Air&Cosmos International magazine - issue 10

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AIR&COSMOS N° 10 - 15TH November 2019


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

Saudi Arabia: the monarchy’s grand design l Gulf’s carriers: are the boom years over? l Armed UAVs make their marks l UAE astronaut on Soyuz FG’s last flight l France creates space command l India receives first Rafale

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Dubai Airshow 2019: Low expectations?.........................................................................................................................................................................................6 Gulf carriers: are the boom years over?.......................................................................................................................................8 Low cost strategy: jostling for supremacy in the Gulf ...................................................................................................10 Saudi Arabia: the monarchy’s grand design..........................................................................................................................12 Defence: power play in the Persian Gulf ...................................................................................................................................14 Middle-east key figures. Military imports and exports M$ (2018).......................................................................18 Drones: armed UAVs make their mark .......................................................................................................................................20 Industry: UAE on the edge.....................................................................................................................................................................24 International Space Station: UAE astronaut on Soyuz FG’s last flight ..............................................................26

Defence India receives first Rafale......................................................................................................................................................................30 Make in India: French industry shifts into high gear ......................................................................................................34

Space Space based defence: France creates space command .............................................................................................36

Helicopter focus Europe: a mature fleet..............................................................................................................................................................................42 EC145 on EMS duty in Belgium.........................................................................................................................................................44 Interview Patrick Molis: «players in the off-shore sector feel that it is not over yet.» ........................48 AIRBUS

Civil aviation Ultra long range: Qantas flies into the sunrise .....................................................................................................................50

Industry Industry 4.0: Airbus Nantes plays innovation .......................................................................................................................52 ...................................................................................................................................................................................Articles translated from French by James Alba


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Art Director and design: Mourad Cherfi Production: Frédéric Bergerat Coordination : Yann Cochennec Editors: Antony Angrand,Justine Boquet,Yann Cochennec, Jean-Baptiste Heguy, Pierre-François Mouriaux Correspondants: Olivier Constant, Benoit Gilson Sales & Advertising: Cyril Mikaïloff ( Tel.: +33 6 2171 1118

Business development: Henry de Freycinet Publishing director: Hubert de Caslou

Cover photo: Emirates (AirBuS) 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


© AIR COSMOS ISSN 1240-3113 - Dépôt légal à la date de parution Numéro de commission paritaire : 0215 T 86120 Distribué par Presstalis - Impression : Imprimerie Léonce-Deprez Toute reproduction des textes et documents est interdite, ainsi que leur utilisation à des fins publicitaires. Les textes de publicité sont rédigés sous la responsabilité des annonceurs. Ils n’engagent pas « Air & Cosmos ». Pour garantir son indépendance, « Air & Cosmos » se réserve le droit de refuser (même en cours de programme) toute insertion publicitaire sans avoir à justifier sa décision. Copyright 2015.

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editorial Yann Cochennec



See you in Dubai The 2017 edition of the Dubai Airshow ended with Indigo Partners massive order for 430 Airbus A320neo. John Leahy's last flamboyant firework before saying goodbye to a long career, source of many Airbus commercial aviation successes. The $49.5 billion Airbus order has cast a shadow over Emirates commitment for 40 Boeing 787-10.Two years after, the commitment has still not been transformed into a firm contract. As well as the 40 Airbus A330-900 and 30 A350-900 ordered in exchange for the A380 cancellations are still not officially included in the European manufacturer's order book. Emirates should logically take advantage of the 2019 edition of the Dubai Airshow to firm up global orders for not less than 110 wide-body aircraft worth $36 billion at list price. Enough to contradict financial analysts who have been underlining the slump in wide-bodies sales for some months now. With contracts and orders still to be confirmed or in the pipeline (see page 7), the 2019 edition of the Dubai Airshow could be far more successful than the past three editions. If the « locomotives » of the Middle East air transport are showing signs of running out of steam, major moves are indeed underway in the low cost segment (pages 8 to 10). But can we limit the success of an airshow to the amount of aircraft orders ? Not sure. The show floor and aisles will be the opportunity of many meetings, in particular those around EDGE huge exhibition stand (page 24). In a similar move to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates have decided to create a defence industrial consortium, regrouping the existing structures into a single one with the aim to localise 50 % of its military spending.The Region defence spending remains high as this part of the world remains under perpetual tension (pages 14 to 19). As the Saudi Arabian Military Industries, Edge will size the momentum to announce partnerships with the major American and European groups in the defence sector but also with players in the SME segment. Innovations do not automatically come from major OEMs. Edge's CEO is perfectly aware of the equation : he has been selected because of « a track record that combines knowledge of the start-up world with a proven ability in leveraging emerging technologies ».




The new generation H160 boasts a range of unparalleled safety features. Maximized pilot visibility, intuitive information display, unrivalled pilot assistance with HelionixŽ, and unmatched flight envelope protection. What’s more, it carries up to 12 passengers with a radius of action of 120 NM, while burning 15% less fuel. With so many impressive features, the H160 is a huge step forward not just for its category, but for the environment, too. Safety. We make it fly.

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EXPECTATIONS? KEY FIGURES As soon As the big three gulf cArriers — emirAtes, QAtAr AirwAys And etihAd AirwAys — encounter turbulence, the mood becomes gloomy. however, this 2019 edition of the dubAi Airshow will still generAte its fAir shAre of heAdlines As the defence industries of countries in the region restructure to best serve the interests of their stAte shAreholders.

+280 delegations expected 1300 exhibitors 165 aircraft at the show

87,000 professional visitors expected F. JOLY

t first sight, the Gulf countries are in a gloomy mood.The traditional “locomotives” — Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways — seem to have lost the momentum that marked the years of non-stop growth.There are multiple factors behind this, some of which are specific to each carrier. One of the big three, Etihad, has even cancelled major orders from Airbus and Boeing, while another, Emirates, does not seem in any hurry to convert the commitments it has signed with the two manufacturers into firm orders.. Emirates could take advantage of the window of opportunity offered by this year’s edition of the Dubai Airshow, from 17th to 21st November, when the eyes of the world’s media will be firmly focused on the event, to finalise the 40 Boeing 787-10s, announced two years ago, as well as the 40 A330-900s and 30 A350-900s ordered in exchange for the A380 cancellations but still not included in the European manufacturer's order book. Altogether this equates to no less than 110 wide-body aircraft with a list price of $36bn.

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There are other orders on the horizon, too. IndiGo decided not to wait for the Dubai Airshow to unveil its order for 300 medium-haul A320neo family aircraft. Other Indian airlines could also cash in on the opportunity: Go Air and SpiceJet (see box).The vacuum created by the bankruptcy of Jet Airways gives them openings on the Indian domestic market but also in the Gulf region where major moves are under way in the low cost segment. SpiceJet now has the opportunity to develop a real hub operation from the Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, while Air Arabia recently joined forces with the Etihad Aviation group, Etihad Airways' parent company, to create a low-cost airline based in Abu Dhabi in competition with Emirates-Flydubai. Hence the need expressed by Air Arabia for at least 100 medium-haul aircraft. As the big three look for a second wind, therefore, new lines of force are emerging that could come into sharper focus at the Dubai Airshow. The show will also be an opportunity for the United Arab Emirates to present further details regarding its new defence industrial


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Contracts and orders still to be confirmed or in the pipeline ● emirates has not yet firmed up its commitment for 40 boeing 787-10s announced at the 2017 dubai Airshow. * emirates has yet to confirm its intention to acquire 40 A330-900s and 30 A350-900s following the cancellation of its 39 A380s. ● Air Arabia has publicly announced a requirement for 100120 medium-haul aircraft for its planned low cost carrier in partnership with etihad Airways. ● india’s go Air has expressed a requirement for an additional 200 medium-haul aircraft, along with 20 widebodies. ● india’s spiceJet is looking to purchase a total of 100 medium-haul and widebody aircraft. ● royal Jordanian plans to acquire 22 medium-haul aircraft to replace its A320ceos and first-generation embraer e175/195s. ● leasing company dubai Aerospace enterprise could revive its project to acquire 400 medium-haul aircraft, officially abandoned in september.

consortium, Edge.This structure brings together the entities previously distributed between Emirates Defence Industries, Emirates Advanced Investments and the holding company Tawazun (see page xxx). This grouping is intended to be more focused and also reflects the United Arab Emirates' diversification strategy. UAE military know-how is expanding, based on experience inYemen and Libya, two countries that have become testing grounds for a new type of air warfare based on unmanned aerial vehicles. The creation of the Edge consortium is reminiscent of Saudi Arabia Military Industries (SAMI) launched in 2017 by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia as part of the “Vision 2030” project, which aims to diversify the kingdom's sources of revenue. SAMI’s products and services focus on four main areas: air systems, land systems, weapons and missiles (including munitions) and defence electronics. Like SAMI, Edge will be able to create joint ventures with all the major players in the defence sector. SAMI and the new Edge consortium will be major exhibitors at the Dubai Airshow. In addition to a significant presence in terms of floor space, the two entities intend to take advantage of the event to forge technological partnerships with U.S. and European defence companies. Innovation will also be a major topic at the show. In this connection, he Airbus group plans to make its mark with its “BOLDtalks Innovation” initiative, which will take place the day before the show opens and which is clearly ■ Yann Cochennec targeting young talent across the region.

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port, t h i s Saudi ambit i o n g o e s hand in hand with a


he “locomotives” of the Middle East air transport sector are showing signs of running out of steam in 2019 after years of impressive growth marked by huge aircraft orders and network expansion announcements. The business context has also been impacted by the rise of Turkish Airlines and by Saudi Arabia's new desire to rapidly diversify its economy under itsVision 2030 plan (see page xxx). For reasons not strictly related to air trans-



true political, commercial and economic war being waged against the Emirate of Qatar, whose airline is suffering the consequences. Especially since Saudi Arabia is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. This has resulted in a “blockade” that is carrying a heavy price for Qatar Airways. For Etihad Airways, the current situation is the result of risky strategic choices that have resulted in a vast restructuring programme and cost reduction efforts.

The situation would have seemed unimaginable only two or three years ago. More generally, economic reality has caught up with the Gulf airlines' business model, and many observers think that the boom years are now over. However, Emirates, the airline that started it all, continues to post profits year after year. The last financial year, ending on 31st March, was no exception to the trend. Emirates is now in its 31st consecutive year of net profits. WILD FLUCTUATION.

However, if we look more closely at the financial results of recent years for the Emirate of Dubai airline, we see that results have fluctuated wildly. In the 20162017 financial year (ended 31st March), Emirates saw net profits slump to $340m (–82.5%), the lowest level in a decade. The following year, the carrier made a superb recovery, more than doubling net profits, to more than $762m. Then, in 2018-2019, net profits dropped 69%, to $237m. And another upswing is expected this year — the result for the first six months and for the full year are expected to show a sharp improvement. The airline reported profits of $235m for the six months from April to September


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2019, almost the same as for the whole of the previous fiscal year. This improvement in profitability is mainly due to a decline in fuel costs (– 9% compared to the same period last year). But this good news is offset by unfavourable exchange rates with Europe, Australia, South Africa, India and Pakistan. Other adverse impacts include the 45day closure of the south runway at Dubai Airport and the bankruptcy of tour operator Thomas Cook. «WAR CHEST».

During the first six months of the current fiscal year, Emirates took delivery of three new Airbus A380s, and a further three aircraft are expected by 31st March 2020. The company now operates a fleet of 269 aircraft, consisting of 112 A380s and 157 Boeing 777s. It also has a solid cash position of $6.3bn as of 30th September 2019, compared to $6bn six months previously. Thanks to this “war chest”, Emirates can therefore soften the impact of financial headwinds and it is big enough to make any necessary adjustments. This is not necessarily the case for its rival Qatar Airways, which, in addition to suffering, like Emirates, the favourable or unfavourable effects of the global economic and financial


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environment, has also been obliged since 2017 to manage the impact of the veritable blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia and its allies. With a six-month time lag — the 20182019 annual results for the year ending 31st March 2019, were only published in September — the Doha carrier announced an annual loss of $639m, almost ten times as much as the previous year.The blockade has two main effects on Qatar Airways flight operations. First, it has to operate longer routes to avoid crossing airspace from which it has been banned, which increases fuel costs and reduces aircraft rotations. Qatar Airways also had to close routes to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which were previously its two largest markets. This very complicated situation for Qatar Airways may partly explain the signs of tension being shown by the carrier’s CEO, Akbar Al-Baker. The latter has been regularly sharing his misgivings about the airline's continued presence in the oneworld alliance, even going so far as to trigger disputes with other members of the alliance such as Alan Joyce, the CEO of Australia’s Qantas Airways, who makes no secret of the fact that he wants to implement his Sunrise project for very long-haul flights, one of the major objectives of which is to better compete with the Gulf airlines.... In spite of all this, Qatar Airways is showing no signs of slowing down its expansion plans and is continuing to increase the size of its fleet at an exponential rate. In March, it received its 250th aircraft, an A350-900, and according to its website, it has a fleet of 202 aircraft operating on its commercial routes: two A319s, 32 A320-200s, six A321-200s, seven A330200s, 13 A330-300s, 36 A350-900s, nine A350-1000 (for which it is the launch customer), 10 A380s, 30 Boeing 787-8s, nine Boeing 777-200LRs and 48 Boeing 777-300ERs. The rest of the fleet is made up of executive jets and cargo aircraft. Over the entire 2018-2019 fiscal year, Qatar Airways opened no fewer than eleven new routes and increased its fleet by a total of 25 new aircraft. Including letters of intent and options, Qatar Airways is believed still to have an order book of 300 aircraft, listed at $85bn, including 32 A350-1000s (out of a total order for 42 aircraft) and 50

A321neos, 10 of which have already been converted into the A321LR (Long Range) version. As for Etihad Airways, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi's airline, a return to better financial health is still very uncertain, even if CEO Robin Kamark, believes that, on completion of its vast restructuring plan launched in 2017, the company will be out of the red by 2023. In fiscal year 20182019, Etihad recorded a net loss of $1.28bn, marking a third consecutive year in the red. Nonetheless, it was a slight improvement over the previous years, which saw losses of $1.52bn and $1.95bn (2016-2017). The restructuring plan being implemented by the airline, which holds equity stakes in several foreign carriers (Air Berlin, Alitalia,Virgin Australia, Jet Airways, etc.), provides in particular for the company's internal reorganisation into seven separate divisions. The plan also includes the elimination of the carrier’s least profitable routes (some 15 long-haul routes have already been axed), along with job cuts (between 1,000 and 3,000) and major order cancellations: 42 A350-900s, 10 A350-1000s, 15 A321neos, 11 Boeing 777-9s and 8 Boeing 777-8s.To gain fresh momentum, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways need to find new growth markets. INDIAN CARD.

Both airlines have recently announced partnerships aimed at the Indian market, to take advantage of the vacuum created by the collapse of Jet Airways. Qatar Airways has signed a code-share agreement with the low-cost airline IndiGo (whereby the Qatar Airways code will appear on IndiGo routes from Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad to Doha) and has indicated that this is only the first step in a broad strategic partnership. This could perhaps lead to Qatar Airways acquiring a stake in IndiGo, once the former has been restored to better financial health. In parallel, Etihad announced in mid-October a partnership with Air Arabia for the joint launch of a low-cost airline called Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, which is targeted in particular at the potential offered by the Indian market, where Etihad would have a portfolio of 100 slot pairs, following the bankruptcy of Jet Airways. ■ Jean-Baptiste Heguy


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ir transport in the Gulf has entered a new phase following the latest developments in the low cost sector. After the announcement by the Etihad Aviation group and Air Arabia concerning the creation of a joint airline operating from Abu Dhabi, it is now the turn of the Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah to launch a strategic partnership with the Indian low cost carrier SpiceJet.The agreement signed between the carrier and Ras al-Khaimah airport goes beyond simply offering direct flights to New Delhi, which are scheduled to start next month. It allows SpiceJet to establish a genuine hub operation there and ultimately to offer a low cost alternative on routes between India and Europe.This market is already well covered by the “traditional” carriers: Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways. A low cost airline is already operating out of Ras alKhaimah — Air Arabia, which operates four routes, three of which connect to Pakistan. Except that the carrier focused on the outset on the neighbouring Emirate, Sharjah, and now Abu Dhabi as part of the strategic partnership with the Etihad Aviation group. The name of the future low cost carrier,Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, is known, but the precise terms of the operation — including the distribution of capital between Etihad Aviation and Air Arabia, the future fleet and the future network — are not yet known. One thing is certain: the management committee of the future airline will be appointed by both Etihad Aviation and Air Arabia, while the development strategy will be defined “independently” to “serve the growing low cost travel segment locally and regionally” while nonetheless “complemen-



ting Etihad Airways' network from Abu Dhabi airport”.The composition of the medium-haul fleet remains to be defined, but the announcement made by Air Arabia a few months ago of a need for 100 to 120 medium-haul aircraft could well be related to this project. FLEET NEED.

The founder and CEO of Air Arabia has indicated that a decision will be made before January 2020, and the upcoming Dubai Airshow, which will take place from 17th to 21st November, could provide an excellent media platform for further announcements, at a time when the playing field remains slightly tilted in favour of Airbus owing to the continuing uncertainties surrounding the Boeing 737 MAX. Not to mention the fact that Air Arabia has been playing the Airbus A320 family card since its inception. The airline currently operates a fleet of about 40 A320ceo aircraft and has begun to take delivery of its six leased A321LRs. However, this does not rule out the Embraer E195-E2 or the A220-300 if the future Air Arabia Abu Dhabi ever decides to rely on aircraft with less than 150 seats to gradually build up its network. On the operational and commercial level, future arrangements should be very similar to those set up between Emirates Airlines and the low cost carrier Flydubai since the end of 2017. Managed independently, the two carriers share their networks using code-share flights and have optimised their schedules to facilitate connections between flights. The carriers have also to achieve alignment and reciprocity between their loyalty programmes. This commercial alliance, which

also covers combined fare and airport offers, was facilitated by the fact that Flydubai and Emirates have the same shareholder, the Emirate of Dubai's sovereign fund, and that Flydubai has gradually transformed itself into a hybrid carrier offering leather seats, personal entertainment systems, business class and lounge facilities reserved for the latter. Emirates passengers therefore find themselves in a familiar environment.When Emirates and Flydubai announced their strategic commercial partnership in July 2017, they said they were aiming for a combined network of 240 destinations by 2020. This implied a certain amount of rationalisation since they had a total of 252 destinations at that time, including duplicates. They also indicated that they were aiming to operate a combined fleet of 380 aircraft. As of the end of September 2019, the total fleet consisted of 326 aircraft. Two factors upset the initial scenario: Emirates' decision to cancel an order for 39 A380s and the problems affecting the Boeing 737 MAX, which forced Flydubai to ground the 14 aircraft already received out of a total order for no less than 175 aircraft. Delivery of a number of 737 MAX aircraft is still blocked. However, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia Abu Dhabi cannot take advantage of this situation, since the latter still does not have a precise schedule of activities. Similarly, it will take some time before SpiceJet can build up its hub operation in Ras al-Khaimah. In the meantime, Emirates and Flydubai intend to take full advantage of the synergies established over the past two years at Expo 2020, to be held in Dubai from 20th October 2020 to 10th April 2021. ■ Yann Cochennec


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• every Tuesday • a selection of articles in English • focus on MRO: contracts, PRs, appointments • job offers in MRO in Europe and Middle-East Please send an email to, simply write "MRO" in subject and you'll be in!

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King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.



wo years ago, we published an article on the development of air transport in Saudi Arabia and Iran, in which we highlighted the ambitions of both countries.Two years later, almost to the day, it seems that Saudi Arabia has taken a significant lead over its main rival and is well on the way to achieving its stated objective of becoming the regional leader in the air transport sector. This grand design was formally outlined in 2016 in the National Transformation Programme (NTP), itself part of the well-known global development plan called Vision 2030.

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This major plan was launched by Saudi Arabia with a view to reducing its dependence on oil revenues and diversifying its economy. In this context, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) is responsible for working on a very ambitious objective: to reach a total of 100 million passengers transiting through all Saudi airports by 2020. This target has already virtually been achieved. The GACA announced in March 2019 that 99.86 million passengers (national and international) had transited Saudi airports in 2018, compared to 92.42 million passengers in 2017. A total of 771,828 flights were completed in 2018,

compared to 741,923 in 2017.These figures are to be compared with total air traffic of only 47 million passengers as recently as 2010! TARGET, 80 MILLIONS.

King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah (KAIA) is the leading Saudi air hub, with a total of 35.8 million passengers in 2018.This airport, which is undergoing major expansion, saw its new international terminal (Terminal 1) inaugurated at the end of September by King Salman.The building, which covers an area of 810,000m2 (or 200 acres!), has 220 checkin counters, 128 passport control counters, and 80 self-service kiosks. The airport complex includes nearly 28,000m2 of commercial areas, along with a threestorey hotel with 120 rooms. In terms of baggage processing, the terminal is equipped with a 34km baggage handling system, which can handle 7,800 bags per hour for departing flights and 9,000 for arrivals.The new platform has 46 gates for international and domestic flights, with special gates for boarding very large aircraft such as the Airbus A380. The gates are also equipped with 94 movable air bridges that can accommodate 70 aircraft at the same time.The new King Abdulaziz International Airport also offers parking spaces for more than 21,600


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vehicles, and even has a mosque located inside the airport itself. In August 2019, Saudia began operating new international routes from the new terminal. On 18th November, Etihad Airways became the first non-Saudi airline to migrate to the new terminal. The inauguration of the new terminal is only the first step in the expansion of the KAIA complex.According to the GACA, the next two phases should increase airport traffic to 43 million passengers (by 2025), then 80 million passengers by 2035. The second-ranked Saudi airport in terms of passenger traffic, King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) in Riyadh, reported traffic of 27.9 million passengers in 2018.And in February, the GACA officially authorised the launch of a $589m expansion project. This project includes the redevelopment of two terminals 3 and 4, along with a corridor connecting the two buildings and forming a passenger check-in area. In total, the expansion project includes the addition of 14 new boarding gates and 80 check-in counters, along with 30 departure counters and 48 passport control points.With this project, Riyadh Airport aims to reach a capacity of 35.5 million passengers, then 47.5 million in a third phase. BEHIND SCHEDULE.

Alongside these two major expansion projects, another project has fallen behind schedule. This is the transformation of

Taif Regional Airport, east of Mecca, into an international airport that was scheduled to open in 2020 and is still in the design and architectural project stage.The project is led by a consortium consisting of Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), Aviation Security in Airport Development (Asiad) and Flughafen München GmbH of Germany (which operates Munich Airport).The airport should provide relief for Jeddah airport during the “Hajj” period and should initially accommodate 6 million passengers, rising to 8 million in phase 2 and 13 million in phase 3. Overall, Saudi Arabia has plans to expand 12 existing airports (out of a total of 26 commercial civil airports) and to create several new airports: one near the future city of Neom, one in Al-Wajh on the Red Sea, one in Al-Qunfundhah, about 100km south of Jeddah, and a second airport serving Riyadh. To support this ambitious airport development effort, the main Saudi airline, Saudia, which has been a member of the Skyteam alliance since 2012, has been working hard to increase capacity. It currently has a fleet of 167 aircraft (two A319 VIP aircraft, 48 A320-200s, 15 A321-200s, seven A330-200s, 32 A330-300s, seven Boeing 747-400s, eight Boeing 777200ERs, 35 Boeing 777-300ERs and 13 Boeing 787-9s) and 11 cargo aircraft (Boeing 747s and 777s). Its low-cost subsidiary, Flyadeal, which began operations in 2017, currently has a fleet of 14 aircraft

Saudia holds a 90% share of the domestic market.

(Airbus A320-200s) and has 30 A320neos on order. This order was placed in June 2019, during the Paris Air Show, following the cancellation of an order for 30 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft placed last year. The first A320neo should join Flyadeal's fleet in 2021. Saudia placed an order for 30 A320ceos and 20 A330-300 Regional aircraft at the 2015 Paris Air Show in an order worth $8.2bn at list prices.The 20 A330-300 Regional aircraft, via the lessor IAFC, should also join Flyadeal's fleet. Saudia Director General Saleh Al Jasser announced at the Arabian Travel Market in 2016 that, by 2020, the carrier’s fleet would be at least 25 aircraft and at most 50 aircraft.Together with Flyadeal, Saudia would hold 90% of the Saudi market, leaving very little room for competitors. LOW COST CONTENDERS.

Elsewhere in the low cost segment, flynas was founded in 2007 under the name of Nas Air. It operates from Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam airports to eight other Saudi airports and some 40 international destinations.As of September 2019, it had a fleet of 32 aircraft (three A319-100s, 26 A320-200s and three A320neos). The three A320neo aircraft are the first instalment of a mega-order for 120 A320neos, with a value of $8.5bn at list prices. Bandar Al-Mohanna, the CEO of flynas, declared in March that by 2021, the A320neo would represent half of the flynas fleet. SaudiGulf Airlines, meanwhile, was created by the private group of companies AlQahtani & Sons. It has a fleet of six A320neos (four owned, two leased) and operates about fifteen routes from Dammam airport to nine destinations. In November 2018, the company signed a purchase commitment for ten A320neos (with an option for ten additional aircraft). At the same time, it cancelled a purchase commitment for 16 A220s for $1.46bn. The latest newcomer to the sector is Nesma Airlines, which has been operating since 2010 from Jeddah, Haiti and Cairo. It is owned by the Saudi group Nesma and operates a fleet of two A320-200s and four ATR 72-600s on the Saudi side, along with one A319-100 and three A320200s on the Egyptian side. Finally, Saudi Arabia announced in September that it was simplifying visa formalities by introducing online applications for “eVisas” for visitors from 49 countries.


■ Jean-Baptiste Heguy


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hile rivalry between Russia and the United States is not new, it can be expressed in a variety of ways.This is particularly the case in the Persian Gulf, where the two powers are seeking to increase their influence in the region, by applying very different models.The American presence in the Middle East has a long history, including the positioning of troops in some countries and the conduct of military operations, such as Inherent Resolve as part of the fight against Islamic State. Russia has also become involved in the latter conflict, offering support to the Syrian regime in order to address the issue of terrorism in the region. Russian troops entered Syria in 2015 at the request of Bashar al-Assad. Here again, both countries are pursuing the same objective, i.e. fighting against Islamic State, but with two different approaches.



OHistorically, the United States and Russia do not have the same allies in the region; Moscow mainly maintains relations with Syria and Iran. However, Russia is increasingly trying to develop bilateral relations with other states in the region, notably through an industrial strategy aimed at providing these countries with military equipment but also by maintaining close links with OPEC member countries on oil-related issues.“To ensure predictability and stability of oil prices, Moscow has worked with


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the countries of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to develop a coordination mechanism for crude oil production aimed at halting the fall in the price of oil, which was achieved by the end of 2016, and to convince Iran to join it.” This was the origin of the “OPEC +” initiative, explains Igor Delanoë, deputy director of the Franco-Russian Observatory, in a note from the Parisbased Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS) research institute in September 2019. SOUTHERN FLANK.

As well as seeking to stabilise oil prices, Russia also keeps a close eye on the security situation in the Gulf. “Russia remains convinced that the emergence of a terrorist hotspot on the Syrian-Iraqi border is a major source of instability for its southern flank. This second di-

mension [...] was one of the main reasons for the Russian intervention in Syria,” adds Delanoë.This interest in the region has led to the emergence of Russia’s “Collective Security Concept for the Persian Gulf Region,” a strategy presented in July by Mikhail Bogdanov, Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa. “The document takes the form of a kind of roadmap intended ultimately to pave the way for the emergence of security mechanisms in the Persian Gulf, and beyond that, a collective security architecture in the North AfricaMiddle East region,” says the FRS note. Moscow therefore intends to become involved in regional security issues and thus compete with the United States and its Western allies, which have been trying — for many years — to resolve the crises in this zone. “This document is also aimed at extra-regional powers,

to implicitly criticise their action (United States, France) and to invite them to join the Russian initiative (China, United States, European Union, India),” adds the Deputy Director of the Franco-Russian Observatory. TENSIONS WITH IRAN.

This strategy comes at a time of renewed tensions between Washington and Tehran, which is having a major impact on the security situation in the region. Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Vienna Agreement and the restoration of sanctions have raised tension levels. The government in Tehran is upset by the American attitude which it views as an attempt to humiliate Iran. “Washington has opted for a return to a hardline approach to Iran, and this creates a diplomatic opening that Moscow intends to fill by promoting its position as mediator.The U.S. withdrawal

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from theVienna agreement on Iranian nuclear power in May 2018 and the subsequent wave of incidents in the spring of 2019 — ‘suspicious’ tanker attacks in the Gulf, strikes against Saudi pipelines by drones launched from Yemen, tanker seizures — have created a potential for escalation towards conflict that is taken very seriously by Moscow”, according to the FRS note.The de-escalation of tensions therefore becomes a priority and is at the heart of the Russian concept of collective security. “Reflecting some of Moscow’s favourite themes, the fundamental principles on which the Russian draft security concept claims to be based are the rejection of double standards and unilateralism, recognition of mutual interests, indivisibility and inclusiveness of security, non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states and respect for the territorial integrity of the countries in the region,” Delanoë explains. Russia is therefore calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the region, which it believes are being deployed to intimidate Iran and which ultimately reinforce this climate of tension. “The Russian collective security proposal for the Gulf thus takes the opposite tack to the American posture of isolating Tehran by seeking to have Iran recognized and included as a regional security actor in its own right,” he adds. In addition, Russia is supporting the es-


tablishment of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in the Persian Gulf, which could be achieved through the establishment of an international coalition against terrorism, under UN mandate.This proposal, as formulated by Russia, aims initially to resolve the conflicts in Syria andYemen and achieve stability in Iraq, before addressing a major issue: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “presented as one of the main factors of regional instability and a source of tension that fuels recruitment of extremists of all kinds”, explains the FRS note. Finally, as part of this Collective Security Concept, Moscow is adopting a position aimed at limiting and controlling arms transfers. The FRS note comments:“However, Russian arms suppliers are trying to carve out a niche on the Gulf weapons market, which is still largely dominated by Western defence companies. In addition to these recommendations, Russia is also proposing the creation of demilitarised zones and zones where the deployment of military equipment, including missile defence systems, would be subject to restrictions. It is possible to see here a reference to American missile defence systems like Patriot and THAAD. However, would Russia be prepared to abandon the potential sale and delivery of S-400 systems through the creation of these special zones, at a time when the importance of Middle Eastern customers

has increased in the portfolios of Russian arms manufacturers?” NEW ALLIANCES.

Be that as it may, it is clear that Moscow's approach to the Middle East is not without self-interest. There is an emerging interdependence between the Gulf States and external actors. In addition to being loyal customers of Western states for arms and oil exports, the Gulf states are also seeking to cement ties of loyalty with their partners in order to ensure their support in the event of open conflict. More and more states are now opening up to Russia, particularly following Moscow's intervention in the region in support of Syria. Russian action, however questionable in some respects, has proved effective in the fight against Islamic State. This has burnished its image in the eyes of countries in the region. These countries have also seen a change in Washington's position with respect to the region and are seeking to establish ties with new partners. For example, in October 2019, some 20 agreements were signed between Russia and Saudi Arabia during an official visit byVladimir Putin. Russia could therefore take advantage of U.S. actions in the region to establish itself as a new and trusted military ally. However, it remains to be seen whether this ambition can be reconciled with Russia's support for Iran. ■ Justine Boquet


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SA2020_Exhibitor01_Air&Cosmos_210x280mm.pdf 1 1/3/2019 2:22:45 PM

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TURKEY 181 M$ Aircrafts Air Defense Engines Missiles Sensors EXPORTS Missiles Sensors


KEY FIGURES Imports and exports M$ (2018) Focus on some technologies



112 M$


Aircrafts Engines Missiles

514 M$ 28 M$ 66 M$ 39 M$ 30 M$ 364 M$ 90 M$ 16 M$

181 M$

20 M$ 3 M$ 81 M$

Air Defense Engines

93 M$ 88 M$

Beirut Damascus Baghdad

ISRAEL Aircrafts Engines Missiles EXPORTS Aircrafts Air Defense Missiles Sensors



498 M$ 365 M$ 4 M$ 84 M$ 11 M$ 90 M$ 324 M$ 121 M$

596 M$ Air Defense Missile

JORDAN 215 M$ Aircrafts Engines Missiles Sensors

80 M$ 3 M$ 10 M$ 11 M$



1,484 M$ Avions Missiles Sensors

154 M$ 71 M$

3,810 M$

1,090 M$ 138 M$ 30 M$

Aircrafts Air Defense Engines Missiles Sensors

2,276 M$ 95 M$ 37 M$ 793 M$ 86 M$

Military expenditure in 2018 (% GDP) : Bahrain : 3.6%, Egypt : 1.2%, Iran : 2.7%, Iraq : 2.7%, Israel : 4.3%, Jordan : 4.7%, Kuwait : 5.1%, Lebanon : 5%, Oman : 8.2%, Qatar : NC, Saudi Arabia : 8.8%, Syria : NC, Turkey : 2.5%, UAE : NC, Yemen : NC.

RED SEA Sanaa 18


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4 M$ Missiles

4 M$

KUWAIT 88 M$ Air Defense Sensors

55 M$ 15 M$

BAHRAIN 44 M$ Aircrafts Missiles Sensors

28 M$ 5 M$ 5 M$

Abu Dhabi



816 M$ Aircrafts Air Defense Engines Missiles Sensors EXPORTS

168 M$ 165 M$ 4 M$ 402 M$ 20 M$ 3 M$




1,101 M$ Aircrafts Engines Missiles Sensors EXPORTS Aircrafts

65 M$ 11 M$ 703 M$ 8 M$ 113 M$ 32 M$

OMAN 316 M$ Aircrafts Engines

230 M$ 7 M$



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egardless of the doctrine governing its employment, the armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has become an indispensable asset for many armed forces around the world, including those in Middle Eastern countries. In this region, there are two main trends. On the one hand, imports of aircraft, mainly from China but also from Turkey. On the other, local development of armed UAVs to meet the needs of each country's armed forces, such as Turkey, Israel or Iran.Today, although some information is difficult to verify, the following Middle East countries appear to be equipped with armed UAVs: Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia,Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.



One of the countries to have turned to China for its UAV requirements is Jordan. However, having


initially purchased CH-48 UAVs, the Jordanian Army finally made the decision to sell them. It appears that the Chinese aircraft, equipped with AKD-10 guided missiles, repeatedly showed their limitations. Moreover, in addition to being less capable than American UAVs, they are not very compatible with the rest of the country's military equipment. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are also Chinese UAV operators, and it is possible that these vehicles are being employed in the context of the conflict in Yemen. No official evidence has confirmed this rumour, but UAV movements do seem to indicate the use of these aircraft by the Gulf monarchies. “The United Arab Emirates have moved their UAVs to a base in Eritrea, probably in order to have access to Yemen,” the British NGO Drone Wars reported. Similarly, the positioning of Chinese armed UAVs owned by Saudi Arabia suggests that operations are being conducted inYemen. Regarding the delivery


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of Wing Loong UAVs, Drone Wars indicates that two aircraft have been deployed near the border withYemen and that other aircraft have reportedly been moved to airports near the border zone. Saudi Arabia's acquisition of armed UAVs from China dates back to 2014, when Riyadh placed an order for two CH-4s and five Wing Loongs. The aircraft were subsequently delivered between 2015 and 2016. The following year, in line with its own strategy, Saudi Arabia ordered 300 Wing Loong UAVs from China.This acquisition led to the construction of a local production plant, which could make it possible to configure the design of both the Wing Loong and the CH-5.The number of aircraft to be produced for Saudi Arabia has never really been confirmed in detail.


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The United Arab Emirates, meanwhile, decided to turn to Chinese manufacturers after the U.S. refused to approve the sale of Predator UAVs in an armed version. This request was rejected by Congress in 2002 in line with U.S. export policy on armed UAVs. The U.S. position has eased to some extent following the publication of new export rules in April 2018.The UAE thus purchased Chinese Wing Loong UAVs and embarked on the development of its own armed UAVs — which resulted in the Adcom Systems Yabhon United Block-40. This UAV has been exported to Algeria, but it is difficult to know if the aircraft is still in service within the Emirates fleet. The United Arab Emirates nonetheless decided to acquire unarmed Predator UAVs

in 2015, deliveries of which were completed in 2017. SUPPORT FOR GROUND TROOPS.

Iraq has also been attracted by Chinese technology, in an undisguised attempt to rebuild a credible defence. Referring also to the fixed and rotary wing aircraft purchased by the country, researchers from the Royal United Services Institute reported in December 2018 that “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.” Before opting for Chinese platforms, Iraq had tried to import American UAVs. In the end, four CH-4s were reportedly delivered to Iraqi forces in 2015,


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and the first UAV strikes on Islamic State positions took place on 6th December of the same year. However, Iraq’s forces have also been the victim of friendly fire incidents. “In January 2017, nine anti-IS fighters from a Shiite Muslim militia were killed in a friendly fire incident when an Iraqi UAV mistakenly targeted them. Iraqi military sources later told Reuters that the UAV had been fed with the wrong coordinates,” Drone Wars reported. In addition to CH-4 UAVs, Baghdad also uses small commercial UAVs, modified to carry a single grenade or small bomb.These aircraft, because of their size, can operate in urban areas and target enemy positions while reducing the risk of collateral damage that could result from larger explosive charges. Another country in the region that has chosen to import UAVs is Qatar. Doha turned to Turkey, whose industry has succeeded in developing several armed UAVs, which are


also deployed by the country's armed forces. Qatar decided to place an order for six Bayraktar TB-2 UAVs and three ground stations, developed by Baykar Makina. Tests were conducted in February, and the country has trained 55 pilots to operate the aircraft. INDIGENOUS DEVELOPMENTS.

Turkey operates Anka-S, Bayraktar TB2 and Vestel Karayel-SU UAVs — all developed by Turkish industry.These aircraft have conducted several hundred strikes, directly on Turkish territory, at the south-eastern border, but also in Iraq and Syria. Iran, by necessity, has also had to turn to its domestic industry to acquire armed UAVs. According to the Drone Wars NGO, the first development programme began in the 1980s, during the first Gulf War; subsequently, Iran slowly but surely increased its capabilities. While it is difficult to distinguish between

truth and fiction in information from Iranian sources, especially in the field of armaments, it appears certain that Tehran has one armed medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV and two kamikaze UAVs, also known as loiter munitions. Drone Wars explains that the Shahed-129, an armed MALE UAV inspired by the Israeli Hermes 450 UAV, was first unveiled in 2012 and is believed to have entered series production in 2013.The NGO indicates that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) reportedly placed an initial order for a fleet of 40 aircraft, 19 of which were reported to have entered service as of July 2017. The aircraft is believed to have been deployed in Syria. In 2016, Iran unveiled the Saeqeh UAV, this time inspired by the American RQ-170 Sentinel. Finally, in February 2018, the Iranian Minister of Defence unveiled the Mohajer6, which has since gone into production. The aircraft reportedly entered service last


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Armed UAVs in the Middle East CH-4B RAINBOW (CASC) Payload up to 345kg on 4-6 wing hardpoints. Can carry: ● AKD-10 air-to-ground missile ● BRMI-90 90mm guided rocket ● FT-7/130 130kg glide bomb ● FT-9/50 50kg bomb ● FT-10/25 25kg bomb ● GB-7/50 50kg precision-guided munition ● GB-4/100 precision-guided munition

WING LOONG (CAIG) Payload up to 100kg on two wing hardpoints Can carry: ● AKD-10 air-to-ground missile ● FT-9/50 50kg bomb ● FT-10/25 25kg bomb ● GB-7/50 50kg precision-guided munition

WING LOONG II (CAIG) Payload up to 480kg on 12 wing hardpoints Can carry: ● AKD-10 air-to-ground missile ● BRMI-90 90mm guided rocket ● FT-7/130 130kg glide bomb ● FT-9/50 50kg bomb ● FT-10/25 25kg bomb ● GB-7/50 50kg precision-guided munition ● GB-4/100 precision-guided munition

HERON TP (ISRAEL AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES) Can carry e.g. Rafael Spike air-to-ground missiles

HERMES 450 (ELBIT SYSTEMS) Can be configured to carry four Rafael Spike air-to-ground missiles

The Vestel Karayel-SU can fly over 20 hours

HERMES 900 (ELBIT SYSTEMS) Internal weapons bay and wing hardpoints, can carry up to four Rafael Spike air-to-ground missiles

summer with the country's land forces.The Mohajer 6 is intended mainly for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. According to a report by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) in July, it is able to detect, intercept and target different types of threats.To perform its mission, it also has a strike capability and can carry “precision-guided projectiles”, the IRNA indicates. It is thought to feature an autonomy of between 16 and 24 hours, a weapons payload of 200kg and the ability to carry at least two Sadid 345 anti-tank missiles. Iran now reports that it has completed production of the aircraft, which has entered into service with its armed forces. In terms of kami-


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kaze UAVs, Iran has modified two existing aircraft now retired from service: the Karrar and the Ababil-T.The former can carry one bomb or two missiles.This expendable UAV is launched with its weapon payload to perform a single mission. Finally, Israel also relies on its domestic industry — which includes some of the world’s leading UAV manufacturers — to provide equipment for its armed forces. According to a report from the Royal United Services Institute, as of mid-2017, it was estimated that, over the previous three decades, Israel had accounted for 60% of international UAV exports. A total of 165 aircraft are believed to have been delivered. ■ Justine Boquet


SHAHED-129 (SHAHED AVIATION INDUSTRIES) Can carry up to four Sadid 345 air-to-ground guided missiles

MOHAJER-6 (GHODS UAV INDUSTRIES) Can carry at least two Sadid 345 air-to-ground guided missiles

ANKA-S (TURKISH AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES) Can carry at least four Roketsan MAM-L/MAM-C missiles

BAYRAKTAR TB2 (KALE-BAYKAR ) Can carry at least four Roketsan MAM-L/MAM-C missiles

VESTEL KARAYEL-SU (VESTEL DEFENCE INDUSTRY) Can carry two Roketsan MAM-L missiles or four MAM-Cs


INT010_024_025.qxp_Mise en page 1 15/11/2019 13:53 Page24



Edge’s full staff.




A newcomer in the defence industry will be hoping to take advantage of the Dubai Airshow to raise its profile: the Edge consortium, officially launched a few days before the opening of the Dubai Airshow by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyane, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces. The new entity comprises the activities of various structures that previously existed in this segment: Emirates Defence Industries Corp. (EDIC), Emirates Advanced Investments Group (EAIG) and Tawazun Holding.


The reorganisation or rationalisation behind the creation of the Edge consortium now includes 25 entities or subsidiaries whose different competences are organised around five business areas: platforms and systems; missiles and weapons; cyber defence; electronic warfare and intelligence; and mission support. The consortium is headed by Faisal Al Bannai, founder of Axiom Telecom and former CEO of DarkMatter, an Emirati company dedicated to cyber security.


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Al Bannai was selected to head the company based on “a track record that combines knowledge of the start-up world with a proven ability in leveraging emerging technologies to expand business opportunities in the United Arab Emirates and abroad.” The creation of the Edge consortium is not only about a stronger focus on efficiency. It also seeks to unite the various talents that have hitherto been dispersed in order to concentrate on the advanced technologies involved in “hybrid warfare strategy”. These include cyberphysical systems, the Internet of Things and advanced propulsion systems. The common thread linking all these technologies is artificial intelligence. PARTNERSHIPS.

The quest for technological innovation will not rely solely on local know-how. It will also involve partnerships with the main American and European players in the defence sector. The 2019 edition of

the Dubai Airshow should therefore constitute a logical opportunity to announce partnership agreements with the major groups but also with players in the SME segment. All partners will have their eye on offsets linked to future procurement of naval, land and airborne weapons. The United Arab Emirates purchased $1bn worth of equipment in 2018 and this figure only includes aerospace equipment (see map on pages 28-29).The reliance on partnerships recalls the approach adopted by Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), which was launched in 2017 by the current Crown Prince of the Wahhabi Kingdom as part of the “Vision 2030” strategic plan aimed at diversifying Saudi Arabia's economy.Air transport is another sector affected by this diversification drive (see pages 20 to 22). The first illustration of this SAMI partnership strategy came with the memorandum of understanding signed with Naval Group of France in February at

the last IDEX international defence exhibition and conference, concerning the creation of a joint venture that would “produce and develop naval systems in Saudi Arabia”. SAMI's declared objective is “to localise skills and industrial capabilities” and create “highly qualified jobs”. A few months later, the company acquired Advanced Electronics Co., created in 1988 as part of the Saudi Economic Offset Programme and partly owned by BAE Systems. Saudi Arabia wants to localise 50% of its military spending. The acquisition of AEC is part of this strategy. Now forming the core of SAMI's defence electronics division, the entity brings its experience acquired in the design, development and maintenance of Tornado and Typhoon sight systems, F-15 jammers and interference systems, and F-16 electronic units. It is clear that Edge wants to follow the same path. ■ Yann Cochennec

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LAST FLIGHT On 25th September, the SOyuz FG launcher made itS Final FliGht tO the internatiOnal Space StatiOn (iSS). On bOard waS the FirSt uae aStrOnaut. aS OF 3rd OctOber, there waS a crew OF nine peOple On the Orbital cOmplex.



launch pad No. 31, modernised in 2005), the Russians have abandoned the facility after 62 years of activity — it had also been used to launch Sputnik 1 on 4th October 1957. JAPANESE CARGO VESSEL.

The day before the launch of Soyuz MS15, the eighth Japanese Kounotori cargo vessel (HTV-8) also made a flight to the ISS. Installed on an H2B launcher, it lifted off at 16:05 UTC from the Tanegashima launch facility. Lift-off occurred two weeks later than scheduled, after an initial launch attempt on 10th September was interrupted by a fire on the launch pad, due to an excessive concentration of liquid oxygen used to cool the engines. Carrying 5.4t of cargo (including 3.5t in the pressurised section and six new lithium-ion batteries), the cargo ship moved towards its rendezvous with the station on 28th September. It was captured at 11:12 UTC using the Canadarm2 robotic arm operated by astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan. Ground controllers completed the docking ma-


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B. Ingalls / nasa / vornan

t 35 years of age, fighter pilot Hazza al-Mansouri has made history in the United Arab Emirates, by becoming the country’s first representative in space and the first Arab to fly to the International Space Station*. Accompanied by Oleg Skripotchka (49 years old, 3rd space flight) from Russia and Jessica Meir (42 years old, 1st flight) from the U.S., he lifted off on 25th September at 1:57 pm on Soyuz MS-15.The flight, performed in express mode, lasted only 5 hours and 46 minutes (four orbits) before docking on the rear port of the Russian ISS Zvezda module, erasing the memory of Soyuz MS-14, which had been unable to perform the manoeuvre on 24th August ... because a cable from the Kurs-P rendezvous system of the Poisk docking port had been disconnected. This was the last flight of the Soyuz FG (forsunochnaya golovka, “injection head”) with its analogue control system. The launcher made its inaugural flight in May 2001 and was used 70 times altogether (Fregat version included). Russian missions to the ISS will now be performed by the Soyuz 2.1a digital version, which has been in service since November 2004 and was qualified for manned flights on 22nd August with the launch of Soyuz MS-14 and its only passenger, the humanoid robot, Fedor.The farewell flight of the Soyuz FG also marked the last use of the legendary Baikonur launch pad No. 1 in Kazakhstan, from which Yuri Gagarin launched on 12th April 1961 — hence the nickname Gagarinskiy Start (Gagarin launch pad). Lacking the $87m needed to adapt it to the Soyuz 2 (unlike


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Soyuz MS-15 crew. From top to bottom: Jessica Meir Hazza al-Mansouri and Oleg Skripotchka.


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B. Ingalls / nasa

Soyuz FG roll out the 23th september.

Mini-Euso: a new look at the Earth n 8th October, alexander Skvortsov and luca parmitano are scheduled to activate the mini-euso telescope, which was transferred to the iSS in august on Soyuz mS-14. developed by roscosmos and the italian Space agency under the Jem-euso programme (Joint exploration module multiwavelength imaging new instrument for the extreme universe Space Observatory), mini-euso is an imager with extreme sensibility to ultraviolet light. it is taking part in the development of an ultra-high energy cosmic ray observation programme from space. it will be periodically placed by the station crew next to the quartz window of the russian zvezda module facing the atmosphere, where it



will seek to detect single photons within a 40-degree field of view at a rate of 400,000 images per second. the instrument will make it possible to produce for the first time a map of the earth's nocturnal ultraviolet emissions. among the 300 scientists from sixteen countries associated with the experiment are the astroparticle and cosmology laboratory (university of paris, cnrS/in2p3, cea, Observatoire de paris), the institut de recherche en astrophysique et planétologie (université paul-Sabatier de toulouse, cnrS/inSu), the laboratoire de l'accélérateur linéaire (université paris Sud, cnrS/in2p3) and the Omega laboratory (umS cnrS/in2p3), supported by cneS and cnrS (in2p3/inSu).


noeuvre at 14:09 UTC on the nadir port of the Harmony module (Node 2). A total of five extravehicular activities (EVAs) are scheduled (6th, 11th, 16th, 21st and 25th October) to replace the batteries on the P6 Truss of the ISS. OVER 4,000 CANDIDATES.

The UAE Space Agency (created in July 2014) launched its astronaut programme in April 2017. The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, established in Dubai in February 2006, was placed in charge of recruitment. The response of the Emirates population (more than 9.5 million inhabitants) was enthusiastic, as shown by the 4,022 applications registered from candidates aged 17 to 67 — in comparison with the 8,413 applications submitted online in the 2008 European selection process,

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SPECIAL ISSUE retained her assignment to Soyuz MS-12, which lifted off on 14th March with Aleksey Ovchinin (Russia) and Nick Hague (U.S.), the unlucky passengers of Soyuz MS-10. They were joined on 21st July by the crew of Soyuz MS-13, Alexander Skvortsov (Russia), Luca Parmitano (Italy) and Andrew Morgan (U.S.) to form Expedition 60, commanded by Aleksey Ovchinin. Jessica Meir, recruited by NASA in June 2013 (Group 21), replaced Christina Koch alongside Oleg Skripochka and Hazza al-Mansouri, now designated for the Soyuz MS-15 flight.

and the population of the European Union, which was then close to 500 million.The nine finalists were sent to Moscow in August 2018 for a series of medical tests, and the announcement of the two winners was made on 3rd September: Hazza al-Mansouri (final selection in April 2019) and Sultan al-Neyadi, a telecommunications engineer born in 1981. SIX-MONTH DELAY.

Initially scheduled for March this year, the first Emirati astronaut's stay on board the ISS was planned to last about 10 days, with an outward journey on Soyuz MS-12 and a return to Earth on Soyuz MS-10. But the aborted launch of the latter on 11th October 2018 disrupted the rotation schedule and the crew compositions (see table). U.S. astronaut Christina Koch


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returning on Soyuz MS-13, after 202 days in space for the two men and 330 days for Christina Koch (who will thus set a new record for spaceflight duration by a female U.S. astronaut). Oleg Skripotchka, Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan will continue their mission until the following 1st April (190 days for the first two and nearly 257 days for the third), and will return to Earth with Soyuz MS-15. INSPIRATIONAL MISSION.

Hazza al-Mansouri — the 11th “spaceflight participant” since April-May 2001*** — will have

turing 600 science projects by young people and 1,500 participants from 56 countries from 22nd to 28th September) — confirmed the enthusiasm generated by the Emirati astronaut: “He is the sole topic of conversation here, with almost constant live images and the presence of a NASA representative, Jorge Sotomayor. The excitement is comparable to what we saw in France at the time of the first steps on the Moon in 1969.”The day before lift-off, 150,000 commemorative stamps were issued throughout the UAE. ■ Pierre-François Mouriaux

Live from space. CREW OF NINE.

As a result, for the first time since September 2015, the crew on board the orbital complex reached nine people from 25th September to 3rd October, and the arrival of Jessica Meir and Hazza alMansouri brings the number of different passengers to have flown to the ISS since November 2000 to 239, representing twenty nationalities**. Hazza al-Mansuri was due to return to Earth with Aleksey Ovchinin and Nick Hague (who will have both spent 204 days in space) on Soyuz MS12. Alexandre Skvortsov, Luca Parmitano (commander of Expedition 61 since 2nd October) and Christina Koch will remain in orbit until 6th February 2020,


experienced nearly eight days of microgravity.The mission, designated UAE Mission 1, which aims to inspire future generations, has been widely covered by the Emirati media and has been accompanied by multiple educational activities. A total of 16 scientific experiments were planned (including participation in the Fluidics experiment developed by France’s CNES space agency for the Proxima mission of French astronaut Thomas Pesquet in 2016-2017), along with several video links with young people. Jean-Claude Guiraudon, Honorary President of Milset**** — who was present in Dubai for International ExpoSciences International 2019 (fea-

* The first arab astronaut was saudi Prince sultan Ben salmane ben abdelaziz al-saoud, on the sTs51g mission of space shuttle Discovery, from 17th to 24th June 1985 (with Patrick Baudry of France). He was followed by Muhammed Faris of syria, who participated in the soyuz TM-3/Mir/soyuz TM2 mission from 22nd to 30th July 1987. ** In alphabetical order: Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, germany, Iran (taking into account the origins of american tourist anousheh ansari), Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, netherlands, russia, south africa, spain, sweden, United arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United states. *** Hazza al-Mansouri follows Dennis Tito (United states), Mark shuttleworth (south africa), gregory olsen (United states), Marcos Pontes (Brazil), anousheh ansari (Iran-United states), Charles simonyi (Hungary-United states), sheikh Muszaphar shukor (Malaysia), Yi so-yeon (south Korea), richard garriott (United states) and guy laliberté (Canada). The most recent flight participant paid $35m for a 10-day flight. **** Mouvement international pour le loisir scientifique et technique. International movement for leisure activities in science and technology


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n 8th October, the day of the annual Vijayadashami festival in India, many Indian officials were present at the Dassault Aviation site in Mérignac. The festival, dedicated to the victory of good over evil, also fell on the day of the 87th anniversary celebration of Indian Air Force (IAF). A perfectly chosen date for the ceremony to deliver the first Rafale to the IAF, organised in the presence of India's Minister of Defence, Shri Rajnath Singh, and France's Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly. It is the first of a series of 36 aircraft scheduled for delivery over the next three years. Dassault did not offer details on delivery dates for

O 30

the next Rafales, but it seems that four aircraft are currently in production on the final assembly line at Mérignac. OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENT.

IThe aircraft is part of an order for 36 Rafales under a modernisation programme that will renew the fleets of two IAF squadrons.This order, which was finally signed after the failure of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) negotiations, was finalised on 23rd September 2016 to meet an urgent operational requirement of the Indian armed forces.The IAF’s rapidly ageing fleet of fighter aircraft, mostly MiG-21s and MiG-27s, is scheduled to be retired from service starting in 2024. The Rafale acquisition, therefore,

partially meets a declared requirement for up to 200 aircraft, alongside the 120 indigenous Tejas combat aircraft already ordered. As part of its fleet renewal effort, the IAF issued a new request for information (RFI) in April 2018 for the acquisition of an additional 110 combat aircraft. Among the conditions attached to this order, it is expected that 85% of production will be required to take place in India.The RFI concerns multi-role combat aircraft capable of carrying out air superiority, air defence, ground attack, reconnaissance, maritime attack, electronic warfare and refuelling missions. 75% of the fleet must be composed of single-seat aircraft, and deliveries must be completed within 12 years of the contract signature.


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This new competition essentially pits Dassault Aviation against Lockheed Martin and Saab.The French manufacturer, thanks to its local industrial presence, aims to convince the Indian authorities to renew their confidence in the Rafale and is playing the “Make in India” card to the full. If there is an additional order, part of the production could thus take place in India, with an associated transfer of skills. In addition, at the G7 summit in August, when the new order was thought to be immi-


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nent, there were rumours of possible preferential pricing. A follow-on contract could further strengthen the long-standing Franco-Indian relationship — the delivery ceremony was described as "crowning more than 65 years of trust" between the two countries. The strength of this relationship is reflected in the ties between Dassault and the IAF. From the Mystère IV to the Mirage 2000, via the Alizé and Jaguar, the IAF has been operating Dassault aircraft for many years. “I am particularly honoured to host this ceremony today as India is

part of Dassault Aviation’s DNA. The long and trustful relationship we share is an undeniable success and underpins my determination of establishing for the long term Dassault Aviation in India. We stand alongside the Indian Air Force since 1953, we are totally committed to fulfil its requirements for the decades to come and to be part of India’s ambitious vision for the future,“ Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, declared at the ceremony. In accordance with Indian tradition, a ritual to bless the aircraft was conducted by the Indian Mi-



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nister of Defence, who later that day made his first flight aboard the Rafale. Pending the Indian government's decision on this new acquisition, New Delhi will therefore receive Rafales “developed specifically to meet the needs of the IAF”, based on the F3R standard, Trappier added.The delivery of this first aircraft was completed on schedule, to the satisfaction of the participants, who made constant references to the strong relationship between France and India.This cooperation is also reflected in the growing presence of French industry in India. Currently, about 60 companies have set up facilities in the country as part of the Make in India programme — an initiative to strengthen the Indian defence technological and industrial base (DTIB) and improve workforce skills (see page 34). France has been involved in this initiative for a long time


now, with the production of components for engines, helicopters, missiles and submarines, Florence Parly declared. AIR SUPERIORITY.

Parly — whose predecessor, JeanYves Le Drian, had been present at the signature of the Rafale contract — also noted France's strong commitment to India.And the Indian Minister added that this bilateral relationship also contributes to international stability.The Rafale is an “instrument of air superiority”, an instrument for “territorial protection”, an “instrument of sovereignty”, said Parly. The aircraft could thus constitute an important asset for India, in a region of tensions, the minister underlined. Concerning weapons for the Rafale, India has chosen MBDA. Indian Rafales will be armed with Mica air-to-air missiles, Scalp cruise missiles and Meteor long-

range missiles. “In recent years, the range of our air-to-air missiles has been greater than that of our potential adversaries. But with the Su-35, the Chinese could obtain the latest Russian missile, the R-712, with a range of more than 300km.To retain their advantage, our forces need the Rafale and Meteor,” declared Captain Ravinder Chhatwal, a researcher at the Centre for Air Power Studies (New Delhi), in Air & Cosmos in October 2016. The Rafale, with its missiles and sensors, should thus give India a better strike capability and also serve as a deterrent in the Indo-Pacific region, where tensions are escalating. COOPERATION.

The choice of the Rafale will also enable the French and Indian forces to deepen their military partnership and interoperability, particularly through joint exercises, as was the case with Garuda.The


last edition of this exercise was held from 1st to 12th July at Montde-Marsan Air Base 118 in France. This bilateral exercise allows French and Indian forces to “improve the level of interoperability of French and Indian crews in air defence and ground attack missions,” says the Ministry of the Armed Forces. For this exercise,India had deployed four Su-30s, two C17s and one Il-78.These aircraft trained alongside French Rafales, Alpha Jets, Mirage 2000s, C135s, E3Fs, C130s and Casas. These exercises also serve to familiarise Indian crews with the Rafale. Some IAF personnel are being trained directly in France. This is one of the reasons why the first Rafale will not fly to India until next May, to allow IAF crews to pursue their training. Currently, about 200 military personnel have been trained, both in India and France. ■ Justine Boquet in Mérignac

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Air&Cosmos International digital magazine

2020 main reports editorial programme: • A&C Int’l, issue 11, March 6, 2020: Singapore Airshow full report

• A&C Int’l, issue 12, May 8, 2020: ILA Berlin preview - printed and distributed at ILA Berlin

• A&C Int’l, issue 13, July 17, 2020: Farnborough preview

• A&C Int’l, issue 14, October 9, 2020: MRO Europe preview - printed and distributed at MRO Europe

• A&C Int’l, issue 15, November 27, 2020: Airbus supply-chain partners.

Editorial coordination contact: Yann Cochennec Advertising contacts: Cyril Mikaïloff - Henry de Freycinet -


INT010_034_035.qxp_Mise en page 1 15/11/2019 14:18 Page34

DEFENCE MAKE IN INDIA Less than two weeks earlier, Latécoère had inaugurated its new plant in Belagavi, Karnataka State. With a total surface area of 4,400m2, this new site is dedicated to the manufacture of radio navigation harnesses for the Falcon 2000 and, in the long term, the main harness of the same aircraft. Latécoère is thus supporting Dassault Aviation, which began production of the Falcon 2000 nose section at its Indian site in Nagpur. The common thread between these various sites is India's order for 36 Dassault Rafale combat aircraft, though the scope is broader than that.The Latécoère site will also supply avionics cabling to Thales for Boeing 737 and 777 aircraft, as well as A320 aircraft. The same applies to the Ametra group, which is also looking for new customers in the rail, naval and medical sectors. Like Thales or other smaller French companies, the Safran group did not wait for the Rafale contract to set up operations in India (see map).




ot a month goes by without a French company in the aerospace and defence sector announcing the inauguration of a new production site in India.The most recent announcement concerning a new facility in India came in September from the Ametra

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group, as part of a joint venture with the Indian company Nucon Aerospace, which specialises in motion control systems. Located in Hyderabad, the site, which represents an investment of €1m over five years for the French company, will be dedicated to cables and electronic integration.

Nonetheless, it is clear that the Rafale order has boosted momentum, especially since it could be followed by others (see page 30).Already based in New Delhi and Bangalore, the Safran group has shifted up a gear in Hyderabad. In addition to the CFM engine maintenance training centre opened in 2010 and capable of accommodating more than 500 students per year, there are now two industrial sites. First, that of Safran Electrical & Power, which has been open since the summer of 2019. With a surface area of 4,000m2, the site produces harnesses for CFM Leap engines, but also interconnection systems for the Rafale. It will eventually accommodate a workforce of 250 people. Located in the Special Economic Zone next to Hyderabad airport, Safran Electrical & Power's plant is not far from the


Safran Aircraft Engines plant dedicated to the production of CFM Leap engine parts — an investment of €36m announced in February at the last Aero India show. RAMPING UP.

With a useful surface area of 13,000m2, including 8,000m2 of workshops, the future site, which is currently under construction for delivery in early 2020, will employ around 50 people by the end of this year to support the launch of operations, rising to 300 employees ultimately, all of whom will benefit from a comprehensive training programme to assimilate Safran's industrial processes, including real-time monitoring of production parameters and the latest integrated production control methods. When the site reaches full capacity in 2023, it will be able to deliver more than 15,000 parts per year. CFM, the joint venture between Safran Aircraft Engines and General Electric, is expected to deliver 2,000 engines per year by 2020. Dassault Aviation is also ramping up local production. The Nagpur site, built as part of the joint venture with the Indian group Reliance Aerospace, delivered its first Falcon 2000 nose section in February. The objective is to gradually build up local capacity to be able to perform production and complete assembly of a Falcon 2000 in India. In addition to the first building, a second one will be added with a useful surface area of 15,000m2.A site of more than 60 acres is planned in order to accommodate all the industrial activities of the DRAL joint venture.The ambition goes beyond the Falcon 2000 alone. The goal is to establish what Dassault Aviation calls the "foundations for a national aerospace and defence ecosystem" against a backdrop of potential additional orders for the Rafale from India. ■ Yann Cochennec

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Avionics - Optronics



New Delhi


Airbus Helicopters


IAF Mirage 2000 support










Hyderabad Belagavi


Pilot training engineering AIRBUS ALTRAN

Engineering avionics radar






Thales facilities and offices *













Airbus facilities and offices * Dassault Aviation facilities and offices




srI lANkA



Safran facilities and offices *


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Sicral 2 satellite (Syracuse 3C). n his speech to the armed forces last year, the French President described the space domain as “essential for our operations”.“Due to the incredible potential it offers, as well as the conflictuality it generates, space, like cyber, constitutes a real national security issue,” he declared, before calling for the definition, “in the coming year”, of a national spacebased defence strategy — which “will also be destined to be implemented, in all its relevant aspects, at the European level.” SThe first outlines of this strategy were revealed by Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, on 7th September, during her visit to the Toulouse Space Centre. On that occasion, she described an act of Russian espionage in orbit — in 2017 an “indiscreet” Russian “satellite with big ears”, LuchOlymp, had been detected moving into the vicinity of the “precious” FrancoItalian geostationary satellite Athena-Fidus, which had been providing “secure military communications” since February 2014.The Minister also indicated that the new French LPM multiyear military spending bill (2019-2025) would include a budget of €3.6bn to consolidate and renew French space assets. This includes the launch of three CSO observation satellites, three Ceres signals intelligence (SIGINT) micro-satellites, and three new Syracuse communications satellites. In addition, the Graves space surveillance radar system developed by Onera is to be upgraded, and ArianeGroup's GEOTracker and the CNRS Tarot telescope networks are to be placed in operational service. By way of comparison, the previous LPM (2014-2019) had earmarked €2.4bn for space programmes. Parly's assertive address was to have been followed by a further speech by the President on the subject at the end of 2018-early 2019, but this was finally delayed by six months, due in particular to the “yellow vests” movement.Thus the speech of 13th July in the gardens of the Hôtel de Brienne was eagerly awaited.




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“Active” protection.


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In the event, the first mention of the space segment came in the 17th minute of a speech of less than 25 minutes and lasted for just ... 50 seconds, including the following statement: "The new military space doctrine that has been proposed to me by the Minister, and that I have approved, will ensure defence of space and by space.We will strengthen our knowledge of the space situation, we will better protect our satellites, including by active means. And, to give substance to this doctrine, to ensure the development and strengthening of our space capabilities, a major space command will be created next September, within the Air Force, which will eventually become the Air and Space Force. Decisions will be made concerning the new investments required.” This brief but noteworthy passage provides first of all the confirmation of the policy proposed by Parly (to acquire orbital capabilities for observation, intelligence and communications), with the following major development: French assets will be protected "actively", i.e. armed or protected by offensive defence systems (such as missiles or lasers operated from the ground). The other announcement concerned the forthcoming creation of a dedicated “space command” within the Air Force, and therefore the expansion of the service’s role (and ultimately, its name). Gone is the Joint Space Command (JSC), created in 2010 and currently led by General Michel Friedling — it is hard to avoid thinking of Donald Trump's Space Force, the project to form a sixth service of the American armed forces (though under the umbrella of the U.S. Air Force), dedicated to the defence of American satellites from physical (missiles...) or electromagnetic (piracy...) attack. Finally,

we see the promise of additional, but unspecified, resources to accompany this increasingly assertive space-based defence strategy. The next day, Florence Parly specified on France Inter radio that the space command would be based in Toulouse, “which is the major French space centre” and that it would include "all the assets that are dispersed across our armed forces and that contribute to the proper use of space-based systems.” Initially, the command will consist of "about 200 people", a figure that will “increase over time”. The Minister said more details would be provided “in about 10 days’ time”. The priorities announced by the French President on 13th July are in line with the recommendations made by the National Assembly. On 15th January, Olivier Becht and Stéphane Trompille presented a report on the spacebased defence sector to the Commission on National Defence and the Armed Forces.After meeting with multiple industrial and institutional stakeholders in France and abroad, the two rapporteurs highlighted the existence of shortcomings in French space-based defence policy and identified areas for improvement. According to the report, space constitutes, "a tool to support military operations conducted in other domains — land, sea and air — and is becoming a theatre for strategic confrontation in its own right. (...) Space is in the process of being weaponised."The two MPs continue: "While space has always been used for military purposes, this has always been in support of operations on land, at sea or in the air; it is now clear that space is also seen by space powers as a theatre of confrontation in its own right." Faced with this new situation, France is obliged to evolve its strategy to maintain its rank and defend its interests in this new domain.


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control in SpAce.

To this end, several elements must be taken into account from the outset in establishing a space doctrine. One of these is the need for proper control of space traffic, which means:“managing a congested space situation, monitoring the proliferation of space assets, analysing capabilities enabled by new technologies and developing systems to compensate for the lack of international regulation of space traffic.” Control in space also requires knowledge of the military actions taking place in space. Thus it is necessary to “protect space-based systems and services of interest to the armed forces, to respond to the emergence of doctrines of aggression in space, to monitor the use of ‘non-conventional’ weapons, to have the necessary space-based assets to provide guidance for military action in the other domains, e.g. for missile launches, and even, if the doctrine were to evolve in this direction,

to employ active measures”. Finally, in order to be able to carry out these initial missions, it appears necessary to be able to control “the space environment to guarantee the transmission of orders and counter-orders and be able to analyse the spatial situation”, the rapporteurs explain. SpAce commAnd.

Among the proposals made by the authors of the report is also that of an “organic incarnation” of space-based defence within the French armed forces. The idea of a space command within the Air Force is therefore not new and has been under study for several months.The rapporteurs recommended that 200 people be assigned to this command when they presented their report.“The various assessments of requirements provided to the authors suggest that the number of personnel dedicated to spacebased defence should reasonably be increased from 290 to 500,”

they observed. Similarly, the ambition to create “an Air and Space Force” had already been mentioned by MPs. They justified this step as follows:“Among the armed forces, it is clearly the Air Force that is best placed to contain within itself an entity in charge of space-based defence. In addition to the fact that the Air Force provides 70% of the manpower assigned to space activities, there are undeniable similarities between the space and air domains; as the Joint Space Commander said,‘3D’ is certainly ‘part of the DNA’ of the Air Force, and the latter developed the Graves and Cosmos systems. (...) The Air Force is not only a ‘user of spacebased services’, it views this domain in terms of a certain continuity between the space domain and the air domain, in which it carries out the air defence mission and, as such, maintains a ‘permanent air security posture’.Thus, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Thierry Cattaneo, the Air Force

already provides a kind of permanent air security posture.” proliferAtion.

While additional manpower needs to be devoted to space-based defence, France must also enhance its capabilities for action.This includes strengthening its surveillance and defence systems.The Graves space surveillance radar system plays a major role here.Thus,“the operation of the Graves system has enabled France to detect and monitor not only the satellites listed in the catalogue of space objects published by the Americans, but also those that do not appear in it, regardless of their size, their orbit range, the predictability of their dynamics and the frequency of their orbital changes,” the report states.This is a crucial capability at a time when the number of objects in orbit is rapidly increasing. There are currently 1,500 of them, and this figure is expected to reach 8,000 within 10 years.This exponential


GEOTracker System



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A new space surveillance system inspired by Graves should be developed.

growth calls for the use of highperformance systems to detect all these objects. However, there is also a trend towards miniaturisation of space objects, which renders detection more complex. However, this phenomenon "suggests that the usefulness of the Graves system is likely to decrease. Indeed, according to the information provided to the Cosmos system, it cannot detect all Cubesat satellites. However, for the time being, 90% of the satellites of military interest placed in low Earth orbit can be readily detected by the Graves system.”This is reassuring in the short term but shows a need for enhanced capabilities in the medium and long term. This multiplication of the number of platforms in orbit also increases international tensions by reinforcing what the


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DGRIS (the directorate general for international relations and strategy within the Ministry of the Armed Forces) calls “scenarios of potential misunderstanding and escalation”.The proliferation of space platforms complicates detection, but also the identification of system operators. It also represents “a particularly high risk of incidents, given for example the volume of debris, the risk of collision in overloaded orbits or electromagnetic interference,” the report states. SurveillAnce.

The development of new surveillance capabilities that will be able to respond to tomorrow's threats and the presence of new objects in space is therefore essential. Two main categories of solutions are under consideration:


some could be operated from the ground, while others would be directly implemented in space. The French space agency, CNES, has examined this issue and identified several surveillance options that could be directly deployed in space. These are: "Equipping satellites with proximity sensors; the use of patrol satellites; using small “watchdog” satellites to monitor the approaches around larger satellites.” In terms of space surveillance from Earth, Onera is working on the issue and is pushing for the establishment of a “French programme to develop a new space surveillance system, offering higher performance than the Graves system”, which would be deployed in mainland France and French Guiana in order to guarantee optimal coverage.At the same time,

the French research centre is proposing to focus on “optronic observation of geostationary satellites; optronic observation of satellites in intermediate orbits, in particular ‘navigation’ orbits: GPS, Galileo, Glonass, Beidou; high-resolution optical imaging, using adaptive optics on satellites in low Earth orbit; satellite imaging using Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR), a radar imaging technique that produces high-resolution images in two dimensions”. Obtaining a comprehensive vision of the space environment and the objects evolving in it also requires European cooperation. The two MPs explain that “it would therefore be appropriate for France to support the launch of a European space surveillance programme in 2019, with funding from the European Defence In-


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Emmanuel Macron presented his defense space strategy on July 3rd at the Brienne hotel.

dustrial Development Programme (EDIDP), the precursor of the European Defence Fund”. According to Alain Charmeau (ArianeGroup), a surveillance system covering all orbits could be fully operational by 2027, with an initial operational capability in 2021. Work could also be carried out by France, Germany and Italy, particularly in the field of space observation.The European Commission seems to be in favour of this dynamic and in June 2018 proposed allocating a budget of €16bn to European space activities over the period 2021-2027. Nevertheless, while the two rapporteurs encourage cooperation in space, and not only on a European scale, they note the need to maintain a certain autonomy. France must be able to operate surveillance systems in addition to European systems, in


order to enrich the information provided by the latter. Becht and Trompille remark: "It is a question of orienting sovereign sensors in case of doubt about the information provided by assets operated in cooperation. Similarly, in terms of optical capability, there may be areas of operation or interest that France needs to observe alone. In a way, with shared assets, it is necessary to reserve a portion of the capability for own use and with guaranteed security.” Action.

While France, and more generally Europe, needs to develop new surveillance and detection capabilities, it is also necessary to address the issue of means of action. Indeed, if a threat is detected or a hostile action is carried out, it must be possible to react.And it is on this point that we can

see a major change in the space domain.As the Joint Commander of Space has pointed out, there is a distinction between the notion of "weaponisation" of space, i.e. the positioning of weapons in orbit, which is “a new and recent phenomenon”, and that of the "militarisation" of space, i.e. its use for military purposes, which has “already been under way for a long time”, according to the National Assembly report. The report also notes that “recent technological developments make it easy to envisage actions in space. (...) Incidentally, the emergence of non-state organisations — such as those on Earth that have developed in Syria or Libya — that could find ways to take action in space cannot be totally excluded.” According to the MPs, this situation therefore requires the es-


tablishment of a space-based defence doctrine accompanied by capability planning.They add:“At a minimum, we must consider ways to respond by force to attacks on our space assets, or even give ourselves the freedom to strike those of an adversary.The Chief of Staff of the Air Force has also informed the rapporteurs that offensive or counter-offensive actions — but not only defensive — are being studied.” reAction.

Several strategies could then be devised by the armed forces. It should be noted that it is not necessary to respond to an action taking place in the space domain with a response in the same environment. “Any potential aggressor necessarily has interests in domains other than space.Therefore, the response to hostile ac-

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SPACE tion against our space interests can be just as effective if it hits the interests of the aggressor on Earth as if it targets his space interests,” the rapporteurs observe. However, as part of a response in the space domain, crucial elements must be taken into account.And at the top of the list is space debris.The destruction of satellites poses a risk to all stakeholders, as the multiplication of debris is in nobody’s interest. “This debris is counted in tens of thousands for objects over 10cm in diameter and in hun-

In order to limit the creation of additional space debris, the rapporteurs studied the various offensive and counter-offensive technologies that can be implemented in space. The two MPs call for the priority use of nonkinetic systems, which do not create debris but allow the target to be neutralised. In this case, the laser appears to constitute an interesting option. “The intensity of the action and the severity of the damage inflicted can be modulated by varying the power emitted; this technology could

tiplication of debris in orbit following the destruction of a space object, the destruction of space objects in an uncontrolled way can only be seen as an option of last resort or a means of action from a position of weakness”, the authors of the report insist.Among the solutions envisaged are offensive satellites, anti-satellite missiles and a reusable, laser-armed cubesats. cApAbility plAnning.

In order to support the development of these different techno-

the MPs note. Faced with a tight budgetary situation, the rapporteurs call for the development of demonstrators in the field of satellite constellations, manoeuvring space vehicles, pseudo-satellites and so-called reactive launch systems. The development of innovative technologies also requires closer cooperation between the civil and military sectors. They must work together to avoid duplication of equipment, which is often very costly, but also to support the French defence industrial and


Syracuse satellite.

dreds of thousands for objects over 1cm in diameter.All of this debris is likely to cause irreversible,‘lethal’, damage to our satellites, or even catastrophic collisions, potentially generating even more debris by chain reaction.While we can protect ourselves from the most massive — those over 10cm — by ‘seeing and avoiding’, it is currently impossible to avoid the danger posed by debris in the second category —from one to 10cm — because of the performance limits of our sensors".


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be used in other operating domains and at other scales; it could also have a dual use for orbit clearance by eliminating space debris from those orbits,” the MPs remark. However, the use of laser systems remains complex and requires a thorough knowledge of the satellites and objects being targeted. the debriS iSSue.

Although this is not an optimal solution, the use of kinetic systems is also considered. “Because of the risks resulting from the mul-


logies, resources must be allocated to the space sector.According to the rapporteurs, the LPM as currently conceived is not suitable for the establishment of a real space doctrine.The LPM “does not provide for investment in truly new capabilities, which technological innovation in the space sector would make possible. In this sense, it cannot be seen as truly ambitious; it constitutes a minimum basis for modernising current capabilities, without going beyond that, which could be justified by the strategic context,"

technological base (DITB), which is structured around large groups and start-ups.“The main players in the sector have implemented innovation plans that allow them to monitor start-ups and take stakes in them at the appropriate time to benefit from their success,” the report notes.The large groups, thanks to their resources, therefore make it possible to support the smallest companies in their development, once their innovations have reached maturity. ■ Justine Boquet and Pierre-François Mouriaux


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The Leonardo AW169, one of the most recent new-generation EMS helicopters to come onto the market.

IN THE FIELD OF HELICOPTER EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE (HEMS), THE EUROPEAN MARKET IS SPLIT BETWEEN TWO MANUFACTURERS, AIRBUS HELICOPTERS AND LEONARDO. WE TALK TO TWO EMS SPECIALISTS ABOUT CURRENT MARKET TRENDS AND FUTURE PROSPECTS. n Europe, the market for emergency medical evacuation by helicopter is basically split between two manufacturers. Airbus Helicopters leads the way with its H135 and H145. On a European as well as a global scale, these two machines have captured the lion's share of the market.“The global helicopter fleet at the end of 2018 represents 2,633

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machines in operation,” comments Ralf Setz, Senior Manager Operational Marketing and HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) expert at Airbus Helicopters. TThe second manufacturer is Leonardo, which has introduced new-generation helicopters with the AW169,AW139 and AW189 models in weight categories ranging from 4.5 to 9 tonnes, to complement

the AW109 series of light twins. “About 80% of these helicopters are concentrated in North America (50%) and Europe (28%). In Europe, there are about 700 EMS helicopters,” says Massimo Quocchini, EMS marketing director at Leonardo. Airbus Helicopters alone has a 60% market share in both single and twin-engine aircraft.“The European fleet, including


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Russia, represents 925 helicopters.With a 64% market share for Airbus Helicopters, twin-engine aircraft are mainly used as a result of EASA regulations, with the exception of Russia, which does not follow this legislation. Excluding the latter — which is virtually a closed market since Russia heavily favours domestic manufacturers for its rotary wing requirements, particularly for emergency medical evacuation missions — we actually have a market share of 75%. The most widely used machine is the light twin-engine type, which alone accounts for 77% of the equipment used by operators. These are helicopters such as the H135, which represents 324 machines, and the H145, with about 200 machines in operation,” adds Setz.“Currently worldwide, about 400 EMS helicopters produced by Leonardo, plus more than 300 helicopters that perform search and rescue operations, are flying in operational service. Leonardo’s world market share in the EMS segment exceeds 16%; in Europe it represents approximately 28%", explains Quocchini. Over the last ten years, the global fleet of EMS helicopters has grown by 4% per year.“It is a replacement market, in the sense that new machines replace aging models or those that no longer meet the standards in force in their respective countries. In Europe, however, the global fleet has not increased,” explains Setz.“The EMS helicopter market has grown very significantly in recent years. In 2007, the EMS segment accounted for 14% of all civil helicopter deliveries, including all manufacturers. Today, this figure exceeds 40% and is set to increase.According to our forecasts, in 10 years' time the EMS fleet will expand from 2,400 helicopters now to over 3,000 units.” “You have to look at the portion of the current fleet that needs to be replaced by more modern aircraft. Currently, at least half of the worldwide HEMS fleet consists of helicopters that are more than 10 years old. Light twin-engine helicopters that will be


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replaced by light intermediate aircraft (between 4 and 5 tonnes), for which Leonardo is well prepared with its AW169, which meets the growing demand for increased cabin space, new safety standards and the availability of equipment dedicated to the mission,” adds Massimo Quocchini. The EMS helicopter fleet could also expand for human — and more specifically morphological — reasons, beyond the service requirement.“Both the size and weight of people are changing.This will inevitably have an impact on the market. To this must also be added the fact that the social and civil importance of emergency rescue services in their various forms (EMS helicopters, mountain and maritime search and rescue, civil protection and disaster response) is growing and is becoming increasingly widespread worldwide.The demand to be able to fly and perform the mission in any meteorological or environmental conditions and with maximum availability, is increasing,” Quocchini notes. He continues:“Moreover, in general, future developments will allow helicopters and perhaps even convertibles to become more and more platforms for stabilising patients, like real flying hospitals equipped with cutting-edge medical equipment, now available only in emergency units or in the operating theatre. They will allow doctors to better assess the patient's physical conditions, perform small procedures with precision and safety, thanks to the increasing level of comfort offered on board (less vibration thanks to damping systems, new materials, dedicated air corridors) and by transmitting in real time the patient's vital parameters and useful data to understand what intervention will be needed once the patient reaches the destination." 90 HELICOPTERS IN FRANCE.

To better understand the proportion of machines in operation and evaluate whether it is sufficient, it is important

to compare the number of helicopters with the local population.“The average ratio in Europe is about 1.5 helicopters per million people, in the case of a country with an EMS system that can be described as mature,” says Setz.“In Germany, which has the largest population in Europe (82.79 million people in 2018), there are about 120 machines. France, which has a population of 66.89 million, is equipped with 90 helicopters, including those operated by the Sécurité Civile civil defence organisation. Italy, with its 60.48 million inhabitants, has 60 EMS machines. Only Spain, with a population of 46.66 million people, has a slightly smaller EMS fleet. Countries such as Germany, France and Italy are well equipped, with enough dedicated helipads.This allows EMS helicopters, given their geographical location, to intervene quickly in each region, in 15 or 20 minutes per machine.” AUSTRIA BEST-EQUIPPED.

But other European nations are even better equipped, such as Austria, the best-equipped nation in Europe; Switzerland; and Norway. For the first two, this is due to the mountainous terrain in those countries and the number of tourists and/or enthusiasts wanting to ski or climb. “This explains the ratio of 5.8 EMS machines per million people in Austria,” comments Setz. “The helicopter is still the best way to evacuate an injured person, whether the injury is light or serious, in a minimum of time and with few physical constraints for the patient, as opposed to an ambulance travelling by road. Also, the Austrian Tyrol is not fully accessible by car.” In Switzerland, the helicopter ratio is 3.4 per million people. Norway has 5.7 helicopters per million people. “This is mainly due to the large number of fjords and islands, which are much more quickly accessible by air than by land and/or sea,” continues Setz. ■ Antony Angrand and Alexandre Rocchi


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Since 1997, the citizenS of Belgium have Benefitted from highly efficient emergency medical ServiceS (emS)

The EC145 is tailored for emergency medical missions.



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ra-sur-Lienne, in the middle of the Belgian Ardennes region — more specifically in the centre of the red zone located on the border of the provinces of Liège, Namur and Luxembourg.The red zone refers to an area where a patient may have to wait more than 15 minutes before the arrival of emergency medical assistance by road. It is also the home of a rural population relatively far removed from the hospital platforms specialised in the care of critically injured patients. It is the largest red demographic area in Belgium, and back in 1986, Dr. Luc Maquoi had been taking risks for years on small roads where driving conditions are difficult for a good part of the year. In spite of all the doctor's efforts, sometimes the elements were stronger. It was then that he set up an emergency medical response unit, first by road, then the idea of a helicopter emerged. Too expensive? Not really... The doctor at first, and subsequently the Red Zone community, launched a campaign, raised funds and, in 1997, the helicopter took off from the Brasur-Lienne heliport. Today, 22 years later, the Helicopter Medical Centre (HMC) still exists and remains faithful to its original philosophy: for patients in life-threatening situations, everything must be provided in terms of technical and human resources. Priorities are to focus on the patient, provide the best service and the appropriate tools, in the sole interest of making his life better or surviving with the least possible after-effects... Financial support for the HMC is unusual insofar as it still does not receive public funding. The approximately €4m in annual funds are provided by membership cards (46%) (members are entitled to free medical as-



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sistance), individual donations from individuals, associations or companies (11%), one-off public support (5%, to be distributed between two provinces and about thirty rural municipalities), intervention charges (28%) and medical services (10%).This covers 54% of the helicopter leasing costs (aircraft, replacement aircraft, maintenance, pilots, fuel, insurance), 12.6% of round-the-clock medical staff costs, 6.8% of roundthe-clock nursing staff costs, 4.6% of investment depreciation and 23% of operating costs. ROUND THE CLOCK.

Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, five pilots, 12 doctors and 11 nurses in turn provide assistance to the Belgian population, with support from three employees, a mechanic and seven volunteers.An emergency number (112) is used to alert the helicopter, based on a regulatory manual and software that evaluates, in real time, the response time by road or helicopter. The call leads to takeoff in two to three minutes during the day, a few minutes more at night. In about ten minutes, the helicopter will be on site and, ten minutes later, at the nearest hospital.“Every minute counts, and everything is optimised to save time,” remarks François Grinberg, a pilot based at Bra-sur-Lienne for the past four years. As soon as the call comes in, the pilot climbs on board the helicopter and starts the engines. The doctor and nurse arrive 30 seconds later. It is the latter who assists the pilot, gives directions and enters the GPS coordinates.The nurse also manages communications, activates the landing pad lights and provides visual assistance for landing.The nurse thus plays a real key role and is ultimately in charge of security and mission coordination.


Having reached the destination, the pilot must locate a landing zone, which is not always easy in a rural setting.“We have very little time to make our choice,” says Jean-Louis Godeau, who has been a pilot since the HMC was launched (more than 5,000 flight hours). “We have to identify the area closest to the victim's location, while preserving the integrity of the helicopter and avoiding damage to the surrounding area. Normally, we operate from areas measuring 30m by 30m, sometimes less.” In 85% of cases, the helicopter lands within 100m of the patient.“The terrain can be rough,” continues Grinberg. “Sometimes we land to allow medical personnel to disembark and then regain altitude until the patient is stabilised.” FOOTBALL PITCHES.

At night, the HMC mostly operates from specially equipped football pitches. About 100 pitches distributed across the entire zone, have been specially equipped with remotely activated lighting.This automatic system is patented and unique in Europe. “All you have to do is make a call from a specially programmed mobile phone and the lighting comes on for 60 minutes, which is largely enough for most of our interventions,” explains Grinberg.“If it takes longer than expected, we can activate it again, in the same way.” At the other end of the emergency chain, the HMC helicopter can use heliports at about 10 hospitals in Aachen (Germany),Arlon, Brussels (two hospitals), Liège (three hospitals), Marche-en-Famenne, Mont-Godinne, Montigniessur-Sambre and Namur. This fine-tuned organisation is made possible by an aircraft that HMC pilots and doctors describe as simply exceptional. Following mixed results with a

Sikorsky S76 (too heavy and too expensive) and then a Dauphin (still too expensive and poorly suited to extra-hospital medical requirements), since 2005 the HMC has been operating an EC145 tailored to the mission. The aircraft is leased from a specialised operator, and it was chosen by the HMC team on the basis of its experience of operating in rural areas. “From a medical point of view, this platform is ideal,” declares Grinberg. “It allows us to provide full care for two patients (about 50 missions per year), which boosts capacity. Boarding through the rear door is also an advantage, especially for tall patients.” EVERY MINUTE COUNTS.

In terms of performance, the helicopter has also lived up to expectations. The EC145 is very reliable, and availability is remarkable.While its predecessor had experienced 17 AOGs (Aircraft On Ground) in 2017 due to technical problems, the new EC145 following two years in operation did not suffer a single non-availability incident in 2018. The speed of the aircraft is adequate, at 230km/h during a mission, with a peak speed of 240km/h.“But this is not a decisive factor for us,” explains Grinberg,“because our missions are very short, on average 30 minutes.What is important, however, is the time it takes to start and shut down the helicopter.There is no warm-up time for the turbines, and fibre optic gyroscopes are ready in less than three seconds. In addition, personnel can exit the helicopter while the engines are still running, and complete shut-down at the hospital prior to disembarking the patient, takes only 30 seconds. From a technical viewpoint, this kind of detail, which not all helicopters offer, can save lives.”The medical team will add that the way the


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The EC145 is ready for take-off in less than three minutes.

helicopter is used can also make a difference. For more than 10 years, the team has been working on specific patient care procedures adapted to helicopter operations. NIGHT AND DAY.

The twin-engine EC145 is subject to few operating restrictions, even in urban areas. At most, in the event of elevated temperatures, there is a slight limitation on fuel load in the event of a hypothetical landing on one engine. "But in any case, the autonomy is still quite close to two and a half hours, which allows us to carry out three missions before refuelling at base," explains Grinberg.Two other advantages: excellent visibility for the pilot, essential for visual flights by day and by night, and the use of skids instead of wheels.“Nothing like skids for landing in fields after rain and snow," adds Grinberg.The EC145 also allows great flexibility in medical configurations and the addition of specific equipment.



The leasing contract with NHV also provides for maintenance by the operator, as well as the provision of an identical replacement machine if necessary. The in-house mechanic carries out a daily inspection to check fluid levels, look for cracks... Every 80 flight hours, there is scheduled on-site maintenance requiring the aircraft to be immobilised overnight in the HMC hangar. However, a procedure has been established for work sequences allowing the helicopter to be used if necessary. Finally, every 250 flight hours (about twice a year), the aircraft undergoes a six-week maintenance check at the operator's base in Ostend. During this period, it is replaced by a machine with identical equipment. Pilot training (minimum 1,000 hours of experience required as captain) is also the responsibility of the operator who, in addition to an annual flight under the super-

vision of an instructor, organises two simulator sessions each year in Bonn. “The goal is to place us in situations that we almost never encounter,” explains Grinberg. “For example, being surprised by clouds. In such a case, we move to a safe altitude and fly to Liège airport on instruments. It almost never happens, but we have to train for it.”The nurse, who must have at least five years' experience in intensive care and emergency care, is also trained by the operator for the specific requirements of helicopter operations. As for doctors, they do not benefit from specific training in aeronautical conditions but are required to satisfy very strict conditions in terms of medical experience: holding a management position in a hospital in a specialist area related to emergencies. Pilots are relieved every 12 hours and medical personnel, every 24 hours. The HMC EC145 flew 1,318 missions in 2018 and is expected


to reach 1,400 missions in 2019, three-quarters of which during the day one-quarter at night.The total has increased in recent years due to the increased availability of the aircraft and the increase in the number of victims, due to the fact that the region is popular for tourism and sports. It is also interesting to note the strong seasonality of the HMC's operations. While an average of four interventions per day remains the norm, this number can rise to 12 in summer and drop to just one or two in winter. Winters were also milder in 2018 and 2019, which reduced the number of days the EC145 could not fly due to weather conditions. Over the 22 years of its existence, the centre has generated many memories. “We remember almost all the missions,” observes Olivier Lambert, the centre's communications manager.“What has always struck me is the human side, which we see when the helicopter arrives on the scene. People talk a little

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The operator, NHV heostend-based noordzee helicopter vlanderen (nhv) is the operator with which hmc has signed a 10-year leasing contract for the ec145, its back-up and all associated services. nhv is an operator specialising in BtoB helicopter services, both offshore and onshore. its primary market is support for the oil and gas industry. nhv is the only operator active in all north Sea producer countries. the company also has a significant activity in West africa. the activity in hemS (helicopter emergency & medical Service) is still modest, with three tenders won in arras, lille and Bra-sur-

hv, an airbus customer, was even the launch customer for the h175 in 2014. the latter machine remains to this day the flagship of the nhv fleet of some 60 aircraft, from the aS350 to the h175, including various leonardo models and the md 902.



lienne. “We chose nhv because it is a true partner that has gone further than just supplying the helicopter,” explains olivier lambert. “the company has always shown understanding for hmc's medical project, its social philosophy and above all the team's medical needs.”

in Bra-sur-Lienne, Belgium


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bit about us as heroes from the sky and our teams are really appreciated. On our side, we consider patients as family members. And it is also the only helicopter that operates this type of mission in Belgium, which gives our missions a slightly exceptional dimension.”The HMC has also been involved in some major national disasters, sometimes far from its base, such as the explosion of a gas pipeline in Ghislenghien, which killed many people and where the centre's helicopter flew alongside the Sea Kings deployed by the Belgian Air Force. “We are all passionate,” concludes Grinberg.“We are of course all volunteers and there is a long list of candidates to join our unit. It is rewarding to save people and the atmosphere within the team is excellent.This is essential because we spend a lot of time together, in the apartment we share during our on-call pe■ Benoît Gilson riods.”


Patient care is the top priority for François Grinberg, JeanLouis Godeau, Nicolas Farcy and all their colleagues.


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Patrick Molis, Chairman and CEO of Héli-Union. C.COSMAO



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• What is your current perception of the offshore market, since the beginning of the crisis in 2014? The crisis has now been going on for five years, which is a relatively long period, and the players in this sector feel that it is not over yet. Consolidation has not yet taken place in the sense that the vast majority of operators, such as Bristow, CHC, Babcock, are experiencing significant difficulties.They have too many machines and a level of debt such that revenues do not cover repayments. Meanwhile, the oil and gas companies continue to exert extremely strong pressure on costs, which of course concerns the helicopter, but also all operators in the offshore sector, such as suppliers of ships, transportation, drilling platforms... The pressure on prices and margins is very strong.

cession, thanks to the disappearance of nearly 130 machines in the offshore sector. • Have the super-medium helicopters managed to take the place of heavy machines like the H225 and s-92? The super-medium models are coming onto the market at a time when demand is low; there is not much of a requirement at the moment.The oil and gas companies have drastically reduced the use of helicopters on platforms. The cost of using a helicopter is not negligible. By using alternative transportation solutions, the oil and gas companies have saved money. Other measures have also been taken. Staff on the platforms have been reduced by about 30%, which means that fewer people have to be transported. The technicians are also spending longer periods on site, i.e. twice as much in most cases, with duty periods on platforms extended from two weeks to one month.This also reduces personnel transportation needs by one-third to 50%. Finally — and this is quite frequent — where possible, fast boats are replacing helicopters, including for long-distance transport.

• How would you describe the current situation of the major offshore operators? The major operators all had an extremely large fleets and high levels of investment, financed to a large extent by debt.As a result, now that revenues have failed to pick up after a number of years, they find themselves in a difficult situation and cannot meet their obligations to their creditors. Hence Bristow filing for Chapter 11, with a major capital injection to come. Babcock has other activities beyond offshore oil and gas.There is also talk of possible mergers, but that does not address the issue of market overcapacity. There are too many helicopters available that are not under contract and are a heavy burden.We are not at the end of the crisis.The price of Brent remains fairly low, but has been stable for two years now. It is around $60, ranging from $55 to $70. No one sees the price per barrel rising or falling significantly in the short and medium term, unless there is a major geopolitical event such as the attack on Saudi oil installations, Pressure from the oil and gas companies on prices and margins remains significant.There are too many helicopters and too many operators on the market.This makes it a difficult situation.


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• What is the situation of the H225 in this segment? The H225 has disappeared from the offshore market. It was a victim of loss of confidence following the accident in Norway in 2016, and the oil and gas companies no longer want it.This has enabled the Sikorsky S-92 to maintain its positions in a market in re-

• Do you see any scenario for a recovery in personnel transpor-

tation to offshore platforms? The foundations of the offshore sector are based on working and living conditions on the platforms. As long as the market does not require additional staff and they are not able to claim more favourable conditions, the market will be difficult for the transportation of passengers by helicopter to the platforms. Though it will still take time before the situation improves, the market will recover with investments. We are currently seeing a resumption of exploration and drilling activities. These are short-term contracts, but subsequently linked to production. • How has Héli-Union managed to avoid the consequences of the crisis? We have some advantages that give us greater mobility and reactivity in adapting our costs. We do not have structural costs comparable to those of CHC or Bristow. We are mainly financed by equity, with a very low debt ratio. Our number of helicopters is not significant in the sense that few of our machines are not under contract today. Finally, our maintenance activity, particularly for the armed forces, is important. ■ Interview by Antony Angrand

Following the H225’s exit from this market segment, other helicopters, such as the Sikorsky S-92, have stepped in to fill the vacancy.


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On the mOrning Of Sunday, 20th OctOber, after taking Off frOm new yOrk, the auStralian carrier landed in Sydney after a recOrd-Setting 19 hOurS and 16 minuteS Of nOn-StOp flight.

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he figures are enough to make one’s head spin and leave claustrophobes panic-stricken: on 20th October, Qantas completed the first ultra longrange research flight between New York and

Sydney. Experimental flight QF7879 covered the 15,996.5km between the two cities in exactly 19 hours and 16 minutes. "It needs to be specified that the longest flight ever made by an international airline was not a routine commercial flight. It was a research flight under the “Sunrise” project — Qantas plans to start direct

commercial flights between the east coast of Australia (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne) and London and New York. Altogether, three brand-new Boeing 787-9 delivery flights will be re-routed to follow two Sunrise project routes instead of flying empty between Seattle and Australia. In addition to the first flight that has just


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taken place, two others will be made in November and December. The clear objective is to better compete with Gulf airlines serving the Pacific region through their respective hubs. The New York-Sydney and London-Sydney flights are being operated under special conditions. Each flight will accommodate a maximum of 40 people (plus a crew of 10, including the pilots) in order to minimize the weight of the aircraft and ensure the necessary fuel autonomy.The weight of the aircraft is thus reduced to 233 tonnes, with 101 tonnes of fuel. CO2 emissions are fully offset. SPICY FOOD.

The passengers — mainly Qantas employees — who are all able to travel in business class seats for the occasion, will be fitted with wearable technology devices for all three flights and take part in specific experiments throughout the approximately 19-hour trip. Scientists and medical experts at the Charles Perkins Centre (with whom Qantas has signed a partnership agreement) monitor sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption, lighting, body movements and inflight entertainment to assess the impact on health, well-being and the body clock. “It's all an experiment to see if airlines can adjust their schedule of food, beverages, exercise and lighting to be in sync with the destination time,” says Professor Marie Carroll from the University of Sydney.The entire New York-Sydney flight was performed according to the time zone of destination so that the jet lag is easier to absorb. The first meal was served and prepared with food to keep passengers awake as long as possible (e.g. using spices), while the second meal was served in dimmed lighting to help them fall asleep.


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Researchers from Melbournebased Monash University are working with the pilots to record levels of melatonin (the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle) before, during and after flights.The pilots wear an EEG (electroencephalogram) device that analyses brain wave rhythms and monitors alertness to gather data that can be used to optimise activity and rest cycles during long-haul flights. For the time being, the longest commercial airline flight is still Singapore-Newark, launched on 11th October 2018, which the A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range) completed in 17h 52m on the inaugural flight, covering a distance of more than 9,000 nautical miles (about 16,700km), compared with the theoretical flight time of 18h 25m outward and 18h 45m return. It should be noted that the actual duration of the flight can vary according to many parameters (wind direction, aircraft weight, weather conditions, etc.). In addition, the flight time may also vary depending on the route chosen by the pilots. The very "dedensified" configuration of SIA's A350-900 ULR (161 seats, with 67 seats in business class and 94 in Premium Economy class) gives passengers more space for this very specific type of flight, as well as saving weight, and therefore fuel consumption. It should also be noted that Qantas' goal is to offer a direct service between Sydney and London and New York (which would then be the longest commercial flight in the world at more than 9,200 nautical miles, a distance of nearly 16,000km, but which, depending on routes and winds, would have flight times of 19 hours or even 20 hours). On


flights of such duration, there are both technical problems and problems related to the impact on the health and fatigue of pilots and passengers. Indeed, Qantas is relying on a certain flexibility from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (Casa), since, in Australia, the duty time limit (on the ground + in flight) is currently 20 hours. With flights like Sydney-London, the duration would be more like 23 hours. It could therefore be necessary to have a double crew. Concerning the impact on passengers and their expectations in terms of comfort on board this type of flight, Qantas has already done a lot of ground work using feedback from the Perth-London route, which the Australian airline believes is already a success. Qantas announced that in the first year of this service, it carried 155,000 passengers, with average load factors of 94%. Qantas also noted that the total number of passengers travelling between Australia and London, via Perth, had increased by 30%, including a 7% increase in British traffic to the Australian city. BOEING VS AIRBUS.

Qantas has also conducted passenger surveys to find out what travellers’ specific expectations are for very long-haul flights. Priority expectations include an area for stretching, improving circulation or resting; access to noise-cancelling Wi-Fi headsets; a cabin interior design alternating between conventional seating areas and zones designed for comfort, sleeping, eating and inflight entertainment, such as an inflight café where passengers can enjoy alcoholic beverages but also a wide variety of fruit juices or herbal teas. Qantas has already set up stretching and yoga sessions in the

Perth transit room, along with access to outdoor areas for exposure to natural light, menus specially adapted to the time of day, and lighting adapted to time zones to improve sleep or wakefulness. As part of Project Sunrise, Qantas has asked Airbus and Boeing for proposals for ultra long-haul aircraft that can operate over such long distances. Airbus says it can already fly, or even exceed 20 hours, but is working on a ULR version of its A350-1000, similar to the ULR version proposed for the A350-900. However, we have seen that the fuel consumption and weight of the aircraft can have a significant impact on performance and range. The A350-900 ULR has a fuel capacity of 165,000 litres, 24,000 litres more than a conventional version. In theory, it would be possible to “beef up” the A3501000, but it is already nearly 40 tonnes heavier than its smaller sister, the A350-900, even in the ULR version. Boeing, meanwhile, has made it clear that it is developing a Dash 8 version of the Boeing 777 to meet the requirements of Project Sunrise. But here too, the American manufacturer will have to solve the very difficult equation of the weight/fuel load ratio, knowing that the 777 is even heavier than the A350-1000, at over 351 tonnes. Another problem for Boeing — perhaps a more urgent one — is the next step in the long process of getting the Boeing 737 MAX back in the air...This may place Airbus in a slightly more favourable position. In any case, Qantas should make its decision in the near future.The Australian carrier has indicated that it will announce its selection by the end of 2019. ■ Jean-Baptiste Heguy


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INDUSTRY Industry 4.0

AIrbus nAntes plAys InnovAtIon


The Airbus fAciliTy in nAnTes relies heAvily on innovATion DAy To shAre This culTure Across All The compAny's operATions. There Are mAny posiTive resulTs, which cAn be reproDuceD AT The group's oTher plAnTs.

t 52

he fourth Innovation Day, held at the Airbus plant in Nantes on 10th October 2019, confirmed the importance of this event for the facility.The Nantes site, like its counterpart in Saint-Nazaire, has laun-

ched a real innovation drive as it moves towards Industry 4.0 based on strong internal cooperation across the entire workforce and including close interaction with local entities.The Pays de la Loire region has many assets to encourage innovation: the Jules Verne Institute of Technological Research, the EMC2 competitiveness clus-

ter,Technocampus, academic laboratories, start-up incubators, etc. INNOVATIONS ON SHOW.

More than 1,000 employees from the Nantes plant and Airbus partner companies took part in this new Innovation Day. Multiple stands had been set up in the former


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INDUSTRY François paynot, Head of the Airbus Nantes production facility A380 centre wing box assembly building, where attendees could discover the latest innovations — concerning both technology and working conditions — already implemented or planned at the facility. KITTY BUMPER.

A good example of the teams' ability to mobilise around a given issue was the Kitty Bumper project. The aim was to solve problems affecting engine air inlets. As the fasteners using during the manufacturing process constituted a risk of injury to personnel and could result in non-compliance in the event of an impact, two operators working in this production unit invented a solution based on an inflatable bumper. Several prototypes were made and then tested until a solution was obtained that met all requirements. This innovative product was then put into production by a local company (BHD Industries) which was already an Airbus partner. Kitty Bumper, which is the subject of a patent application, could now be deployed in other production units at the Nantes site, such as the radome unit or possibly in other plants of the group. Another innovation developed by employees at the factory is the AC2F project for automated machining of A320 centre wing box parts.The machining process is tailored to reduce fitting times and boost the production capacity of the two pulse lines.To do this, the wing box is scanned in 3D at the preassembly stage. The exact dimensions are then transmitted in real time to CNC machines that automatically integrate the data into their programme.The parts are thus machined as close as possible to the actual dimensions of the wing box. There are multiple benefits: assembly time cut in half, less handling of parts and reductions in scrap, aluminium dust and noise.


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“The goal is to demystify innovation“ How do you encourage innovation in your factory? ghe first answer is undoubtedly the innovation Day, which is organised once a year. our goal, with this event, is to demystify innovation by showing what has been achieved. but not only that, since it is also a question of giving the personnel the keys to enable them to implement their own innovation proposals. in addition to this initiative, we have set up fab labs in each of the production units. These workshops, established for production personnel, allow them to develop, for example, a particular tool. These innovations are fast because they are developed directly on site by project participants using 3D printers. There is also a system called "i'Déclic". volunteers register to propose and implement improvements on production lines. They receive a bonus following operational implementation of their idea.

Are you able to find the necessary innovation resources within the loire region? we are fortunate to have a real dynamic in this region based on collaborative innovation. This is the very nature of the emc2 cluster in which Airbus plays an important role. in addition to this structure, there is the Jules verne technological research institute, where ideas can be transformed into concrete form, ready for


All these innovations, including the introduction of cobots planned for 2020,are part of a much broader process in which the Nantes site (as well as the Saint-Nazaire site) has a major role to play. “These two facilities are seen by the group as fertile ground for experimentation and collaboration.The Innovation Day is a manifestation of this.Tomorrow's products, and the industrial system that produces them, will not be possible without cooperation inside and outside the factories,”explains Hervé Riou, Airbus Nantes-St Nazaire research


implementation by companies. we can also count on real support from the government and local authorities (pays de la loire region, nantes métropole, etc.). we also have a multitude of academic institutes in the region — nantes university, the ecole centrale de nantes and imT Atlantique engineering schools, the nantes campus of icam, iuT de nantes technology institute… — some of which host start-up incubators. in short, we benefit from an extremely comprehensive system that contributes to the overall dynamics of the region. it is these structures, along with our local subcontractors, such as Daher, coriolis and loireTech, that will help us to achieve the next technological breakthroughs.

What links do you have with start-ups to promote innovation? links with start-ups are mainly through local incubators with which we have partnerships. but they also exist through the Airbus Development structure. This provides financial support to around 20 start-ups per year which, in addition to the pure innovation they can bring, will also be involved in the area of corporate social responsibility (csr). for example, we are providing support for the nantes-based company e-cobot — which recently won an award — in the field of object displacement. Through these partnerships, we will seek technological breakthroughs, for example in mate-

& technology coordinator. “For us, this future industrial system is the product of transformation in several areas, including new modes of cooperation and digital transformation, for example,” he adds. These areas of transformation can be summarised as follows: new manufacturing technologies such as additive manufacturing, already being deployed in Nantes; digital transformation with, for example, artificial intelligence; new modes of cooperation (between people, man-machine, data sharing and remote collaboration); and sustainability.The latter

includes, in particular, the ecological footprint and the ability to attract talent. Despite the progress already made, "improvements still need to be introduced so that the Airbus group can implement a dual operating system: one side hierarchical, relying on a few major partners and designed to deliver; the other side designed to transform, based on networks and supported by ecosystems.The two sides are not at all in opposition; they are like the palms of two hands engaged in a handshake," Riou concludes. ■ Olivier Constant





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