combined deliveries in 2014 to more than 1,400 in 2016 and 1,600 last year (see graphs on page 15), their combined order books continue to increase: 12,175 units in 2014, over 13,000 in 2017 and now approaching 13,500.The orders keep coming in, and the global air transport industry’s appetite for new aircraft shows no signs of weakening. INVENTORY BUILDUP.

Order book, end 2018


Between them, Airbus and Boeing again booked 1,640 net orders last year.That represents a 19% decrease from the 2,021 orders taken in 2017, but it is better than the year 2016, which ended with 1,399 net sales.The decline observed in 2018, particularly at Airbus (-33%), needs to be seen in the context of an annual average 1,716 net sales for both manufacturers over the last four years, with an advantage of around 100 units for Airbus (905).

An average of 1,716 net sales per year over the period 20152018 is significantly lower than the average of 2,501 orders per year over the period 2011-2014, but it still repreents a very high level of activity. With nearly 13,500 aircraft still to be delivered at the end of 2018, Airbus and Boeing still have eight years of production ahead of them.“Not everyone enjoys that kind of visibility. But on the other hand, inventory continues to build up,” comments one industry insider. Capital tied up in inventory is bad news for the airframers, who receive most of their revenue at aircraft delivery. Some observers are even wondering whether we might be seeing an “overflow of orders” for the two aircraft manufacturers. In particular for Airbus, which still has nearly 7,100 aircraft to deliver (not including 480 A220s), which is 1,200 more than Boeing. Given these prospects, it is therefore not surprising that the European manufacturer also wants to accelerate production of the A220.

Boeing Medium-haul Net orders for 737 MAX

MAX 10 makes its mark Total orders



787 vs. 777

Airbus wants to reach a production rate of 14 A220s per month by 2025, split between the Mirabel site in Canada (10 per month) and the Mobile site in the United States (four).That target represents a significant jump from the current situation: seven A220s were delivered in 2016, followed by 17 in 2017 and 33 last year.And the supply chain inherited from Bombardier is struggling to keep pace.Airbus still has its work cut out to get the A220 production system in order. On this side of the Atlantic, there is no shortage of work either.While he congratulated his teams around the world “who worked until the end of the year to honour our commitments,” Guillaume Faury, who will take the helm at Airbus this year, added:“In order to continue to improve our industrial efficiency, digitalisation will remain a prio■ Yann Cochennec rity.”

Net orders, 2014-2018


Order book, end 2018

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INT006_017.qxp_Mise en page 1 28/02/2019 17:57 Page17


TecaleMiT aeroSPace,

euroPe’S fluid SySTeM leader



Welding a fitting onto a rigid pipe.

family-owned SME based in Chaponost, near Lyon,Tecalemit Aerospace turned its focus to the aeronautics sector in the early 2000s. Created almost a hundred years ago, the comcpany started out in the automotive market (lubrication solutions) before diversifying into the aeronautics sector in the 1930s by designing pipes and hoses. Now exclusively focused on the aeronautics sector, the company is solidly established in the global market for flexible, semi-rigid and rigid pipes, where it is a European leader. It is also one of the few alternatives to predominantly North American suppliers of flexible and semi-rigid pipes. Aviation civile et militaire, hélicoptères, aWhether in civil and military aviation, helicopters, business aviation, general aviation, missiles or space launchers,Tecalemit solutions are now present on a significant number of aircraft, from the Airbus A350 to the Dassault Rafale and including the Ariane launcher, as well as on all CFM engines and on Leap engines for the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus 320neo.



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Major customers include Airbus, Safran, Dassault Aviation and Liebherr.The company also develops and supplies fittings for hoses, as well as fire and thermal protections. A wide range of processes are used: braiding and winding, extrusion, molding and overmolding, bending, welding, brazing, swaging... To build up its expertise in these complementary areas,Tecalemit first focused on organic growth before identifying its first external targets. Following the acquisition of Spiraltex (designer and manufacturer of braiding machines) and Carbone Forgé (innovative composite transformation processes) in 2011, the SME acquired the Daher Group's high- and low-pressure metal piping business for aeronautical applications at the end of 2018. The latter, based in Luceau, has 150 employees. A few weeks later, Tecalemit officially opened a Toulouse office staffed by technical and commercial teams, in order to ensure proximity with some of its major clients. Today, the Tecalemit Aerospace group has 400 employees spread over six sites: Chaponost (headquarters, R&D and production

of braids and composites), Blois and Luceau (piping assembly), Toulouse (engineering and sales office), Casablanca, Morocco (machining and assembly of pipes) and Tunis (component machining). KNOW-HOW.

Under Thierry and Franck Colcombet, respectively President and CEO, the group's integration strategy has made it possible to build a solid base from which to develop areas of know-how while reaching a size that meets the expectations of the group's major customers, Franck Colcombet explains. This strategy also allows the company to ensure its independence and thus guarantee its reactivity.Tecalemit Aerospace manufactures and maintains its own braiding machines. It also has internal testing facilities. These assets enable it to design tailor-made solutions specific to each of its customers. "Our engineers visit our customers' assembly lines. They know how the braiding process works. This experience 'in the field' is an added value as the design phase for new aircraft is getting shorter and shorter," notes Franck Colcombet. This agility is also a plus for product upgrades and the creation of new solutions such as composite piping. "Composites cannot be used for all the piping on board the aircraft. Rather, it is a matter of complementarity, resulting in significant weight gains.”Tecalemit Aerospace is also working on several innovations relating to the factory of the future: fully automated storage systems, digitization of flows, self-learning robots and additive manufacturing (already used for prototyping). As a positive consequence of the company's growth, some 50 new hires are expected this year. Spread across all the group's sites, they cover sectors as varied as logistics, purchasing, production, maintenance and design bureaux. ■ Jean-Philippe Laurent

Key figures

Sales €60 M 400 employees


sites in France, Morocco and Tunisia


INT006_018_020.qxp_Mise en page 1 28/02/2019 18:12 Page18

CIVIL AVIATION When completed, Istanbul International Airport will offer an annual capacity of 150-200 million passengers.




or several years now, the world's largest airport in terms of annual passenger traffic has been and remains the Hartsfield-Jackson international hub in Atlanta, USA, which handled nearly 104 million passengers in 2017 (see table). But, in the wake of continuing growth in international air traffic over the coming years, new “giants” are currently under construction, with the capacity to handle 100 million passengers per year — or up to twice that amount in some cases. The first of these "monsters" is the new Istanbul International Airport, located 35km northwest of the centre of the Turkish metropolis. It opened its doors on



29th October, with a high-profile ceremony led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to inaugurate the first phase of operations. This inauguration coincided with the 95th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. Construction is scheduled to proceed in four phases. The first phase includes the main terminal building with an annual capacity of 90 million passengers and a surface area of 1,300,000m2, or 320 acres, a second, 42-acre terminal, as well as 88 jet bridges and a parking lot for 12,000 cars.The first phase also includes two independent runways, 16 taxiways, an air traffic control tower and supporting buildings.

The second stage will add a third runway with three parallel taxiways to the north of the main terminal. A planned third stage will consist of an additional terminal with a capacity of 30 million passengers and an area of 500,000m2, as well as a fourth runway and additional taxiways and apron areas.The final and fourth stage of expansion will add another, 340,000m2 terminal with a capacity of 30 million passengers and another runway. On completion of the final construction phase in 2028, the airport will have a total of six runways, 16 taxiways and an annual capacity of 150-200 million passengers — more than three times greater than that of Ataturk Airport. Flights will be


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INT006_018_020.qxp_Mise en page 1 28/02/2019 18:13 Page19


The 10 busiest airports worldwide Airport 1: Atlanta (U.S.) 2: Beijing (China) 3: Dubai (UAE) 4: Tokyo (Japan) 5: Los Angeles (U.S.) 6: Chicago (U.S.) 7: London Heathrow (UK) 8: Hong Kong 9: Shanghai (China) 10: Paris CDG (France)

Passengers* 103.9 95.8 88.2 85.4 84.5 79.8 78 72.6 70 69.4

*millions (2017)


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Change year-on-year –0.3% +1.5% +5.5% +6.5% +4.5% +2.4% +3% +3.4% +6.1% +5.4%

offered to more than 300 destinations. The airport terminals will have an internal surface area of 1,500,000m2, with 165 jet bridges, four air-rail interconnection buildings, three technical support buildings, one main control tower, and eight other airport management towers. The completed airport will offer 500 aircraft parking spaces,VIP and cargo terminals, parking spaces for 70,000 cars, hotels, convention centres, etc. Construction of the airport began in 2015 and is expected to represent a total investment of €7bn, excluding financial costs.The team of architects is led by London-based Grimshaw and includes London studio Haptic and the Nordic Office of Architecture, based in Norway.


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CIVIL AVIATION Mega-airports on the way Airport Istanbul (Turkey) Beijing Daxing (China) Long Thành (Vietnam) Changi East (Singapore)

Construction start 2015 2012 2020 2015

Initial capacity 90m 45m 25m (2025) –

Full capacity 200m (2028) 100m (2025) 100m (2050) 50m (2030)*

*Brings total capacity at Changi to 135m. BEIJING, SINGAPORE.


With its unmistakeable starshaped design, Beijing's new airport (Daxing International Airport) will be the next to join the club of airport giants. It is scheduled to open on 30th September 2019.The Chinese government launched the pro-

specially designed to limit the travel distance between the centre of the terminal and the boarding gates to 600 metres or less. In the first phase of operations, Daxing will have four runways and 268 aircraft parking spaces. By 2025, the new airport will have seven runways and an annual ca-

Changi East will also feature enhanced airfreight, air express and Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) facilities, along with a smarter, more connected air cargo hub. In addition, he existing third runway, previously used only by the military, will be extended

Beijing Daxing International Airport is scheduled to open on 30th September 2019.

ject in 2013, in response to forecasts of soaring air traffic growth. The existing Beijing Capital International Airport, which opened its doors only ten years ago, is already operating at full capacity. It reported nearly 96 million passengers in 2017, making it the second-busiest airport in the world. The total investment for the construction of Daxing, designed by ADP Ingénierie in collaboration with Zaha Hadid Architects, is $11.2 billion. Its first terminal, with a capacity of 45 million passengers, expandable to 72 million, will be the largest in the world in terms of area. Its star-shaped layout has been


pacity of 100 million passengers. Singapore's Changi International Airport, plans to go even further.With its three terminals and 66 million passenger capacity, it was already the largest hub in South East Asia, even before Terminal 4 opened in 2017. With the latter building, the airport's total capacity increased to 82 million passengers annually. Now the airport operator, Changi Airport Group (CAG), is looking further ahead with the Changi East Project.This project includes construction of a fifth terminal, to be built on an adjacent 2,700 acre site and planned for completion around 2030, offering a capacity of 50 million passengers.

from 2.75km to 4km to handle larger passenger aircraft, and converted for joint military-civilian use. Under the threerunway programme, almost 40km of new taxiways will also be built to connect the runway with the rest of Changi Airport. This three-runway system is scheduled for completion around the early 2020s. In total, by 2030, Changi International Airport should be able to handle no less than 135 million passengers per year. VIETNAM.

Elsewhere in South-East Asia, Vietnam has also seen strong air traffic growth in recent years

and nfaces a need to upgrade its airport infrastructure accordingly. On 2nd June, the Vietnamese national operator ACV (Airports Corporation of Vietnam) signed a contract with the JFV consortium between Japanese, French andVietnamese partners covering consultancy services and a feasibility study for the first phase of the Long Thành International Airport Project. JFV includes ADP Ingénierie of France, Japan Airport Consultants (JAC), Nippon Koei and Oriental Consultants Global, and theVietnamese Airport Design and Construction Consultancy (ADCC) and Transport Engineering Design Inc. (TEDI). Covering a total area of 13,800 acres, the new Long Thành International Airport will be located about 40km east of Ho Chi Minh City and will straddle six municipalities in the Long Thành district. It will relieve congestion at Tan Son Nhat airport, which has been overcrowded for decades. Construction of the new airport project is expected to start by the end of 2020. On completion of the first phase, in 2025, the airport should be ready to start operations with a capacity of 25 million passengers and two runways. In a second, 10-year phase, its capacity is expected to increase to 50 million passengers with the addition of a third runway. At the end of phase 3, in 2050, the airport should be ready to handle 100 million passengers, with four runways..


■ Jean-Baptiste Heguy

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In a major strategIc coup, VIncI concessIons' aIrport subsIdIary, VIncI aIrports, concluded an agreement on 27th december to acquIre 50.01% of the shares of gatwIck aIrport, the eIghth-largest platform In europe.

Gatwick becomes the 46th airport in the Vinci portfolio. inci Airports pulled off a major coup in the closing days of 2018, concluding an agreement to acquire a majority share of Gatwick Airport, the UK's second-largest platform behind Heathrow. The transaction, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019, involves the acquisition of 50.01% of the shares of Gatwick Airport Limited, the company that owns the platform, for an estimated £2.9bn, or €3.2bn.The remaining shares



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will be held by the investment fund, Global Infrastructure Partners, which has managed the platform since 2009.. With this move,Vinci Airports is adding a 46th airport to its global portfolio, which spans eleven countries around the world, operated under concession and/or as a stakeholder. In addition to Gatwick,Vinci Airports has partial or total ownership of 10 airports in Portugal (Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal, Ponta Delgada, Horta, Porto Santo, Santa Maria, Flores and Beja), three in Cambodia (Siem Reap, Phnom Penh

and Sihanoukville), three in Japan (Kansai, Osaka and Kobe), six in the Dominican Republic (Las Américas, Puerto Plata, Samana, La Isabela,Arroyo Barril, Barahona), one each in Chile (Santiago), Brazil (Salvador de Bahia), Northern Ireland (Belfast) and Sweden (Skavsta) and 12 in France (Lyon Saint-Exupéry, Lyon Bron, Nantes Atlantique, Rennes Bretagne, ToulonHyères, Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne, Grenoble, Chambéry, Dinard, PoitiersBiard, Saint-Nazaire-Montoir, Pays d'Ancenis).


INT006_021_023.qxp_Mise en page 1 28/02/2019 17:17 Page22


Gatwick serves 233 destinations in 74 countries. EASYJET'S BIGGEST BASE.

The takeover of Gatwick is strategic for Vinci Airports, as it is one of the most active European airports. With a total of 45.7 million passengers in 2018 (fiscal year ended 31st March), Gatwick's traffic has increased by 27.3% in five years, or nearly 10 million passengers gained since 2014. Gatwick Airport Limited's turnover at 31st March 2018 was £764.2m, an increase of 5.4% compared to the same period in 2017 and an impressive 28.7% increase compared to 2014. Gatwick annually serves 233 destinations in 74 countries and, most importantly, the airport is part of the world's largest origin/destination market: London. In 2017, the airports in the London metropolitan area managed more than 170 million passenger movements. Last year, Gatwick Airport broke a record by completing the departure of 950


flights from a single runway in a single day. Traffic growth at Gatwick stems partly from easyJet, which operates its largest base in Europe at the airport.The base was established in 2002. In the high season of 2018, the budget carrier offered no fewer than 103 destinations, with peaks of 230,000 seats per week.Within the space of almost 10 years, between 2008 and 2017, easyJet doubled its available capacity from 5 million seats to 10.3 million in 2017. In total, easyJet's traffic through Gatwick in 2018 amounted to 18.5 million passengers. EasyJet's growth has been followed by that of other budget carriers. In 2008, low-cost carriers accounted for 27% of Gatwick's total capacity. This proportion had increased to 42% by 2014 and now stands at 62%, according to the airport operator. This very high proportion is

also due to the "GatwickConnects" system, which makes it easier for passengers to organise connections between mediumand long-haul flights.This is the system that is now used by easyJet for its "Worldwide by easyJet" connecting platform, launched in 2017 at Gatwick and which now includes partnerships with WestJet, Norwegian,Thomas Cook Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and soon Emirates. With this level of activity, Gatwick needs to increase capacity. It has therefore launched a £1.11bn (€1.23bn) investment plan, including £266m for the period 2018-2019 alone. The airport is looking at two growth scenarios. By keeping the current single runway in operation and introducing further operational enhancements, Gatwick Airport could boost traffic to 52.8 million passengers by 2022-2023, with 300,000 aircraft movements. The other involves using the

airport's existing back-up runway as a second runway for takeoffs. In doing so, the airport would be able to offer between 10 and 15 additional aircraft movements per hour, a target of 68-70 million passengers by 2032-2033, and an estimated 375,000-390,000 total aircraft movements. A public inquiry on the selection of one of these two scenarios is expected to take place in 2019. If the second scenario is chosen, the back-up runway could enter service for aircraft departures by mid-2020. ADP NEXT?

These growth prospects explain why the takeover by Vinci Airports is strategic. "The whole Vinci Airports network will benefit from Gatwick Airport’s world-class management and operational excellence, which has allowed it to deliver strong and steady growth in a very constrained environment. As


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Vinci Airports reports 2018 traffic growth

Passenger traffic, millions (FY ending 31st March 2018)

hinci airports’ network handled a total of 195.2 million passengers in fy 2018 (6.8% more than in 2017). this figure is expected to reach 240 million after the integration of london gatwick. this follows other expansion moves announced in april. highlights included an 8.9% increase in trafic at lisbon airport to an all-time-high 29 million notwithstanding space limitations. this was the larest increase in the Vinci airports network in 2018. to be able to accommodate traffic growth until the concession expires in 2062, Vinci airports and the portuguese government signed an agreement on 8th january to finance a €1.2bn expansion of lisbon’s airport capacity, both by the extension of the existing facility and the


opening of a new civil airport in montijo, 25km from the city centre. In france, traffic at the 12 airports under Vinci airports management jumped 9.4%, to 19.9 million passengers, including 11 million at lyon-saint exupéry and lyon-bron airports (+7.4%); and 6 million at nantes atlantique airport (+12.9%). In the u.s., traffic at the five airports that Vinci airports has been operating under concession or management contracts since september 2018 reached 9.5 million for the full year (8.7% more than in 2017). positive results were also reported from kansai, japan (+3.7%) and cambodia (+20.1%), where traffic exceeded 10 million for the first time ever.




44.1 45.7

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Traffic breakdown, 2018 (millions of passengers) UK and regional

5.7 International long-haul

VINCI AIRPORTS – TRAFFIC BY COUNTRY (in thousands of passengers)


Change 2017/2018

Portugal Japan Chile France Cambodia U.S. Brazil UK Serbia Dominican Republic Sweden Costa Rica Total Vinci Airports

55,325 48,330 23,303 19,916 10,554 9,529 8,071 6,286 5,641 5,019 2,195 1,125 195,241

+6.8% +3.7% +8.8% +9.4% +20.1% +8.7% +4.6% +7.5% +5.4% +2.0% +3.9% +3.4% +6.8%

Gatwick’s new industrial partner, Vinci Airports will support and encourage growth of traffic, operational efficiency and leverage its international expertise in the development of commercial activities to further improve passenger satisfaction and experience,” commented Nicolas Notebaert, CEO of Vinci Concessions and President of Vinci Airports, following the

announcement of the Gatwick acquisition. After Gatwick, Paris airport operator Groupe ADP — currently up for privatisation in the coming months — could be the next big target forVinci Airports. The latter already holds an 8% stake in Groupe ADP and has made no secret of its desire to take part in the privatisation process.The process was




Movements 280,792 278,889 265,970 255,798 247,863






Turnover, £m (FY ending 31st March 2018)

initially scheduled to take place in spring 2019, but with the yellow vest crisis, the government has announced that it could be postponed to 2020. If the Vinci/ADP tieup were indeed to come to fruition, against a backdrop of airline concerns about soaring airport fees, a true giant airport operator would arrive on the scene.

725 638




■ Jean-Baptiste Heguy

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018


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INT006_024_027.qxp_Mise en page 1 28/02/2019 16:56 Page24




RAFALE F4 STANDARD Dassault aviation has been awareD a contract to Develop the F4 stanDarD For the raFale Fighter aircraFt. the First new Developments unDer the F4 stanDarD are expecteD to be reaDy by 2022. Full valiDation oF the new stanDarD is scheDuleD For 2024.

n Monday 14th January, Florence Parly, the French minister of the armed forces, travelled to the Dassault Aviation plant in Mérignac and visited the Rafale and Falcon assembly lines. She took the opportunity to underline the importance for France to focus on innovation, particularly in the field of combat aviation. During the visit, Dassault Aviation was officially awarded the contract to develop and integrate the Rafale F4 standard, described by Parly as a major step forward in technologlical, industrial and strategic terms.The first upgraded aircraft is expected to be delivered between 2023 and 2025.

O 24

The F4 standard follows F1 (specific to the first aircraft for the French Navy), F2 (air-toground and air-to-air capabilities), F3 and the recently-qualified F3-R (extended versatility). The innovations embodied in the Rafale F4 not only ensure that French forces possess combat capabilities adapted to today’s threats; they also ensure the credibility of the French fighter on the international market.Parly recalled ongoing competitions in Switzerland and Finland, both of which plan to acquire new fighter aircraft in the near future.“The French market is too small for the Rafale,”she underlined, “so we must ensure it has the assets to succeed beyond our borders.” Dassault CEO Eric


Trappier pointed out that the Rafale would still be in service in 50 years' time, underlining the importance of continuing improvements. INNOVATION.

The F4 programme builds on four major pillars of innovation — starting with connectivity and networking. Dassault says the aircraft will feature innovative connectivity solutions to optimise performance in network-enabled combat (enhanced connectivity between the Rafale and other assets through new satellite links and radio systems and secure, intelligent communications server technology).The Rafale F4 will be designed to receive and process massive quantities of data — a capability that clearly meshes into the networking ambitions of the Franco-German Future Combat Air System (FCAS, also referred to by its French acronym SCAF). Parly also underlined the importance of data transfers between manned fighter aircraft and remotely piloted platforms. The second pillar of the F4 standard will be its weapons payload. The aircraft will be equipped with a more powerful engine, allowing it to carry more weapons and deal with a broader spectrum of threats. New weapons will include improved NG Mica air-toair missiles (see article p.XX) and 1,000kg AASM air-to-ground weapons, along with upgraded Scalp/Storm Shadow cruise missiles. The Rafale F4 will also carry the Thales Targeting Long-range Identification Optronic System (Talios). This laser targeting pod – a


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DEFENCE  The F4 standard was launched immediately after qualification of the F3-R standard.

First step towards FCAS he F4 standard is part of the rafale fighter's ongoing continuous improvement process, designed to take account of operational feedback and technological advances. French defence officials underline that it is also a first step towards collaborative, connected multi-platform combat, i.e. the Franco-german future combat air system (Fcas, also known by its French acronym scaF). on the F4 standard, Dassault aviation will be responsible for implementing “innovative connectivity solutions to optimise the effectiveness” of the rafale in networkenabled combat operations, in particular by enabling greater interconnection between the rafale and other assets through new satellite links and radio


key feature of the recently qualified Rafale F3-R standard – a combines a reconnaissance and targeting capability with visibility of the entire critical decision chain, from gathering intelligence to neutralising threats. It features the latest generation of high-resolution electro-optical and infrared sensors, along with line-of-sight stabilisation and advanced image processing capabilities.The pod also provides a long-range threat engagement capability to counter fixed and moving targets. The third major feature of the Rafale F4 is the capability to detect and respond to complex threats. According to Dassault, new functions will be developed to improve the aircraft's capabilities (upgrades to the radar sensors and front sector optronics, helmetmounted display capabilities).The Spectra electronic warfare system will also be upgraded, Parly said. MAINTENANCE.

Finally, Dassault and the ministry of the armed forces plan to work together to improve the availability of the Rafale.This effort is in line with French military aircraft maintenance reforms initiated in 2018.


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systems and secure, intelligent communications server technology. parly took the opportunity of her visit to mérignac to recall the schedule of the Fcas programme with the recent award of an initial contract for preliminary design and system architecture under the overall management of the French defence procurement agency, Dga. an opportunity for Florence parly to “pay tribute to the remarkable work done by the Dga. it took imagination, intelligence, perseverance”. the formal contract signature took place at a meeting between French president emmanuel macron and german chancellor angela merkel on 22nd January in aachen to seal the new Franco-german treaty on cooperation and integration.

The through-life support contract will become more “top-down” under the authority of the aircraft manufacturer. The F4 standard will include a new Prognosis and Diagnostic Aid System introducing predictive maintenance capabilities. Other optimised maintenance features are also planned, including solutions based on Big Data and artificial intelligence. Last but not least, the Rafale F4 will be equipped with a new engine control unit. The cost of the F4 programme is close to €2bn.The programme will involve between 2,500 and 5,000 jobs, directly or indirectly. INTEGRATION.

The F4 standard is designed to allow the progressive integration of upgraded systems.The renewal of the French fleet (an additional 28 Rafales will be delivered by the end of 2024) will make it possible to integrate the latest innovations on these aircraft. In addition, the aircraft due to be ordered in 2023, a further 30 fighters, will all feature the new developments. The gradual integration of the advanced features will allow pilots to familiarise themselves


the Fcas programme will be on display at the paris air show, which parly said will feature initial aircraft and engine demonstrators. Dassault ceo eric trappier recently indicated that the demonstrator of the Fcas fighter aircraft — which will be part of an overall networked architecture including combat and surveillance/ intelligence drones, satellites and missiles — is expected to fly around 2025. “our target is for Fcas to be operational in 2040. so work must start this year,” trappier added, while calling on the Dga to pursue “an ambitious programme of demonstrators; we will need to fly several in order to validate technical and operational features of Yann Cochennec the design.”

with the new systems. Work on the Rafale F4 standard started in March 2017. Studies were based on feedback from Rafale pilots who have been engaged in out-of-area operations in recent years. They also took account of the latest threats and technologies potentially in the hands of state and non-state actors. It is clear that the weapons carried by the Rafale must be designed for use against hardened objectives as well as well-delimited targets that may be located in urban areas. It is therefore crucial to be able to control the intensity of the strike in order to limit the risk of collateral damage. Furthermore, recent experience shows that France now mainly conducts military operations as part of an international coalition. Interoperability between forces, therefore, is a real challenge and networking is crucial. Hence the importance of connectivity. Information-sharing is not limited to French aircraft; it also extends to allied aircraft operating within the same coalition.The ability to communicate with all actors on the battlefield, regardless of distance, in a fast and secure manner, will

probably be one of the keys to future conflicts. F3-R STANDARD.

The contract for the development and integration of the F4 standard follows the qualification of the F3-R standard by the DGA in November.Almost a month later, on 17th December, the French Navy’s CEPA/10 test centre made its first flight with an F3-R Rafale. The centre is carrying out a series of tests in preparation for the official entry into service of the F3R standard with the French Navy’s 11F squadron, which will be the first to deploy the new standard. The F3-R standard includes two major capability enhancements, namely the integration of the Meteor air-to-air missile and theTalios laser targeting pod, along with a number of software upgrades.Thanks to MBDA's Meteor missile, the Rafale will be able to engage targets at distances up to around 100km. Enhancements under the F3 standard guarantee the Rafale's capability to spearhead “first entry” operations, whether as part of a French-only operation or within an international coali■ Justine Boquet tion.


INT006_024_027.qxp_Mise en page 1 28/02/2019 16:56 Page26


RAFALE F4 mAin FeAtureS

rAdAr upgraded rbe2 aesa. new functions (very high-definition radar mapping, moving ground target tracking). optimisation of iFF system.



enhanced front sector optronics (osF).improvements to infrared channel.

enhanced detection capabilities. expanded frequency bands.



helmetmounted Sight Faster, more effective. target designation by head pointing.



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miSSileS Development of newgeneration mica missile.

ConneCtivity reduced emissions. secure information-gathering, -processing and -distribution. new software radio. syracuse iv satellite communications.

engine optimised maintenance. m88 upgrades (new-generation electronics, big Data).

AASm bloCk 4 new propulsion kit. 1,000kg bombs.


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INT006_028_029.qxp_Mise en page 1 28/02/2019 17:44 Page28


The Mica can be carried on the Rafale ...





rom 2026 onwards, the French Air Force and Naval Air Wing will have a new asset for air combat.The new missile’s designation, Mica NG (for New Generation), suggests a simple upgrade. However, the external appearance of the weapon, which will be identical to that of the missile currently in use, is misleading. Because it is indeed a new missile that French industry, led by MBDA, is developing. Patrice Claveau, Military Advisor at MBDA France, sums it up:“Externally nothing changes. Inside everything changes.” The objective of the Mica NG programme is to provide French Rafales and Mirage 2000s with an air-to-air missile adapted to the latest threats and offering enhanced performance, while ensuring a mi-


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INT006_028_029.qxp_Mise en page 1 28/02/2019 17:45 Page29

e ...

nimum amount of integration work. Hence the idea of keeping the dimensions, weight, centre of gravity and inertia of the current Mica. The transformations will take place inside the missile. The changes will be designed to ensure the missile is effective against targets with reduced infrared and electromagnetic signatures, while increasing connectivity, range and cinematic capabilities. Internal sensors will be added to allow the status of the weapon to be monitored throughout its life.These new features are rendered possible by an increase in computer capacity that makes it possible to reduce the volume of electronic components and enable the missile to carry a larger volume of propellant. Developed in the 1990s, Mica was initially designed to replace the Magic 2 and Super 530D in the French forces.The former is a short-range infrared-guided missile, while the latter is a medium-range semiactive radar-guided missile requiring illumination of the target by the radar of the firing aircraft during the entire flight of the missile. The Mica, which can be equipped with an infrared or electromagnetic seeker, can engage both short- and mediumrange targets. Preliminary studies for the development of a Mica successor began in 2008. Initial design criteria were determined in 2011, followed by upstream study programmes from 2012 to evaluate the maturity of certain selected technologies. NEW SEEKERS.

The Mica NG will retain two seeker modes, like the Mica.As with the missiles currently in use, some of the weapons will be equipped with an electromagnetic seeker (EM) while others will feature infrared (IR) guidance. Infrared is particularly effective at short ranges, though it can also be used against more distant


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... and on the Mirage 2000-5.

targets. EM guidance is preferred for long-range strikes.The Mica NG EM seeker will use an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar developed by Thales.This type of radar both increases the missile's detection capabilities and makes it more resistant to countermeasures. The Mica NG’s IR seeker will use a matrix sensor developed by Safran and MBDA providing greater sensitivity than current systems.The matrix remains locked on its target, while current systems continue to scan and may temporarily lose contact with the target. The new IR seeker should, therefore, also be more resistant to countermeasures. Pilots can see the images taken by the Mica's IR seeker, which can therefore be used as an optical sensor. This is why an IR-guided missile is often carried, even for air-toground missions with no airto-air threat. With the AESA radar and IR matrix sensor, the Mica NG will have fewer moving parts than the Mica. This should increase the design life of the missile and reduce maintenance costs, MBDA believes. Monitoring of the missile's condition will be one of the main focuses of the programme.The Mica NG will


be equipped with HUMS (Health and Usage Monitoring Systems), components that provide information on the status of the various systems that make up the weapon.They will make it possible to realistically track missile ageing. DOUBLE PULSE.

Thanks to advances in electronics, the volume of both seeker types can be reduced, leaving more space for the missile rocket motor supplied by Roxel. The Mica NG will be equipped with a double pulse rocket motor.The missile will be equipped with two separate propellant grains. The first is used for launch and initial acceleration.The second one can be triggered at a later stagae to give extra energy to the missile.This second impulse could allow the missile to counter evasive manoeuvres by the target. According to MBDA, the missile's no escape zone will therefore be increased compared to the current Mica. The overall range of the missile should also be increased by 30%. The range of a missile can vary depending on many factors such as carrier speed and launch altitude. But a range of about 70 km is usually given for the current Mica. The Mica NG will

retain the same thrust vector control system as its predecessor. This system allows the missile to make very tight turns. This feature allows the missile to engage targets at off-bore angles greater than 90 degrees. In 2007, a test even demonstrated the ability to engage a target behind the launch aircraft, thanks to a designation supplied by another aircraft via data link. The Mica NG will also be equipped with a "two-way" data link allowing the missile to communicate after launch with the launch platform and also with other aircraft. It should not be forgotten that the MICA NG should still be in service when the Franco-German Future Combat Air System is expected to be fielded.This system of systems is based on a network of sensors, platforms and weapons. Mica NG must therefore be designed to be integrated into this future architecture. 5,000 ORDERS.

Since 1997, more than 5,000 Mica missiles have been sold worldwide.Taiwan was the first customer, ordering missiles for its Mirage 2000-5s. In France, the Mica equips the Rafale and Mirage 2000-5 and will soon be integrated onto Mirage 2000D. All these aircraft will be able to carry the Mica NG. In parallel with the order for the new missile, the DGA also ordered a pyrotechnic upgrade for the 300 Micas currently in service.This will extend the life of the these weapons. From 2019, the Rafale will also be able to carry the Meteor long-range air-to-air missile. A Rafale in air-to-air configuration will be able to carry four Micas (usually a combination of IR and EM variants) and two Meteors. Mica is also available for export as a land- or ship-based air defence system.The missile is the same, but it is fired from a vertical launch container. MBDA hopes that current Mica customers will also opt for the Mica NG. ■ Emmanuel Huberdeau


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P. Butowski



ITS TEETH China's new J-20 Combat airCraft put on an impressive show of forCe in november at airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai, with no less than four airCraft on display. we take a Closer look at the CharaCteristiCs and Capabilities of the people's liberation army's future frontline fighter.

our Chengdu J-20 fighters performed during Airshow China in November 6-11, 2018, in Zhuhai. During the flying display on the last day of the exhibition, two of the fighters opened their weapon bays, showing the ordnance. The main centreline weapons bay contained four long-range PL-15 air-to-air missiles, while the small side bays were fitted with a single close air combat PL-10 AAM each. The PL-15 developed by Leihua Electronic Technology Research Institute (LETRI; or 607 Institute) is an extended-range activeradar homing missile reportedly comparable to US AIM-120D. It was test-fired for the first time in September 2015 and entered

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service in 2018.The short-range imaging infrared PL-10 developed by Luoyang (or 612) Institute is also a new-generation missile that entered service since around 2015, comparable to the AIM-9X. The J-20 fighter was designed by No. 611 Research Institute in association with Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) in a team headed by Yang Wei. Today 55 years old, Wei is the former designer of the flight control system of the J-10 single-engine fighter and the chief designer of its two-seat variant, the J-10S, as well as the JF-17 fighter developed for Pakistan. The first of two J-20 technology demonstrators, aircraft ‘2001’, flew on 11th January 2011; the other one was ‘2002’. They were followed by six prototypes, ‘2011’ through ‘2017’ (there was no ‘2014’), which joined the tests in 2014-2015. Some changes resulting from the first stage of trials were introduced,

along with certain avionics and fire control system components. An additional airframe was used for static tests. The first aircraft from the Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) batch, numbered ‘2101’, flew on 18th January 2016. It is rumoured that seven LRIP aircraft were produced in total; most probably, these are the aircraft ‘78271’ through ‘78277’, deployed since 12th December 2016, to the Dingxin Flight Test and Training Base for weapon integration trials and development of combat tactics.The airframes of these aircraft feature no major differences in comparison with the last prototypes, but they have full sensor suite. Two of them (without numbers) made their public debut at Airshow China two years ago. Since the beginning of 2018 at least four production aircraft,‘78230’ through ‘78233’, have been handed over to the PLA Air Force


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Two of the four Chengdu J-20s presented at Zhuhai.

(PLAAF) Cangzhou-Cangxian Flight Training Base.These were the four aircraft that performed at Airshow China 2018. The J20 fighters presented this year bear a new two-tone paint scheme with low-visibility markings and additional outlines that emphasise the main and side weapon bays. For the display, the fighters were fitted with corner reflectors (Luneburg lenses) designed to disrupt attempts to measure the aircraft’s actual radar cross-section. Putting all this together, one can conclude that at least 20 J20 aircraft have been built to date. Moreover, since 19th September 2017 prototype ‘2021’


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of the J-20A version, powered by indigenous engines (reportedly the WS-10C rated at 13.2t), has been undergoing tests; the second prototype (‘2022’) flew in January 2018. ENGINE PROBLEMS.

It is well known that the Chinese have problems with engines for their aircraft. Production J-20s are powered by Russian AL31FN series 3 turbofans rated at 13.5t.This engine was developed by the Moscow-based Salyut plant for the Chinese order for the J-10 fighter and is a derivative of the AL-31F engine for the Su-27, with the gearbox re-located beneath the engine (the


letter N means 'nizhnyi', lower). The series 3 version, which has been in production since 2013, features a new low-pressure compressor with a diameter increased from 905mm to 924mm. In all their documentation, the Russians refer to the AL-31FN engine as being intended for the J-10 single-seat fighter; Russian specialists took part in tests of this engine on the J-10. However, the Russians were not involved in modifying the AL-31FN for the J-20. Chinese problems with engines concern mainly the durability and reliability of series-produced models, i.e. production runs extending beyond single test exam-

ples. Engines currently in production include the WS-10 Taihang in the 12-14 tonne class, which equips the J-10 and J-11 fighters. However, this is not enough thrust for the J-20.The engine destined for the J-20 is the new-generation 16-17t WS-15; this is the only engine that will enable the J-20 to attain supersonic cruise speed. UNCOUPLED CANARDS.

The J-20 has heavily loaded wing and all-moving canard surfaces situated relatively far forward (so called ‘uncoupled canards’). Such configuration indicates the priority of speed and range over manoeuvrability, and suggests that the pri-


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DEFENCE Uncoupled canards Refuelling probe on right side

EOTS-86 electro-optical targeting system Air inlet with shock cone

J-20 KEY FIGURES 13m 20.6m 4.6m 18,000kg 30,000kg 35,000kg Mach 2.0 Mach 1.5 3,500km

Wing span Length (excl. refuelling probe) Height Empty weight Max. take-off weight Take-off weight, interception Max. speed Supersonic cruise speed Range with internal fuel

High-resolution infrared sensor

PL-15 extended-range active-radar homing missiles and PL-10 shortrange imaging-infrared missiles


Salyut AL-31FN engines

Thrust vector control on the J-10 he first Chinese experimental fighter with thrust vector control (tvC) took part in the flight display at Zhuhai. this was the Chengdu J-10b prototype ‘1034’ which is owned by aviC. after being fitted with tvC capability, the aircraft made its maiden flight on 25th december 2017. the performance demonstrated by the J-10b testbed at Zhuhai was impressive. the experimental engine with tvC is supposedly designated ws-10X. the Chinese nozzle is an axisymmetric, three-dimensional (3d) design that deflects up/down and left/right. the russian twin-engine sukhoi su-35 fighters operated by China’s plaaf have



2d (up/down) nozzles and the threedimensional effect is obtained by a vtype arrangement of two 2d nozzles. it is known that russia offers a salyut al-31fn series 4 turbofan fitted with a 3d nozzle for the J-10; however, for obvious reasons China prefers the indigenous development. according to a presentation by aero engine Corporation of China (aeCC), “thrust vector technology is one of the key technologies necessary for the fourth-generation [i.e. fifth-generation by international standards] fighter. thrust vectoring significantly increases the aircraft's close combat ability. it can effectively shorten the aircraft's approach and

landing distance. it also improves stealth performance.” and further, “tvC has a significant effect on improving aircraft stealth, mobility, agility, reducing aircraft aerodynamic drag, improving aircraft performance, and improving aircraft survivability.” the thrust vector nozzle is advertised by aeCC as a “lightweight and efficient [solution], low-risk for both engines and aircraft; only a slight modification is required”. thrust vectoring nozzles will certainly be used in future in J-20 and J-31 fighters. in early 2018 an experimental tvC engine was reportedly installed on one of the J-20 prototypes, designated ‘2012’.


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… and another with a fixed antenna, similar to the Russian N036 Byelka.

mary tasks of J-20 are long-range interception and long-range strike. The J-20’s fire-control radar is believed to be an active electronic-scanning array (AESA) radar developed by the Nanjing Research Institute of Electronics Technology (NRIET, or No. 14 Institute), with a single front antenna. However, informed sources insist that there is still no seriesproduction AESA fighter radar available in China and J-20s have been temporarily fitted with more conventional devices.The Nanjing institute displayed at


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Zhuhai two versions of the KLJ7A AESA radar, which admittedly is intended for smaller JF-17 Block III export fighter, but probably reflects a similar approach adopted in the case of the J-20. Two variants of the radar feature various methods of widening its observation angles, which for AESA antennas are narrow. The first method is to install the antenna on a gimbal, which allows it to be tilted towards the target. The other method is to use three antennas – one main, forward-looking antenna and


Thrust vectoring nozzle intended for the J-20

two smaller, side-looking antenna. This clearly reflects the Russian philosophy relating to AESA radars: the N135 Irbis radar of the Su-35 fighter has a tilting antenna, while the Su-57’s N036 Byelka radar has a triple-antenna array.Two years ago at the Zhuhai air show, the KLJ-7A display featured one fixed antenna. The J-20 fighter also possesses an under-nose electro-optical targeting system, whose faceted shape resembles the EOTS of the Lockheed Martin F-35.This could be the EOTS-86 system developed

Photos: P. Butowski

Two AESA radars were displayed at Zhuhai: one with a tilting antenna…

by the Chinese company A-Star Science andTechnology. Six other electro-optical sensors, installed on the sides and upper surface of the forward fuselage, provide full 360° coverage and probably constitute a situational awareness system similar to the EODAS (ElectroOptical Distributed Aperture System) of the F-35. It should be noted that, while aircraft ‘78232’ and ‘78233’ presented in Zhuhai are equipped with real EO sensors, the ‘78231’ is still fitted with mock-up systems. ■ Piotr Butowski


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PROLIFERATE IN MIDEAST he Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) published a report in December on armed drones in the Middle East. By analysing the fleets possessed by countries in the region (Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia,Turkey and the United Arab Emirates), the study aims to provide an overview of the different technologies used and the missions performed by remotely piloted aircraft within the armed forces of the countries concerned. The report focuses exclusively on drones belonging to categories 1 and 2 of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Category 1 refers to unmanned aircraft capable of a range of at least 300km with a payload of at least 500kg. Category 2 includes drones capable of a range of at least 300km, regardless of payload. The authors have focused on the strategy adopted by these States in the missions performed by these aircraft. Do they complement existing air assets? Are they replacing them?




First of all, it is necessary to review the expanding number of military drones currently in service in the different countries in the region. Despite the historical ties between some countries in the region and the United States, the vast majority of drones used in the Middle East at the present time are either imported from China or produced locally. Chinese manufacturers have found a promising market for their remotely operated aircraft in this region, taking advantage of existing U.S. export restrictions. However, although Chinese drones have been selected by a number of Mideast armed forces, they have also shown their limitations. Many States have expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of Chinese UAVs. The Royal Jordanian Air Force, for example, indicated in November that it wanted to retire its Chinese drones. Moreover, the use of these drones remains constrained by the presence of other defence systems which,

when they are of U.S. design, render interoperability between the different technologies extremely complex or even impossible. Chinese drones are often ordered following a U.S. refusal to approve an export sale. According to the report: “With the threat of Daesh (Islamic State) in neighbouring Iraq since 2014, Jordan has been exploring options for purchasing armed UAVs from the U.S. for some years, without success.The U.S. rejected a request from Jordan for unarmed Predator XP drones, despite selling them to the UAE.” Accordingly, Jordan turned to China, where concerns about who is using the drones and what they are using them for, are less of an issue. Two CH-4Bs (manufactured by ChinaAerospace Science andTechnology Corporation - CASC) are believed to have been purchased by Jordan in 2016.“In their standard form, CH-4Bs are capable of delivering guided AKD-10 series Chinese air-to-ground missiles.The AKD-10 is of a similar size and class to the U.S. AGM114 Hellfire, used as the primary weapon for


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the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper,”the RUSI report indicates. Iraq has also acquired Chinese CH-4B Rainbow UAVs. However, the choice in this case does not necessarily reflect a reaction to an American refusal. For several years now, Baghdad has been acquiring military equipment from a wide variety of suppliers: Russia, the U.S., Iran and China.Accordingly, the country's fleets of fixed and rotary wing aircraft are very eclectic.“All these capabilities were acquired at high speed in a desperate rush to increase Iraq's capability to support its ground forces in the battle to drive out Daesh,” the report states. And so Iraq has acquired Chinese drones as part of a diversified acquisition strategy, although it, too,has previously tried to purchase U.S. platforms. More than 260 strikes have reportedly been carried out using Iraqi CH-4Bs as part of the fight against Daesh. The CH-4Bs are used only in missions conducted by Iraqi forces — the U.S. does not allow the use of

Chinese drones in multinational operations, as they would represent a significant security risk. Saudi Arabia, which likewise uses the CH-4, also fields the Wing Loong II, developed by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group. Riyadh is also said to have obtained a licence to produce locally "up to 300 Wing Loong and potentially CASC's new heavyweight CH-5 armed UAVs", according to RUSI.This effort is part of the programme to develop Saudi industry, as outlined in the Vision 2030 plan. However, as is the case with its fleet of fighter aircraft, it seems that the Saudi Kingdom's acquisition of drones is motivated more by its desire to boost its regional influence than by concrete operational requirements. LOCAL PRODUCTION.

The Israeli case is different. Israeli companies are among the world leaders in the production and export of drones, although they are not sold in the Middle East, except in Turkey, which has acquired the

Drone fleets by country Turkey - anka-S (MaLe) : 6 - Bayraktar TB2 (tactical) : 46 - Vestel Karayel-SU (tactical) : 2



- CH-4B Rainbow (MaLe) : 2

Iraq - CH-4B Rainbow (MaLe) : 4

Israel - Heron TP (MaLe) : 10-15 - Hermes 450 (MaLe) : 20-30 - Hermes 900 (MaLe) : 10-15

- Shahed 129 (MaLe) : 25-40 - Mohajer 6 (MaLe) : 5-10

Saudi Arabia

Imported from China Produced locally


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EAU - Wing Loong (MaLe) : 5 - Wing Loong II (MaLe) : 5


- CH-4 a/B (MaLe) : 2 - Wing Loong II (MaLe) : 5

unarmed version of the Heron TP. "In mid-2017, it was estimated that Israel accounted for more than 60% of international UAV exports over the previous three decades and had delivered 165 UAV units to foreign buyers in that time,” the study reports. It was natural, therefore, for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to turn to indigenous designs. In particular, the IDF use Heron TP, Hermes 450 and Hermes 900. Within the Israeli forces, drones are used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions and air strikes and therefore complement traditional air assets. Turkey has also relied on its national industry to develop its own armed drones.They are widely used for cross-border strikes, particularly in Syria, but also against the Kurdish minority. In Iran, drones represent a new operational capability, allowing forces to conduct missions that they could not previously carry out.The use of armed drones allows missions to be performed for which manned aircraft would not normally have been used. Thus Iran — which, in response to international sanctions, has succeeded in developing its own drones (Shahed 129 and Mohajer 6) — uses these platforms “to compensate for the vulnerabilities of its conventional air force, which dates to the 1970s”, the RUSI report indicates.With the arrival of the Shahed 129, Iran was able to conduct strikes against Daesh and rebel groups in Iraq and Syria. The United Arab Emirates also uses armed drones to complement its traditional air assets and to limit the risks associated with military interventions in complex environments.The UAE “has deployed them not only in support of friendly forces on the ground in Yemen, but also to conduct strikes in 'politically sensitive areas', such as Libya," the study emphasises. Chinese armed drones are used in addition to American drones. The UAE has acquired unarmed Predator XPs, which it uses for ISR and target designation missions. ■ Justine Boquet


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surrounding Brexit and the upcoming European elections, which will be followed by the renewal of the Parliament and the Commission. About a thousand people attended the conference, including around 100 journalists, to listen to some 60 speakers, experts in the field and parliamentarians. The opening speech was delivered by Polish Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, who has been in charge of the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG Grow Directorate) since November 2014. Jean-Yves Le Gall — who was in attendance in his capacity as President of the French space agency CNES, the ESA Board of Directors and the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) — described the speech as “very inspiring”. It was followed in the afternoon by a second speech, on EU strategic autonomy space, defence and security.The general consensus following her two speeches seemed to be that Bienkowsa would be sorely missed if she were not to be re-elected.



Elzbieta Bienkowska is European Commissioner for the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs.

rganised by Business Bridge Europe — a public affairs and lobbying firm focusing on the European Union — under the patronage of the European Union and with the support of the main institutional and industrial players in the sector, the 11th Conference on European Space Policy took place on 22nd and 23rd January at the Palais d’Egmont, Brussels.

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This year’s edition came at a significant point in the EU calendar, in the midst of ongoing negotiations on the EU's 2021-2027 spending plan, the so-called Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which sets the limits for the annual general budgets of the European Union. Preparations are also underway for the next Ministerial Council of the European Space Agency, Space19+, to be held at the end of November in Seville, Spain. Not to mention the continuing uncertainties

According to the Commissioner, a “race” is currently underway around the orbital infrastructures which are essential for telecommunications, data transfer, the Internet of Things and broadband. Europe must absolutely participate in this race, given that, in Bienkowska’s opinion, these infrastructures will probably be managed mainly by private actors in the future.“Who will control them. Can we afford in Europe to take the risk that soon, key infrastructures for IoT connections or operating system of connected cars will be nonEuropean? We need a European ‘Space Google’.” Bienkowska also encouraged a European approach to New Space, to attract companies from different industrial sectors, make EU public procurement more open, and encourage all actors in the sector to take more risks.


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Bienkowska once again underlined Europe's major space successes, such as the Copernicus Earth observation and Galileo satellite navigation programmes, which have become world-class references — Galileo now has more than 500 million users worldwide. But she warned that this should not be an excuse for complacency and resting on past achievements. Beyond the need to pursue these programmes (with an allocation of €5.8bn for the former, and €9.7bn for the latter during the 2021-2027 period), the Commissioner believes that Europe “needs a clear, collective sense of where we are going together on space matters” — something comparable to China’s plans for the Moon and U.S. ambitions to send manned missions to Mars. In Bienkowska’s opinion, the time has come for Europe to come together and decide what it wants as the world's second largest space power. She called on Europe to find something that would really appeal to the


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Sentinel 5P — the Copernicus programme is a major European success story. general public and that would provide interest and money: “I hear some speak about an orbital society: why not? I hear others targeting the Moon and the moon village: why not? I hear also that Europe should have the capacity to have manned space flights and not depend on others: certainly yes!" On the subject of New Space, characterised in particular by rapid decision-making and the agility of the new players, Bienkowska proposes the establishment of a European Space Council, directly attached to the European Council. It would bring together all decision-makers in the sector, providing direct advice to European leaders on space issues, and allowing rapid decision-making. In addition, Bienkowska believes that the ties between defence and space will become tighter, citing, for example, the future need to rapidly transport military equipment across the globe, which could use manned, reusable space systems.According to the commissioner: “Such a prospect can be very disruptive in the medium term, for instance for the aviation sector.What are we doing in Europe about it? Are we ready to respond to the disruptive nature of reusability and manned spaceflight?” For the time being, the ob-


jective is to reduce technological dependence on third countries, by implementing “periodic filtering of critical components”, and by applying the notion of European preferences to procurement rules. “It's not about being protectionist,” she explains. “The aim is to preserve EU sovereignty in a strategic area.” Bienkowska’s vision was totally shared by Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation and president of the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD), who stressed in particular that space was becoming “a potential theatre of rivalry between the powers”, with satellites becoming targets, as the anti-satellite capabilities of certain powers become stronger. For Trappier, Europe must take action “to preserve geostationary integrity”. BEST IN THE WORLD.

Among the many other topics that were discussed at the Brussels conference, communication with the public came back several times. “We should not be afraid to say it: we have the best Earth observation system in the world and the best satellite positioning system in the world. We should be proud of that,” Bienkowska declared. Pierre Delsaux, Deputy Director-General, DG Grow, fol-


She said that was neither a question of "copy-pasting what is happening elsewhere in the world", nor of pitting start-ups against large companies or newcomers against traditional companies, but of bringing about "a change of mindset in the space sector in Europe, but also in the rest of the economy towards the space sector".This would mobilise efforts, R&D and financing in innovative solutions. Bienkowska called for a smart financing approach and announced that in the coming months she was launching a space fund, as a pilot initiative with the European Investment Fund. This fund will mobilise up to €300m of public and private investment dedicated to space start-ups and SMEs across Europe.The Commissioner, who hopes that Europe will become a magnet for space innovation, believes that a large European Space Equity Fund will be needed in the long term.

lowed suit, suggesting that the failure to promote the value of EU programmes could handicap ongoing budget negotiations (to the benefit of other, more popular sectors) and block ambitions in space:“We are not proud enough of what we have achieved together in Europe.We have to wait for Apple to say that Galileo is the best system in the world[...].We must continue to explain the contribution of space and what we do in Europe, to all citizens and politicians, those who vote on budgets.” Europe is facing a contradiction: its citizens consider space programmes to be expensive, but they imagine spending to be almost 25 times higher than it actually is (€245 per year per inhabitant, instead of €10). Given that the U.S. has 320 million inhabitants (compared to 500 million in Europe) and that its public expenditure on the space sector is at least seven times higher than in the EU, there is still a lot of room for progress to support a sector that remains a focus of public policy. Finally, we take note of the proposal from Fabrice Comptour, a member of Commissioner Bienkowska's cabinet, to undertake space issues in the European way, and to refer henceforth to "Next Space". ■ Pierre-François Mouriaux


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SPACE THALES ALENIA SPACE PRESIDENT AND CEO JEAN-LOÏC GALLE What is your assessment of 2018? First of all, I was impressed by the fact that the market for GEO telecommunications satellites remained sluggish for the second year in a row.We are also seeing that the LEO-MEO constellations seem to be establishing themselves for the long term. Finally, there is a trend towards fully flexible payloads, which are one of the responses of operators to the very high level of uncertainty in the markets and the volumes of the various market segments in the future. In the Earth observation segment, what strikes us is a very strong increase in the demand for high revisit rates, for near real-time observation. Moreover, we are clearly witnessing what we can call the digitisation of the entire space sector, which involves not only payloads themselves (particularly telecoms), but also ground segments, with the arrival of image processing software on the cloud, and applications.As a result, software teams are becoming increasingly important at Thales Alenia Space. The last major trend, which does not surprise me, is the growing importance of space in security and defence. This is already the case and will be more and moreso — I am convinced of this.This has happened in the United States through Donald Trump's pronouncements on the space force, but also in France through Florence Parly's speech on the importance of guaranteeing the security of our military space assets.




In this context, how has Thales Alenia Space performed? I will begin by mentioning two emblematic contracts. In the telecoms sector, there was Konnect VHTS for Eutelsat, a satellite with a flexible payload (which is in line with market trends) and 500GB of power. We won this contract after a battle of almost three years againstViasat. The other emblematic success story was our first export contract in the Earth observation sector with the range of products we launched three years ago, which includes an optical system and a radar system, with synergies between the two. The contract was signed with Korean partners for the supply of four radar satellites and the transfer of know-how. Of course, I would also mention the


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SPACE extremely positive conclusion of the Iridium Next programme, with the final batch of satellites launched within a few days of the customer's target. However, what is even more remarkable is that the performance of this new constellation is exceeding expectations and after being perfectly integrated into the old one (a very complicated task), which demonstrates the technical expertise of our teams. I would also highlight the fact that we were short-listed by Telesat, along with our partner Maxar, for a projected constellation of 117 satellites, whose design we are currently fine-tuning in preparation for a final selection in the second half of this year. Finally, I would say that we are certainly the most "New Space" of all the major European space companies, with three notable examples of projects under development: the facility we built in Seattle, which has just started production of the 60 satellites of the LeoStella Earth observation constellation; the nanosatellites we will supply to Kineis for the next-generation Argos constellation for positioning and data gathering; and our participation with Telespazio in the NorthStar constellation project of around 40 satellites for space surveillance, for which we will be the industrial architect. What has struck you most since you took office in September 2012? Obviously, New Space has been one of the major phenomena of recent years, but, without any hesitation, what has personally marked me the most is the change in vocabulary.When I arrived, all customers, whatever the field, had only one word in their mouths: legacy. That is, only solutions that had demonstrated their reliability in orbit were selected. Nowadays, everyone is demanding the most advanced and efficient techno-


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logies, with an acceptance of risk. This 180-degree turn is absolutely extraordinary, from total security to a high degree of risk. Technological change is becoming the cornerstone of competitiveness in the sector, which is all the more satisfying to me because I had wanted to accelerate innovation at Thales Alenia Space since I arrived. And here, I must say that we are perfectly supported in this direction by our shareholders. Moreover,Thales has also been focusing on this subject for the past three or four years, in the fields of big data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. How do you see China's increasing importance, which now extends to all sectors? I travel to China three or four times a year to meet with the Chinese Academy of Space Technology (Cast), and I must say that I am always impressed by the sheer scale of their investments.This translates into major equipment and huge teams of engineers, who are working efficiently in all space segments. This combination of investment and the quality of engineers, trained in the top Chinese and U.S. universities, means that China, inevitably, will soon become the other major space power, alongside the United States. I hope that Europe will be the third power, provided it is united, unique and ambitious. You have been president of the Eurospace association since June 2016. What action have you taken over this period? We have tried to be active in representing the European space manufacturing industry and to support Europe's space ambitions, I think successfully. Our first strategic focus was to have a close dialogue with the European Space Agency, through the High Level Forums. This has allowed a fully convergent


position on European priorities to be established for the next Ministerial Conference. The other axis was to discuss with the European Commission, which is becoming an increasingly important actor in the sector, first by working together in 2016 to prepare the document on European Space Policy, and then by discussing the priorities and financing to be decided for the period 2021-2027. As you know, this resulted in a proposal of more than €16bn, an increase from the previous period. The budget was accepted by the Parliament, which even asked for a slight increase, particularly on the GovSatCom programme, which we think is a very good idea in the context of European security. On the other hand, we are campaigning for a dedicated space line to be approved within the R&D budget, since technological innovation is so important.We hope that it will receive a budget of €3bn. All that remains now is to convince the Member States to definitively approve this budget, but there is currently no indication that this would not be possible. Everyone has now understood, I think, that space is a sovereignty issue and that it is essential for Europe to adopt new flagship programmes. Finally, I hope that ESA will emerge from the ministerial conference with a budget of more than €15bn. These increases are very positive, even if they remain at an incomparably lower level than US and Chinese budgets. What do you expect from the ESA Ministerial Council? What is important and what drives Europe forward are programmes. It is for this reason that we are pushing forward, with ESA, a number of ambitious programmes, the first of which is Artes for telecommunications and high-speed Internet access for all European citizens by satellite — it is thanks

to Artes that the two major European manufacturers have been able to develop new high-performance electrically powered satellites.We are also encouraging the continuation of the Copernicus programme (with six new satellites), as well as the continuation and renewal of the Galileo system. Finally, we are supporting two scientific missions (the Athena platform to probe the early Universe and the Lisa instrument for measuring gravitational waves), and two major projects in cooperation with NASA (a lunar station and a sample collection mission on the surface of Mars). What consequences do you expect from Brexit? Quite frankly, I think Europe needs the United Kingdom in the space sector, which has really been a priority in recent years. This has resulted in a high level of investment, including in the downstream field of applications, to the point of becoming the spearhead in Europe. The good news is that the United Kingdom should remain a member of ESA, and will therefore participate in all its future programmes. Secondly, negotiations are not over yet, and I hope that the Commission and the United Kingdom will reach specific agreements on future European space programmes. In any case, because of Brexit, it seems clear to me that the United Kingdom will invest even more from a domestic point of view in purely British programmes. That is why five years ago I decided to accelerate development of our British unit, which today has more than 200 employees and which has become our competence centre for all aspects of electric propulsion — the essential component of tomorrow's satellites. And we will not stop there: we will continue to grow our business in the United Kingdom, despite Brexit. ■ Interview by Pierre-François Mouriaux


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n 19th December 2018, a Soyuz launcher operated by Arianespace blasted off from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America). The launcher carried the new French reconnaissance satellite, CSO-1 (Composante Spatiale Optique, optical space component), the first of a series of three satellites destined to replace the two Helios 2 platforms launched in 2004 and 2009. Satellite imagery has become a major element in the planning and decision-making process relative to military operations. Data derived from satellite imagery informs foreign policy decisions at the highest level of government. The ability to access these images from space constitutes a cornerstone of national sovereignty. This is why France has chosen, since the 1990s, to operate its own military observation satellites. In 1995, the first French “spy satellite”, Helios 1A, was launched into orbit, followed by Helios 1B in 1999, though Spot satellite imagery had been available since the 1980s. In 2004, French capabilities were renewed with the launch of Helios 2A, followed by 2B.These satellites are equipped with optical



CSO/Musis satellite.

systems generating black and white (chromatic) and infrared imagery.At the same time, France concluded a series of agreements with its European partners to benefit from the capacities of the German SAR-Lupe and Italian Cosmos-Skymed radar satellites. Radar systems provide a useful complement to optical platforms; they are not limited by weather conditions and can detect metallic objects. By contributing to Helios programme financing, Belgium and Greece have also obtained access to imagery from these satellites. Meanwhile, the French Ministry of the Armed Forces can access images taken by the dual civil/military Pleiades satellites. This programme is partly financed by the Ministry of the Armed Forces, which thus participates in satellite tasking. The Directorate of Military Intelligence (Direction du renseignement militaire, DRM) centralises and prioritises image requests from the French Ministry of the Armed Forces and partner countries.These are then transmitted to the Military Satellite Observation Centre (Centre militaire d’observation par satellites, CMOS) of the French Air Force, based in Creil.The latter issues the technical validations, then prepares satellite missions in accordance with the

requests.The CMOS can also anticipate needs and prepare imagery that could be useful in the future. The tasking is then transmitted to the French space agency, CNES, which manages the operation of observation satellites in orbit. CNES schedules the manoeuvres that will be required to orient the sensors when the satellite overflies the area of interest.The weather is taken into account so as not to concentrate on cloudcovered areas. Imagery is stored on board the satellite and then sent to the ground in encrypted format once the satellite is within range of the antennas at the CMOS ground station. The centre is responsible for processing the raw data to generate useful images, which are then transmitted to the user. All images taken since the launch of the Helios programme have been archived and can be viewed at any time thanks to the Pharos system. CAPACITY BOOST.

With the arrival of the CSO satellites, this process will be unchanged, but the capacity of the satellites will be significantly increased. The Musis programme, which includes the


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SPACE identification. The two satellites in high orbit will be used for reconnaissance, covering broader areas with wider swaths.The three satellites will be in sun-synchronous orbit visiting the same point on the globe at the same time each day,making it easier for interpreters to compare images. Having three satellites will increase the revisit rate. With the launch of CSO-3, revisits will be daily.The agreement with Sweden also allows France to use an antenna located in Kiruna, near the Arctic Circle. Every 90 minutes, the satellites will be within range of this antenna and will be able to download data.The link could also be established with Creil in France, but the latitude of the latter implies longer intervals between passes within range of the antennas.



development of CSO satellites, was launched in 2009. Satellite project management was entrusted to CNES and the contract to build the satellites was awarded in 2010 to Airbus Defence & Space (prime contractor) and Thales Alenia Space (payload).The Musis programme also covers the security of the entire system, including data encryption and protection of the CSO ground segment. Originally, two satellites were planned to replace Helios. But in 2015, Germany joined the programme and committed to participating in programme financing. An agreement was signed covering the exchange of data from CSO and Germany's future SARah radar satellite.This contribution made it possible to order a third CSO satellite.The total cost for the three satellites is €920m. Sweden and Belgium have also joined the programme. The design philosophy for the


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CSO platform is the same as for Pléiades, with the optical system in the centre of the satellite.The other equipment has been integrated around this sensor. However, the CSO satellite is much larger than the Pléiades model (3.5 tonnes vs. 950kg), allowing for a larger, higher-performance optical sensor.The telescope also features focal plane innovations. Though precise figures are classified, the Ministry of the Armed Forces indicates that the definition of the CSO sensor is superior to any commercial system.According to CNES, the image quality is unique in Europe. The satellite will take what are officially termed “very high resolution” and “extremely high resolution” images. The CSO satellites also possess enhanced geolocation accuracy compared with previous-generation platforms. Another distinctive feature of the CSO satellite is its agility.The


satellite will be able to slew rapidly from front to back and from right to left, ensuring increased coverage and a larger number of images during a single pass. Enhanced thermal control ensures extended periods of operation, allowing several hundred images within a 24-hour period. CSO will be the first operational satellite with autonomous orbit control. The three satellites will be able to measure their position themselves and perform automatic corrections by activating their propulsion systems. This system will be particularly useful for CSO-2, which will be placed in low Earth orbit and will have to regain altitude twice a day. CSO-1 and 3 will be placed in orbit at an altitude of 800km,while CSO-2 will be stationed at 480km. The satellite in lower orbit will be closer to the target areas and will, therefore, be able to provide higher-definition images, allowing

The launch of CSO represents the first phase in the modernisation of French and European military satellites. Starting in 2020, three Ceres Sigint satellites will be launched.They will give France for the first time an operational capability to perform signals intelligence-gathering from orbit. The three Ceres satellites flying in formation will be able to locate radars and thus contribute to establishing a picture of the enemy's order of battle. France's allies are also preparing to renew their radar assets with the SARah system for Germany. Italy, meanwhile, plans to launch a new generation of Cosmos-Skymed satellites. In the field of communications, the three Syracuse IV satellites will make it possible to renew the sovereign capabilities of the armed forces.Finally,from 2020 onwards, the Omega programme will make it possible to equip French military platforms with dual-mode receivers using both GPS and Galileo for navigation. Looking further ahead, the preparation of the post-CSO era is already under way, with the start of studies for the development of a future generation of military reconnaissance satellites. ■ Emmanuel Huberdeau


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