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AIR&COSMOS

aircosmosinternational.com N° 9 - 11TH October 2019

SPECIAL ISSUE

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

l MRO 46-page special section

l DEFENCE: FCAS starting to take shape

l SPACE: first half launch roundup


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CONTENTS AIR&COSMOS SPECIAL PREVIEW

MRO SPECIAL ISSUE: Digital platforms: interconnection the key .....................................................................................................................................................................................4 Interview: Philippe Rochet, CEO Sabena technics ...............................................................................................................................................................10 Exclusive: special contracts data section (first nine months 2019) ..............................................................................................................14 Composite MRO: AFI-KLM E&M keeping up to speed ......................................................................................................................................................................................................18 A heating blanket for GE90 repair work .........................................................................................................................................................................................22 Additive manufacturing: Marshall cuts cost with stratasys FDM .....................................................................................................................23 Aircraft UAV MRO: Airbus innovates with drones, AI ............................................................................................................................................................................................................24 Dassault Aviation developping airscan solution ...................................................................................................................................................................26 SMEs & Mid-Caps: Revima shifts into high gear........................................................................................................................................................................................................................28 Recaero back from the brink.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................30 JCB Aero looking to expand..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................31 Adhetec sharpens international focus .............................................................................................................................................................................................32 Airplane Delivery aims to double maintenance capacity............................................................................................................................................33 Aerotech Pro redefines MRO business model ..........................................................................................................................................................................34 MRO goes digital with AIRIN’T SERVICES.......................................................................................................................................................................................35 Vallair looks for lift from A321...................................................................................................................................................................................................................36 Ateliers Bigata steers steady course to growth ...................................................................................................................................................................38 New Equip’Aero ceo aims high ................................................................................................................................................................................................................39 Antavia looks to synergy for growth .................................................................................................................................................................................................40 Aerotech Concept looking for new recruits ..............................................................................................................................................................................41 Aeroform focuses on composite repair .........................................................................................................................................................................................42 Addev Materials focuses on aviation ...............................................................................................................................................................................................43 Record growth for Air Support .................................................................................................................................................................................................................44 Jobs & Recruitment: MRO sector no longer the poor man of tha aviation industry

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Defence: FCAS starting to take shape ....................................................................................................................................................................................51 Space: China, US lead the charge in first half .................................................................................................................................................................54 Acceleration in july

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...................................................................................................................................................................................Articles translated from French by James Alba

AIR&COSMOS

N° 9

Art Director and design: Mourad Cherfi Production: Frédéric Bergerat Coordination : Yann Cochennec Editors: Antony Angrand, Justine Boquet,Yann Cochennec, Emmanuel Huberdeau, Jean-Baptiste Heguy, Pierre-François Mouriaux Correspondants: Jean Berthelot, Olivier Constant, Liliane Fanello, Stéphane Frachet, Jean Guilhem, Jean-Philippe Laurent, Alexandre Léoty. Sales & Advertising: Cyril Mikaïloff (cmikailoff@air-cosmos.com) Business development: Henry de Freycinet Publishing director: Hubert de Caslou

Cover photo: MRO (ROLLS-ROYCE) SOCIÉTÉ DES ÉDITIONS AIR & COSMOS (SAS)

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

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© 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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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE

DIGITAL PLATFORMS: INTERCONNECTION THE KEY

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ENGINE MANUFACTURERS, AIRFRAMERS, MAJOR MRO PLAYERS SUCH AS AFI KLM E&M OR LUFTHANSA TECHNIK — EVERY COMPANY HAS ITS OWN DIGITAL TOOL FOR PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE. THE RESULT COULD BE A PATCHWORK OF SOLUTIONS, CREATING A SITUATION THAT IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT IS INTENDED. UNLESS THESE DIFFERENT SOLUTIONS ARE TECHNICALLY CAPABLE OF COMMUNICATING WITH EACH OTHER. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT COULD BE ACHIEVED IN THE LONGER TERM.

kywise,Airbus' digital platform, has just made its entry into the flight hour services (FHS) sector.The new service, called FHS powered by Skywise,“integrates the potential of Skywise as a digital platform with Airbus' know-how in flight hour services. Simply put, the best of digital and the best of maintenance, logistics and spares management,” declares Rémi Maillard, senior vice president Airbus Services. The objective, therefore, is to “de-compartmentalise” in order to offer better services to the operators. “Different environments have been created in recent years to meet specific needs related to maintenance, training, flight operations or aircraft refurbishment. These environments generally work well but

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they are rarely or insufficiently connected to each other. Skywise not only optimises each of these capabilities individually, but also integrates them to offer new opportunities for our customers,” Maillard continues. He adds:“An airline opting for FHS powered by Skywise will have total transparency on all its operations and will have access to an extremely powerful decision-making tool. Any decision on an aircraft in its fleet (continue operations, leave the aircraft on the ground, schedule a maintenance task) will be made on the basis of in-depth predictive analyses combining historical data, statistical studies and physical data, based on the availability of parts and all the required resources (mechanics, tools, hangars, etc.) and the quantified impact of this decision on all operations (passengers, crew, maintenance, etc.).”

All this data is more or less available today in different environments. With FHS powered by Skywise, it will be immediately accessible and collected in the same environments

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AIRBUS

AFI KLM E&M

11TH OCTOBER 2019

Rémi Maillard, Senior Vice-president Airbus Services

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE

“All this data is more or less available today in different environments.With FHS powered by Skywise, it will be immediately accessible and collected in the same environment, which will generate a substantial gain in fleet operational performance, maintenance costs and internal efficiency for the airline. We are seeing aircraft utilisation improvements of around 5% among customers who have deployed the first elements of FHS powered by Skywise, which is significant in an environment as competitive as that of the airlines,” Maillard concludes.

As the engine OEM, we have the unique knowledge and technical capabilities to provide insight on engines to help operators optimise their performance and that is our top focus

While Airbus Services is gradually expanding its digital MRO offering with Skywise, engine manufacturers such as Pratt & Whitney continue to improve their predictive maintenance tools. Launched in 2017, EngineWise, Pratt & Whitney's digital platform, is being enhanced through the development of new algorithms based on operator feedback. “Our customers continue to be focused on quality, speed of service, value and flexibility and therefore, these remain our top priorities as well. The past two years have been all about building our portfolio of services and advancing our digital and analytics capabilities to better serve our customers so they can optimise engine performance and keep their operations running smoothly,” says Eva Azoulay, vice president Commercial Aftermarket at Pratt & Whitney. “We continue to do so with revolutionary products that have the capability to generate exponential levels of data. Leveraging our strong engineering expertise we are also advancing through the development of algorithms that are allowing us to pro-actively identify shifts in trends and performance on our engine.What this means is that over the last three years we have been able to triple the number of alerts that led to the prevention of unscheduled events minimising fleet disruptions,” she adds. “We have also certified our eFAST box to allow our existing V2500-powered aircraft to benefit from full flight data. When we think of the return on our investment as it relates to digital solutions we see it more broadly, it is allowing us to: first, continue to evolve the capabilities of our engines; second, drive speed to root

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PRATT & WHITNEY

NEW ALGORITHMS FOR ENGINEWISE.

cause; third, allow our employees to serve our customers more effectively and efficiently; finally enable our customers to focus on their operation and drive cost reduction and avoidance on our maintenance programmes,” Azoulay concludes. The story is the same at AFI KLM E&M, whose Prognos solution was launched five years ago as part of the MRO Lab. Initially set up for systems affecting the A380, in particular landing gear and fuel system, the scope of Prognos has since been extended to other systems and aircraft. And research and development continues “while also working with our airline customers to which we offer our experience.This is the case with AirAsia, which is using Prognos for all the group's fleets,” says AFI KLM E&M. Each company has its own digital solution. There remains the question of “cohabitation” between them and their future ability to communicate with each other —Prognos and Skywise, Skywise and EngineWise, EngineWise and Prognos...“The next step will be to integrate the engines into our eco-system in order to develop even more advanced algorithms and offer even better service for our customers.We are working on it,” remarks Rémi Maillard.

Eva Azoulay Vice president Commercial Aftermarket Pratt & Whitney

INTEROPERABILITY ACROSS ALL PLATFORMS.

“Ideally, we should have interoperability across all platforms to allow more flexibility for the airlines, which are the primary beneficiaries,” says DavidVazquez, programme manager Big Data & Predictive Maintenance at AFI KLM E&M. For him, “it's obvious” that Prognos and Skywise can “communicate with each other.”“On the one hand, this avoids a monopoly situation and above all it gives airlines the freedom to use their data as they see fit.” Vazquez continues:“Because that is the key, the data belongs to the operators and they must be able to use it without constraints due to technical reasons or communication problems between platforms.” For Eva Azoulay, meanwhile:“There are two elements to consider, the means by which we collect and transmit the data and the service offering of how that data is utilised to provide valuable insight to customers in support of their operation. There are various platforms available that facilitate the capture and transmission of data and we continue to work with different entities in order to provide the flexibility to our customers to do so.” She goes on:“At the same time Pratt & Whitney is uniquely positioned to provide

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N° 9

11TH OCTOBER 2019


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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE

reliable engine performance, predictable maintenance planning and responsive support through our EngineWise services.As the engine OEM, we have the unique knowledge and technical capabilities to provide insight on engines to help operators optimise their performance and that is our top focus.”

Tools like Prognos provide concrete answers right now. But we are also thinking about tomorrow

AFI KLM E&M

She has the same thinking concerning possible dialogue between EngineWise and a platform like Prognos: “We work with each of our operators to understand current capabilities to collect and transmit engine data, where such capability exist we focus on providing engine specific services to the operators. Alternatively, we are able to offer our eFAST solution on certain platforms to facilitate the capture and transmission of data. Each airline may develop their own predictive solutions and many are certainly evolving their capabilities, however Pratt & Whitney as mentioned above is uniquely able to bring together the product knowledge, technical expertise and fleet-wide data and experience, in the

development of our predictive maintenance solutions.” Could the lack of dialogue between the different digital platforms lead to commercial tensions? “We recognize the value of the digital or physical capabilities being de-

Because that is the key, the data belongs to the operators and they must be able to use it without constraints due to technical reasons or communication problems between platforms

AFI KLM E&M

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David Vazquez Programme manager Big Data & Predictive Maintenance AFI KLM E&M

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DIALOGUE.

Rodolphe Parisot Vice president Digital & Innovation AFI KLM E&M

veloped by other industry players and are studying various partnerships with airlines, component suppliers and MRO providers to develop solutions that offer greater value for our customers.As with aircraft, we are positioning ourselves as an integrator of different physical and digital capabilities using Skywise as a vehicle for integration,” Rémi Maillard observes. WHAT DATA MANAGEMENT POLICY.

“It will depend on the data management policy of the parties concerned,” comments Luc Signargout, general manager of Airbus Programmes commercial avionics at Collins Aerospace, a company whose Fomax onboard data-capture/transmission module has been selected by Airbus to equip all A320neos and A330s in production. Fomax adds capacity to the Skywise platform by transmitting more data than previous systems — 24,000 parameters per flight, compared with 400 previously. For Rodolphe Parisot,Vice President Digital & Innovation at AFI KLM E&M, “commercial tensions,”“if there are any,” will be “based on the added value provided by the platforms for the benefit of customers, i.e. the airlines, in particular.Tensions could indeed arise at the same time as more collaborative approaches, for example by establishing interoperability between platforms. All this is possible or even probable.” Parisot cautions: “On the other hand, any other notion aiming to erect barriers

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE

to entry with a view to securing a dominant position on this segment would be of a different nature and would probably produce a very strong reaction from the airlines. That would be a pity and certainly a failure. And it would also mean that the B2B community had been unable to learn from the excesses observed by certain platforms in the B2C sector.” TOO EARLY TO SAY.

“Different players bring different elements of value. Any consolidation of offers will depend on how end customers assess the value of each offer, in relation to its constraints. Data and analysis services constitute an emerging sector and it is too early to say who the winners or losers are. One thing is for sure, this sector will see a lot of innovation in the coming years,” Luc Signargout predicts. The various digital platforms will therefore continue to evolve in the coming years. “I am convinced that the offer of Services as well as the quality of Support

will become more and more important arguments in the sale of aircraft. Extrapolating from that, aircraft and services will soon become one, and the aircraft manufacturer will offer commitments covering the entire life cycle of the aircraft,” says Rémi Maillard. Eva Azoulay’s view of the future: “It is one that is fully interconnected across the digital thread of a product from engine conception to fleet operation. That connectivity is what will drive a significant evolution from today’s more preventative capability to tomorrow’s broader predictive capability. Facilitating the capture and transmission of data is a key enabler and as mentioned previously we are focused on doing so either through our eFAST technology or other available technologies on the aircraft.” “We are also building data collections and analytics capabilities across the products life cycle, creating the digital thread – together these actions will expand our capability to proactively monitor the health

of engines on-wing and predict future maintenance visits — all while optimising costs,” Eva Azoulay concludes. ROME WAS NOT BUILD IN A DAY.

For Rodolphe Parisot:“We are at the beginning of a new era that will see the arrival of multiple digital services, an increasingly transversal and integrated use of data, with the ability to manage greater complexity, greater traceability and greater responsiveness.” Rodolphe Parisot adds:“The platforms are part of the range of resources enabling integration of actors and data: for design, manufacturing, support... However, Rome was not built in a day, and I find that we too often see messages about amazing future prospects when there are concrete and real problems to solve today.Tools like Prognos provide concrete answers right now. But we are also thinking about tomorrow...” Interview by Yann Cochennec and Jean-Baptiste Heguy.


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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE SABENA TECHNICS CEO PHILIPPE ROCHET

“We need to invest heavily in training programmes.” AIR & COSMOS INTERNATIONAL SAT DOWN WITH SABENA TECHNICS CEO PHILIPPE ROCHET TO TALK ABOUT THE COMPANY’S NEW SHAREHOLDER STRUCTURE, STRATEGIC PRIORITIES AND MAJOR TRENDS SHAPING THE MRO SECTOR TODAY.

• Sabena technics now has three new shareholders. Can you tell us more about the Sagard and TowerBrook investment funds?

Sagard manages investments for major Canadian and French families. Some of these investments are in aviation, not necessarily MRO sector, but involving products that are used in the aeronautical sector.The Anglo-American fundTowerBrook already has significant experience in aviation — they were involved in the creation of the U.S. airline JetBlue. It is true that our capital structure consists of these three new majority shareholders, Bpifrance, Sagard and TowerBrook. But it also has TAT as a minority shareholder. This demonstrates the confidence of TAT, of the Marchais family, in Sabena technics' business model and its future. • What is the contribution of these new shareholders?

SABENA TECHNICS

They bring their endorsement of, and confidence in, Sabena technics' track record in recent years and its development strategy for the years to come. Above all, it signifies an endorsement of, and confidence in, our strategy. Secondly, the funds essentially provide significant financial resources to enable us to ensure this development, whether via organic growth or external growth.

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• So Sabena technics is maintaining its sales target of €600m by 2021?

This target was not set at the time of this ownership change. This is an objective that we had clearly identified long before this whole process began and that we had set ourselves as a roadmap.The primary objective is not to reach €600m in sales just to make €600m in sales.This figure reflects the position we expect to have by 2021 in both the civil and military sectors under our strategic plan.These elements convinced the new shareholders. • What are the major objectives under this strategic plan?

It is based on a market study. Our particularity is to be in both the civil and military sectors. MRO is, by definition, a proximity service. If we compare ourselves with other players in the sector in Europe, Sabena technics’ specificity is the balance between civil and military activities. With this in mind, we are constantly monitoring trends in these two sectors and have demonstrated over the past five years that we are able to achieve year-on-year growth of 5-10%. While continuing to offer our customers — and this is very important — a level of performance above all in terms of the safety necessary to carry out maintenance operations, and quality because we are in an area where there is little tolerance on this subject. This is the rule of the MRO game: our organisations and processes must guarantee all this. Finally, performance in terms of knowhow, deadlines, on-time delivery and all this at the best cost, at the right cost. So the goal is to maintain and develop this approach in the light of the trends we are seeing in the European civil and military markets.

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• One of the objectives of your strategic plan is geographical proximity with the customer. Does that apply to the civil and military sectors?

In the military field, the main concern is the proximity between the Ministry of the Armed Forces concerned and the nationality of the MRO provider. It is obvious that the business of Sabena technics, a French company, is mainly, but not exclusively, French. This applies worldwide —local actors in each country will logically have easier access to opportunities for military activities than Sabena technics.We are a European company and our market is above all European. So we mainly developing our activities in Europe, though our core business is in France. In the civil sector, our export focus is more oriented towards the East, and in particular the Middle East and Asia, rather than the West where the main players are already established and where the growth of the MRO sector is much weaker than in Europe, which is the second largest MRO market in the world. So let us take advantage of this growth and continue to develop our positions. In Asia, Sabena technics is based in Singapore where we have a joint subsidiary with Air France Industries. We hope that we will be able to develop these activities organically.There is no room for improvisation in MRO.All the main players have a history and decades of experience.You need so much know-how, industrial resources and experience to be able to be effective with regard to the normal and logical demand of our various customers. So we don’t think that it is possible to create a kind of MRO start-up, particularly in the airframe business. So we believe that growth in Asia, and particularly in the airframe segment, will mainly benefit existing players.Will there ever be opportunities to acquire

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a stake in these companies? Today, we have no ongoing discussions on this subject and we are focusing on Europe and the development of the platforms we already have, but Sabena technics does not exclude examining this type of opportunity.

these systems before the end of this year on an A330, an aircraft that we are perfectly familiar with.The client, Corsair, has accepted the idea and is very interested in the experience and in everything we can share about it when it is completed.

• Is Hangar 4.0 or Maintenance 4.0 also on the agenda?

• What is your view of the MRO sector? What technological, capitalistic changes do you see on the horizon?

We have a digitisation plan at Sabena technics. It is very ambitious. It will soon be a reality. The Bordeaux site is our test laboratory and we have decided to prioritise our airframe activities. Relations with the customer can be complicated. Monitoring a maintenance check of several thousand hours over several weeks involves very important exchanges with the customer.The customer is, himself, very involved in the maintenance check because he must provide not only the aircraft documentation but also maybe equipment, as well as making decisions on work to be done or not. This customer interface will be greatly facilitated by digitisation. Our objective will be to connect each of our technicians. Each person involved in a maintenance check will have a tablet showing what they have to do on the aircraft every day and giving access to everything they need to perform their task correctly. Access to the aircraft's technical manuals from wherever he is working and using his tablet to consult these documents without having to go to an office. But also access to everything he needs for part identification, access to a request from our logistics services for parts needed to carry out the work, access to our engineering services when he needs support to define a particular repair.This system is not just under study; programming and simulation are already under way. Our aim is to carry out an initial maintenance check using

We are quite optimistic. First of all, because the demand is there. Of course, new-generation aircraft are arriving, undeniably much less maintenance-intensive than their predecessors, but also much more numerous.Another point: the majority of our activities involve significant manpower deployments.This raises the issue of labour costs, the comparison of costs with our competitors who may be in other geographical areas, and I am thinking in particular of Asia. More than 10 years ago, our analysis showed that, for an aircraft maintenance check involving more than 7,000-8,000 man-hours, a European operator would be better off ferrying his aircraft to Asia, to take advantage of the labour cost differential, and performing the maintenance there. Today, this threshold has at least doubled. At less than 15,000 hours with a much-reduced labour cost differential, it is not certain that the cost of ferrying the aircraft would be covered. Not to mention that the ferry flight, from an environmental point of view, generates a lot of CO2. In addition, a round trip of about 20 hours is not very useful because the aircraft is empty. Maintaining aircraft close to home base or at home base is more ecologically responsible than sending them to the other side of the world. In view of these elements, we believe that, if we have the capacity, we are capable of attracting

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more and more customers.The problem is therefore that of increasing our capacity to accommodate aircraft. This requires investments, but we have the resources to carry them out. • Does the acquisition of New ESA fit in with this need for more capacity?

To be able to attract these civil and military customers, we do need capacity. New EAS has the industrial resources to accommodate the equivalent of six A320s or less but with an interesting wide-body position. But we also need the personnel. However, it is difficult to recruit experienced aviation technicians. The acquisition of New EAS is an opportunity to add 170 people to our workforce, mainly on the production side. This operation allows us to acquire concrete and significant human resources, along with the industrial resources I have mentioned. In addition, like Sabena technics, the Perpignan site works on both civil and military projects.We have not retained many customers but we have kept the contract with Air France. Within a few months, we have managed to completely reconfigure the New EAS customer profile.We are very proud to already have a first C130 from

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the French Air Force under subcontract with the SIAé's Clermont-Ferrand facility. Thanks to the Perpignan facility, we were able to offer our military customer an increase in capacity that we no longer had in the Bordeaux hangars where there are three C130s. The beginning of the year was difficult for New EAS.We now have a second half year where everything is on a firm footing. Consequently, we will be keeping a close eye on performance in the second half, which should at least achieve the level of performance expected from the Perpignan centre. We know that by restructuring the Perpignan site and offering it all of Sabena technics' existing management and support functions, we will be able to eliminate losses and make this site profitable and sustainable. Especially since it provides us with the industrial and human capacities we need to satisfy the very many requests we receive on a daily basis. • So the hangar capacity issue that you have mentioned also raises workforce issues?

Yes, the other challenge lies also in this ability to increase our workforce while constantly guaranteeing the safety, quality and performance of our services.

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This is a real challenge.We need manpower, but so do all the other companies in the sector. The people we are looking for are not available on the market and when they are available, we try to steal them from each other. This does not solve the fundamental problem. The only solution, in the medium and long term, is heavy investment in upstream training programmes.Today, apprentices represent 10% of Sabena technics' French workforce.And this has been the case for several years. As a result, each year, we have young people who obtain their diplomas, experience, qualifications and certificates to join our workforce. This is a long-term investment and, based on our forecasts, Sabena technics has been recruiting 250 to 300 people per year for some years now and this rate will be maintained for some time to come. It works.We have well-trained young people. In France and near each of our sites, we have good schools for classroom training. This proximity allows us to run an effective work-study programme because it is complicated for a young person to follow his school courses and pursue his work-study programme in a company located several hundred

kilometres away. We must take advantage of this proximity and integrate these people into our workforce with our mind-set, our values. Finally, recruit them as soon as they are ready. New recruits are now offered permanent contracts directly. That is not what most of us did even just a few years ago. At the time, we were very cautious; we didn't retain all the apprentices. We offered fixed-term contracts. Today, there are very few fixed-term contracts at Sabena technics and they are temporary.We immediately offer long-term contracts as a mark of this confidence, this proposal to embark on a career with us. These young people were born into a very different IT environment from what we knew at their age.They therefore want to work with modern equipment, similar to what they possess personally. This equipment is directly involved in our digitisation process. If we want our first objective to be a different relationship with our customers, the objective that follows immediately after that, or in parallel, is also to offer our young people the opportunity to work with modern systems, as they do in their daily lives.

AIR&COSMOS

■ Interview by Yann Cochennec

N° 9

11TH OCTOBER 2019


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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE EXCLUSIVE: CONTRACTS DATA SECTION (FIRST NINE MONTHS 2019)

AIRCRAFT 

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  

    

                 

  

   

  

  

    

   











 

 

 



      























 







   





  











 



 

 

 





          



 

  

 

 





      

 



  



         

      

 

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





www.aircosmosinternational.com





AIR&COSMOS 

N° 9

 

Source: id aero

  



11TH OCTOBER 2019

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MRO   SPECIAL ISSUE

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  



 



  







 





     

 











 





(1) 8 in activity, 2 on order - (2) cape town : weekly checkS ; JohanneSburg : up to a-checkS. - (3) 3 b737-700 at early June, 4 b737-800 expected for thiS Summer, eStimate of 20 aircraft in 2022. - (4) new facility for the repair and refurbiShment cabin componentS in novoSibirSk (Siberia) with eaSa approval.

FREIGHTER CONVERSION 

































   



(1) c-40a converSion - (2) 10 firm orderS and 15 new optionS - (3) 10 firm orderS and 10 optionS - (4) Jv between airbuS et St engineering (the latter iS developer and certificationS manager) (5) at thiS point, it iS an announcement of intent for delivery in late 2020 (bbam iS a leaSing company, the name of the cuStomer iS not diScloSed)

ENGINES 

 



  





































  













   





















 





















 



 















 



  

   



 

 







 









 11  OCTOBER 2019 TH

 COSMOS  AIR&

N° 9

 



    





 

 



Source: id aero



   

 www.aircosmosinternational.com 

 

 

    

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    ISSUE  MRO SPECIAL 

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 

 

 

 

  



 







  

 

 

 



 



    























































 















  



























 















 









 







 







   

 

 

































 

 















 

 













    























    



  





  









  





 



(1) extenSion coverS corendon airlineS, turkiSh and malteSe fleetS - (2) leaSed fleet (32 firm and 8 option leap-1a engineS involved) - (3) expected rental fleet of at leaSt 15 aircraftS (4) with optionS, the fleet concerned could conSiSt of 20 b787, the firSt deliverieS are planned for 2022.- (5) Some in Service, otherS Still to be delivered. - (6) the Scope of the agreement cannot be quantified: azorra iS a leaSing company and alSo makeS diScountS on the market of aircraftS. in addition, the contract doeS not concern the performance of workS that may be covered by a contract with third partieS. - (7) the Support contract iS linked with that of the engineS - (8) firSt delivery in 2020 - (9) concerned fleet of 193 aircraft - (10) the Support contract iS linked to that of the engineS - (11) firSt delivery in 2019 - (12) 11 twin otter and 10 daSh 8. pS contractS involving leSSorS do not SyStematically cover the entire fleet concerned, the contract between the leSSor and the engine manufacturer iS indeed a framework - in principle advantageouS - which iS offered by the renter to hiS tenant.

16

www.aircosmosinternational.com

AIR&COSMOS

N° 9

Source: id aero

11TH OCTOBER 2019


INT009_014_017.qxp_Mise en page 1 03/10/2019 17:39 Page17

DUBAÏ AIRSHOW MRO SPECIAL2015 ISSUE COMPONENTS  





 

      





 







  



 

 

   







   





 

         





















 

 

 















       





 

   













 





 







       

 

 

  

 







            





























 































 



















 



 

  



 

      

   

 





  



11TH OCTOBER 2019

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AIR&COSMOS

Source: id aero

(1) 12 in command, firSt delivery in Summer 2019 (2) firSt contract of thiS kind (including a320) for boeing (3) 4 leaSed aircraftS are planned, the firSt went into Service in June, the otherS are announced for 2020 and 2021 (4) 51 aircraftS in command via aercap, firSt delivery for September 9th (5) 6 aircraftS in Service (6) 17 aircraftS in Service (7) 6 aircraft in Service, renewalS of contractS (8) a320 family with a321neoS to deliver (9) 26 in activity, 6 on order (10) 41 in activity for the two SiSter companieS

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE composite mro

AFi-klm e&m

keeping up to speed

Part in autoclave at AFI’s Roissy facility.

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AIR&COSMOS

N° 9

11TH OCTOBER 2019

J. GUILHEM

O. CONSTANT

S e


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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE

How to Handle tHe maintenance of aircraft featuring more and more compoSite materialS? air france induStrieS iS adapting and StrengtHening itS mro potential on a daily baSiS to be able to act quickly on tHe boeing 787 and a350.

key Figures Air FrAnce industries klm engineering & mAintenAnce Sales (2018)

€1.823bn

in customer sales in 2017

200

customer airlines

2,000 aircraft handled each year

eight reduction is u n doubtedly t h e number one asset of carbon fibre-based composite materials.“Generating a significant reduction of 15 to 20%, they reduce fuel and maintenance operations in civil aviation due to their excellent fatigue strength and insensitivity to corrosion,” explains Henri Girardy, marketing manager at Hexcel, the leading American supplier of carbon fibre-based composite

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materials. However, it is also necessary to know how to deal with damage to these new materials. “We have to recognise that the share of composite materials on aircraft is steadily increasing, but just because the A350 or Boeing 787 have much more composites than other aircraft, this does not revolutionise the way we look at things. In fact, the change has taken place gradually over the past three decades,” explains Philippe Servant, Head of Aerostructure Support Engineering at Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance. “We always work on parts that have been removed from the aircraft, mainly engine nacelles and radomes, elements that are highly exposed to impacts. These parts, which have been built from composites since the 1980s, are in fact the most affected by impacts from birds

and lightning, and also collisions on the ground due to traffic around the aircraft in airport areas. In the case of the nacelle, it is mainly the engine air intakes that are regularly affected.” FOREIGN OBJECTS.

“There is also so-called Foreign Object Damage (FOD), objects projected by the engine that hit the inner surfaces of the air intakes. Ultimately, we are the aeronautical equivalent of a car body repair shop, specialising in radomes, fuselages, nacelles and wing components to be repaired in the workshop,” he continues. At Roissy,AFI KLM engineers and technicians have equipment to prepare and strip surfaces, and to perform autoclave curing, as well as paint booths. They also have test benches for thrust reversers when these require repairs. “In concrete terms, it doesn't change much for us, except that

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE composite mro we have more and more constraints and procedures. As a general rule, we disassemble the parts and, for many of them, we carry out standard exchanges with fully renovated aerostructures,” continues Servant. “In the case of the airframe, there is generally less maintenance, but when there are repairs to be made, it is more complicated because a fuselage, for example, is monolithic with a succession of carbon plies and when there are impacts, we need to carry out machining with certain robotic systems that are progressively emerging to facilitate our operations on site, but that not everyone possesses yet because they are still under development. The damaged area must be removed and repaired.” NO PATCHES YET.

“On the fuselages of the new Boeing 787 and A350 programmes, patch-type procedures exist, but for the moment, we have not been confronted with this type of repair on any of our six 787s in service. On the other hand, we performed work on a nacelle on one of the 787s,” says

Composite MRO for export erostructures middle east Services (ames) is currently providing five airlines with radome repair solutions, with competitively priced services and fast turnaround times for operators in the middle east and the indian subcontinent. to date, ames has repaired nine radomes for a320 family aircraft and five for boeing 737 aircraft, demonstrating its ability, as the only maintenance, repair and overhaul (mro) operator in the region, to develop and market complete repair services for these aircraft components. this repair work has been made possible thanks to ames' investment in a three-metre diameter autoclave that has increased its ability to pro-

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Rebecca Berge-Gras, a Composites R&D Engineer at AFI KLM. Kits et patchs avec système de vides et tapis autochauffants sont déjà utilisés pour cuire des réparations en dehors d’autoclaves afin de répondre à des besoins ponctuels spécifiques. Kits and patches with vacuum system and self-heating mats are

J. GUILHEM

Repairs on a composite component.

cess a wide range of aerostructure components. this capability is based on the expertise of ames' two parent companies: air france industries klm engineering & maintenance and Safran nacelles. “with afi klm e&m's experience in maintaining radomes, advanced equipment and its dual operational and engineering knowhow, ames provides high-level repair services for radomes and other large composite components,” explains thierry baud, ames' general manager. the company's capabilities enable it to offer its customers repairs for a320, boeing 737 and 737 next-generation radomes, but also to extend its services to radomes for other types of aircraft.

already used for curing out-ofautoclave repairs in response to specific one-time needs. CFM LEAP NACELLES.

AFI KLM is also now focusing on repairs to Leap engine nacelles for the A320 and Boeing 737, with no changes to the fundamental principles behind its expertise, apart from an investment

in new tools for the handling and storage of each part of the nacelle because the sizes and attachment points are different from one engine model to another. “While the technical aspect of the repairs does not vary fundamentally, the logistics we have to set up change for each new aircraft type. In addition, there are the extra ingredients, carbon plies, honeycombs, prepregs that we need to have in store to carry out repairs. These products are subject to strict regulations because they require storage in freezers. Their handling outside the refrigerator remains tightly controlled and is always highly restrictive. We often work in clean rooms to avoid contamination.We cut, cure, apply adhesive, re-cure, control temperatures, cure times, as well as the pressure or vacuum levels to be applied to an entire surface under repair.The adhesion of the patch, as well as its polymerisation, must be perfect, without porosity, so that the loads absorbed by the reconstituted structure are again distributed across the repair. This is the big difference compared with metal parts,” concludes Servant. ■ Jean Guilhem

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE COMPOSITE MRO

A HEATING BLANKET FOR GE90 REPAIR WORK In partnershIp wIth aFI KLM e&M, GMI aero has deveLoped a heatInG bLanKet For the repaIr oF GeneraL eLectrIc Ge90 enGIne naceLLes on aIr France's boeInG 777 aIrcraFt, thereby cuttInG repaIr costs and reducInG turnaround tIMes.

n partnership with AFI KLM E&M, GMI Aero has developed a heating blanket for out-of-autoclave (OOA) repair of General Electric GE90 engine nacelles on the French flag carrier’s Boeing 777s, thereby cutting repair costs and reducing turnaround times. “We work in the field of composite structure repairs. We have developments in progress on this subject. We provide equipment but also studies on repair processes.We are happy to support a number of our customers with specific solutions and we regularly work with Air France on this issue,” comments Roland Chemama, President of GMI Aero.

I

REQUEST FROM AIR FRANCE.

GMI AERO

In September 2017,Air France asked GMI Aero to study a heating system for a problem they were confronted with, involving a large area of internal skin on a General Electric GE90 nacelle. “We studied this

22

problem quite quickly, thinking that it was straightforward; then we realised that it was an issue requiring development work, as the structure to be heated was quite complex.The problem, the theoretical interface of methods and equipment, was in the thermal domain. It was necessary to have the capability to heat and cure to ensure bonding of the repair in accordance with the requirements of the manufacturer and the products used,” says Chemama. “If we want to be able to guarantee the quality of the repair, we must be able to confirm that at all points of the repair, which is spread over a 2m2 surface area that is complex in terms of both thickness and materials, we have cured the entire area at 175° within a very narrow margin of plus or minus 5°. It's a classic problem for technicians who perform repair work, classic in the sense that it's recurrent,” he adds.The quality of repair must be compatible with the performance required by

the structural repair manual (SRM). “It's relatively simple for a small surface, because a small surface is homogeneous, but if the size of the area increases, you include structures that vary in thickness or type, and the problem becomes quite complicated,” explains Chemama. INITIAL STUDY.

The problem was studied on site by iteration between an initial study, which gave a number of indications for the design of the heating blanket, and a second, equally important step, which was the application of the blanket. “The results are not achieved by laying down the blanket and turning on the machine that powers it.We also need to implement a number of procedures based on thermal knowledge, and in this respect, the iteration between our engineer and the Air France team was crucial,” adds Chemama. For upper-category repairs, the operation of the heating blanket is fairly conventional. “Historically, there have been low-temperature repairs at 70-80°, then repairs with prepreg that required temperatures of 120° minimum and then structural parts, as is the case today, 175-180°, which are cure temperatures in the autoclave for the manufacture of structures,” comments Chemama. “Curing at 180° is quite difficult, because the higher the temperature, the greater the differences. To achieve this, a heating system is designed to be flexible, temperature-resistant and homogeneous. It is a system of silicone membranes containing a specially designed mesh of heating wires positioned in a certain way, in order to obtain optimum heating results. In other words, the image of the mesh in the blanket is the thermal image of the structure, if you have to heat more to the right than to the left, etc., you have to have independent heating circuits,” adds Chemama. For this reason, the heating blanket was designed to include several heating zones, eight altogether, because eight thermal reactions were identified within the two square metre area. ■

www.aircosmosinternational.com

AIR&COSMOS

N° 9

Antony Angrand

11TH OCTOBER 2019


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DUBAÏ AIRSHOW MRO SPECIAL2015 ISSUE ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING

MARSHALL CUTS COST WITH STRATASYS FDM uK FIrM MarshaLL aerospace & deFence uses stratasys Fused deposItIon ModeLLInG (FdM) addItIve ManuFacturInG to produce poLyMer parts For aIrcraFt. the technoLoGy Is aLso used to produce tooLInG For Ground operatIons.

arshall Aerospace & Defence — a privately owned company based in Cambridge, UK — uses 3D printing of polymers to manufacture flight-ready parts for military and civil aircraft. On the ground, the same technology makes it possible to quickly and cost-effectively create tooling previously made from metal in its workshops. For several years, Marshall Aerospace & Defence has been using multiple duct elements and switch supports 3D-printed by extrusion of polymer filaments, for installation in the cabin of highly modified aircraft. Compared to the traditional processes previously used, the on-demand printing of these flight-certified components produces lighter customised parts with great flexibility and speed at lower costs. “Our ability to manufacture reproducible and reliable 3D printed parts from materials certified for aerospace applications is essential to meet the stringent performance requirements of aircraft equipment,” remarks Chris Botting, Materials, Processes and Additive Manufacturing Engineer at Marshall Aerospace and Defence. “Additive manufacturing makes it possible to create precise, functional, ultra-light ducting at significantly lower cost. These aircraft-mounted nozzles are certified by AESA in accordance with the toxicity, smoke and flame requirements established for these aircraft components,” he continues.

ponents while they are on the ground. “This complex functional element is printed in 3D from Nylon 12, and in addition to significantly reducing costs compared to the original aluminium part, the weight of the part has been reduced by 63%,” says Botting. Also for ground applications, the group uses the processes developed by Stratasys for complex tooling applications such as drill jigs and masking templates, as well

11TH OCTOBER 2019

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AIR&COSMOS

MARSHALL

M

SPEED OF EXECUTION.

The parts are manufactured from Ultem TM 9085 resin using Fortus 450mc machines.This polymer has a high strengthto-weight ratio, elevated thermal and chemical resistance and good flame, smoke and toxicity (FST) test results. Supplied as raw material in the form of filament spools reserved for the FDM process, this type of resin benefits from a documented traceability allowing the batch number of the raw material to be identified. Marshall Aerospace & Defence also uses its 3D printer to produce parts and tools. With this process, the manufacturer has created a prototype duct adapter that is essential for cooling aircraft avionics com-

as for composite mould tooling.The additive manufacturing team produces these tools within only 24 hours of an engineer’s request. This strategy is stimulating the use of thermoplastic tools obtained by 3D printing using the FDM process.The new tools replace the heavy imprints cut from solid metal, with a reduction in operator workload and above all the extremely attractive lead times, especially in case of emergency. “In the future, there is no doubt that 3D printing will continue to have a significant impact on the way we design and manufacture our products within the company,” concludes Botting. ■

Jean Guilhem

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE AIRCRAFT UAV MRO

AIRBUS INNOVATES

WITH DRONES, AI as part oF an InnovatIve approach reLyInG on new technoLoGIes, aIrbus Is MarryInG drones wIth artIFIcIaL InteLLIGence (aI) to perForM externaL InspectIons oF MILItary aIrcraFt.

AIRBUS

O. CONSTANT

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE

irbus has been working for several years now to digitalise its maintenance operations. To achieve this, the company is relying on new technologies, such as drones and artificial intelligence. In May,Airbus announced that it was launching a collaboration with the Ejercito del Aire (Spanish Air Force) to carry out external inspections of the force’s A400M airlifters using a drone.This service is part of the group's SmartForce project, which aims to develop digital services for the management of military aircraft fleets. The use of drones for airframe inspection, coupled with artificial intelligence to analyse the data collected during the flight, offers a number of advantages.Aircraft downtime is reduced in comparison with conventional procedures that often require the use of a telescopic forklift.The use of drones also reduces the cost of the inspection. This is due, on the one hand, to the improved availability of the aircraft but also to reduced reliance on special scaffolding and other equipment. “This technology has the potential to make a major contribution to maintenance tasks for our fleet. Not only is it more time- and cost-efficient, above all it allows the upskilling of aircraft maintenance personnel,” remarks General José Luis Pardo Jario, Head of the Spanish Chief

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11TH OCTOBER 2019

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AIR&COSMOS

of the Air Staff office. In addition to image capture by the drone, equipped with high-definition cameras, the solution developed by Airbus also includes the use of artificial intelligence.The algorithm currently being developed by the manufacturer should ultimately allow automatic defect detection.Anomalies will thus be transmitted directly to technicians through digital technologies. In addition, defect traceability will be ensured by recording and storing data in a digital register. TESTS ON A400M.

The tests being conducted with the Ejercito del Aire on the A400M make it possible to feed data into the neural network and the data catalogue, which enrich the algorithm.“Artificial intelligence will analyse the photos taken by the drone and suggest a set of potential defects. A qualified inspector will carry out the final evaluation and determine what corresponds to a real defect. AI will learn from this distinction and thus improve its predictive capabilities in order to become 100% autonomous in the near future,” Airbus explains. Currently the files are sent to tablets or smart glasses, so that maintenance personnel can analyse the failure and define the necessary corrective measures. This is what Airbus calls “augmented reality maintenance”. For inspection missions on the Spanish A400Ms,Airbus is using a DJI Matrice 210 drone. The vehicle is equipped with specific

sensors and a Lidar, which allows it to position itself in the air and thus detect the presence of obstacles. In order to allow the drone to fly around the aircraft with total autonomy, the Airbus teams have developed navigation software allowing the drone to be programmed with a trajectory adapted to the aircraft being inspected. Several flights are performed during a single inspection. They are programmed separately, depending on the section of the aircraft being examined. Collaboration between Airbus and the Spanish Air Force will initially focus on MRO of A400Ms based at the Zaragoza air base. Once this phase has been completed, Airbus plans to use drones for the external inspection of the C295 and CN235, or even the C130. VISUAL INSPECTION.

Though the ongoing programme on Spanish A400Ms is still in its initial phase,Airbus has been addressing the issue of drone inspection since 2016. For example, at the Farnborough Air Show that year, Airbus reported a demonstration of the visual inspection of an aircraft using a drone. The original aim was to use this technology to conduct inspections within production plants. Now the group also hopes to convince airports of the advantages of such a solution. Developed at the Bizlab in Toulouse, the project initially focused on the A330 before being extended in a second phase to the A350 and A380. ■ Justine Boquet

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE AIRCRAFT UAV MRO

DASSAULT AVIATION DEVELOPPING AIRSCAN SOLUTION

DASSAULT AVIATION

at thIs year’s parIs aIr show, dassauLt avIatIon presented Its aIrscan soLutIon, a drone-based systeM used to carry out externaL aIrcraFt InspectIons.

assault Aviation showcased a variety of innovations at this year’s Paris Air Show.Among the technologies presented was the AirScan solution. This system relies on a drone and an automated flight system to perform airframe inspections. Dassault presents the AirScan solution as follows: “Equipped with a high-resolution camera, the drone scans the entire aircraft. The geolocated images are presented on a 3D digital mockup. A data processing algorithm, developed with Dassault Aviation experts, alerts the operator if a defect or anomaly is detected. Identified defects are automatically shared with the aircraft's maintenance management system to optimise corrective actions.” To develop this system, the French manufacturer relied on the skills of a French start-up, Donecle.This company has developed an octocopter that can fly autonomously around an aircraft in order to take pictures and facilitate the inspection of the external structure. Collaboration between the two teams began in 2017, with tests on an Alphajet and a Mirage F1.This was subsequently extended to the Rafale and Falcon before focusing on the ATL2 in 2019. Using artificial intelligence, the addition of new inspections in the software feeds into a neural network, improving processing and analysis capabilities.

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“The idea was to be able to validate operationally several types of inspection during maintenance activities, such as paint quality, surface finish, condition of sensors and optics ....,” says Donecle. In order to fly autonomously, without the need for an operator, the drone is equipped with Lidar sensors.“Lidar sensors allow the drone to position itself and move relative to

the aircraft whose shape it knows thanks to a simplified digital mockup.They also allow the drone to avoid unexpected obstacles and calculate an avoidance trajectory,” explains Dassault Aviation.The mockup is also used to locate the identified anomalies, creating a digital history of the inspected aircraft and ensuring better traceability. In addition to data archiving, this “solution had to greatly reduce aircraft downtime and limit the application of human and material resources by our customers,” says Dassault Aviation. The entire procedure is thus highly automated and digitised. First, the AirScan operator must secure the inspection area and select the type of aircraft being inspected. On entering the aircraft registration, the 3D model of the aircraft is automatically selected in order to communicate with the drone. The collected images are “sent to the tablet during the inspection. The operator can then either directly visualise the images geolocated on a 3D model, or launch a process that will identify each type of defect and generate a complete report. All this information is then sent to the Dassault Aviation maintenance management system,” Dassault Aviation explains. ■ Justine Boquet

Donecle’s solution selected by Austrian Airlines onecle announced on 6th september that it had contracted with austrian airlines (Lufthansa Group) for its automated drone inspection solution. “donecle delivered its solution to austrian, which will use it for visual inspections of aircraft during line maintenance as well as for unscheduled events,” says the start-up. this system thus makes it possible to evaluate the external surface and assess the condition of paint and regulatory markings. “all images are stored on a secure cloud platform to build a digital history of the aircraft and improve traceability over time, contributing to the

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digitalisation of maintenance activities,” adds donecle. In addition, the two companies will work together to expand inspections to include automatic detection of lightning strikes. Initially acquired for the inspection of the airline’s a320 fleet, donecle's solution could eventually be extended to embraer aircraft. In the military sector, the company has also conducted tests on an awacs aircraft, in collaboration with the dGa and air France Industries. specific applications were studied, such as the inspection of the rotodome and the in-flight refuelling flap.

AIR&COSMOS

N° 9

11TH OCTOBER 2019


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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE smes & mid-caps

ReVima

shifts into high geaR

Following the arrival oF French investment Fund ardian as its new majority shareholder, revima is taking multiple steps to reinForce its position as the world’s leading independent mro provider For auxiliary power units (apus) and landing gear.

Repair work on a Boeing 747 auxiliary power unit. O. CONSTANT

udging by recent announcements, there can be little doubt that Revima is moving into higher gear.The acceleration began with the European investment fund ArgosWityu, but is now gathering pace following the arrival in early April of a private investor, Ardian, which has become the new majority shareholder alongside Argos Wityu, Revima chairman and CEO Olivier Legrand and members of the company management. Commenting on Ardian's arrival, Olivier Legrand observes “it allows two things. The first is to finance external growth.

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The second is to support our internal development plan: productivity enhancement, dynamic capability investments and digital transformation at various sites.” All these developments should result in significant growth at the group, which will recruit more than 60 people this year. From €300m in 2018, sales could exceed €500m within four years. EXTERNAL GROWTH.

Founded in 1952 in Rives-en-Seine (SeineMaritime), Revima specialises in the repair and overhaul of aeronautical equipment including auxiliary power units (APUs), landing gear and aircraft engine parts. In

this context, the company has just completed two external growth operations. The most important was the acquisition of Chromalloy France. Located in SaintOuen l'Aumône (Val-d'Oise), this company meets Revima's objective of enhancing its repair services for internal turbine parts. Chromalloy brings its know-how in the repair of core engine parts and in hightech surface coatings. “Thanks to the acquisition of this company, which has sales of €13m and a workforce of 80 people, we are moving up the APU value chain. We had already started investing in an initial phase of repair equipment for these types of parts internally starting in 2011.

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE

key figuRes sales (2018)

€300m

(+25%)

800

ASIAN AMBITIONS.

In addition to these two external growth operation, which strengthen the group in the MRO and fleet management sectors, Revima is also seeking to expand its global industrial presence.The new Thai unit will be an illustration of this. Currently under construction in Chonburi, south of Bangkok, it will become operational in the first quarter of 2020. Covering an area of 12,000m2 and employing nearly 300 people, it will have the capacity to overhaul approximately 600 landing gear legs per year.The plant will initially target A320 and Boeing 737 single-aisle aircraft. But services could be extended to regional aircraft such as ATRs. As a result, Asia's share of the group's sales could increase from 30% to 40% in the next three or four years.A customer support centre will complete the new installations. FACTORY OF THE FUTURE.

employees

4 sites

rives-en-seine, saint-ouenl’aumône, toulouse and chonburi (thailand).

11TH OCTOBER 2019

Revima has also recently adopted a new visual identity and a new organisation based on five activities: - Repair & Overhaul: maintenance and repair of APUs, landing gear and associated equipment; - Engine Parts Repair: covers more than 2,500 part numbers; - Material Solutions: supply of second-hand parts and assemblies; - Fleet Management, digital solutions for diagnosis and predictive maintenance; - Leasing: APU and landing gear lease packages.

N° 9

In addition to the €30m investment made in Thailand, a further €50m will be invested over four years in the Rives-en-Seine (Seine-Maritime) facilities because Revima has big ambitions in the landing gear sector. It plans to increase its capacity to more than 600 legs per year over the same period (40% more than

AIR&COSMOS

O. CONSTANT

With Chromalloy France, we are adding expertise in the repair of complex hot parts with high added value.This company also provides us with its expertise in additive manufacturing, having acquired two machines of this type. Finally, we benefit from the latest technologies in terms of engine part coatings thanks to its new thermochemical furnaces.These allow multiple deposits on high-performance alloys. As these processes are Nadcap certified, Chromalloy France [now called Revima SOA] will basically become the group’s competence centre for the hot section, for APUs as well as for main engines,” explains Legrand. Another acquisition, also aimed at expanding the group’s service offering to improve its performance, involved the Toulouse start-up FlightWatching. In addition to acquiring the latter’s Wilco predictive maintenance platform, Revima will be able to develop the APU module in a more integrated way and to expand into other aircraft systems, thus positioning the group on new and older generation aircraft, with a strong focus on the ergonomics, flexibility and ease of use of their solution.

Dressing a Revima grinding wheel.

at present). New-generation machines will be acquired. “We are considering new digital machines and retrofitting some of our current machines. This transformation could affect a substantial proportion of our machines. We will be able to reduce setup times by a factor of three by using pre-programmed tray systems. We will also install high velocity oxygen fuel (HVOF) spraying equipment. We should be operational by 2020, an investment of around €3m.There will then be two possibilities for using this new technology.The first application will be the replacement of the original HVOF on latestgeneration aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and A380.The second will concern the substitution of HVOF for chromium for certain programmes. Even if this is still in the exploratory phase, Boeing is offering us the opportunity to do so,” adds Legrand. With regard to additive manufacturing, which has taken on a new dimension with the acquisition of Chromalloy France, it has already been used for several months to carry out air seal repairs. Using LMD (Laser Metal Deposition) technology,

work is carried out by material deposition. The first approved repair concerns Pratt & Whitney PW100 engines. The group's desire is to go further now.That is why a doctoral student has been recruited to help industrialise and validate these techniques jointly with the OEMs. Larger parts such as housings could be repaired within the next two years. In addition to these innovations preparing the factory of the future, Revima is also focusing efforts on managerial innovation, a subject that is of particular importance to Legrand. He first recalls that 75% of staff own shares in the group under the FCPE employee savings scheme. He highlights “the centres of excellence that are typically organised by product and customer logic.These structures on a human scale, since they do not exceed 50 employees, manage their own profit and loss account and are in direct contact with the customer. Since the introduction of this system, we have set records in terms of customer satisfaction rates.The latest is 6.2 out of 7.” ■

Olivier Constant

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE smes & mid-caps

RecaeRo back fRom the bRink

the company plans to invest in its production Facilities and create a design oFFice dedicated to commercial aircraFt cabin reFurbishment.

fter reaching a low point a few years ago,Ariège-based Recaero has regained full financial health. First, by repaying its debt three years ahead of schedule. Faced with a sharp drop in its business as a result of the global crisis of 2008-2011, this specialist in spare parts for the aerospace industry was forced to set up a safeguard procedure and establish a schedule to repay its debt by 2021.

a

The arrival of a new shareholder, the Toulouse-based investment fund IXO Private Equity, as well as the support of Bpifrance and its historical banking partners (Crédit Agricole, HSBC, Banque Populaire) not only accelerated debt repayment, but also launched an investment plan of over €11m. “We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” says Nicolas Pobeau, President of Recaero. Of the total amount, €9m is dedicated to French-based industrial facilities over three years. Founded in 1993 by Thierry Pobeau and historically based in Verniol, Ariège, Recaero acquired a company based in Mirepoix in 2016 that specialises in the manufacture of composite parts and structures. The investments concern the palletisation of all the company’s five-axis machines, the acquisition of sheet metal and composite routing equipment, as well as improvements to the surface treatment chain, with the objective of achieving operational and productivity gains to consolidate Recaero's positions in Europe. “Our competitors on the spare parts market are mostly small subcontractors located close to the manufacturers. But often, they do not have the ability to take on large volumes requiring several different areas of expertise. And even if they can be very reactive on one or two jobs, this

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RECAERO

INVESTMENTS.

€9m is being invested in production facilities in France.

is not enough to ensure a high level of activity in the long term,” explains Nicolas Pobeau, whose company produces spare parts, sub-assemblies and modification kits on demand and within very short deadlines. He continues: “The aftermarket sector is full of unforeseen events. We are here to help our customers avoid them as much as possible.”The Indian site located in Bangalore since 2007 will benefit from investments of €2m over two years. Recaero carries out series production there and relies on the growing market of the CFM Leap engine, as well as on major local players such as the Tata group. DIVERSIFICATION.

Recaero is also looking for growth through the development of a complementary and promising activity: the commercial aircraft cabin refurbishment market.A design office composed of five engineers was therefore set up at the beginning of 2018 at the Verniol site.The aim is to offer historical

customers, airlines, MRO providers and helicopter operators integrated solutions ranging from design to the production of modification or repair kits. For several months now, the design office has been able to offer its expertise, having obtained EASA Part 21J approval in September 2018, which complements Part 21G, enabling Recaero to develop its own solutions. “An aircraft or fleet of aircraft will evolve significantly during the course of its service life, moving from one operator to another. Cabin equipment must be brought up to the standards of the new airline.That's where we come in.We will design, manufacture and produce new parts with very attractive cycle times for the airlines,” says Pobeau.This new activity is not without risks for the company. “It was necessary to set up the whole team and procedures to prepare all this. It's a big investment for us,” cautions the president of Recaero. But the market prospects are clearly worth it. ■

Sophie Voinis, reporting from Toulouse

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE smes & mid-caps An area evenly distributed between a hangar and a production unit, which includes

Jcb aeRo looking to expand jcb aero, a specialist in aircraFt interiors, plans to add a 2,0003,000m2 extension to its auch production Facility in the gers department by 2020. the company, which has 200 employees and sales oF €17m, is moving in a new strategic direction, two years aFter its takeover by the swiss group amac aerospace.

or the time being, the project is still in its early stages. But Eric Cagnat, CEO of JCB Aero, makes no secret of it: if the growth of the Gers-based aircraft interior specialist is in line with expectations this year, it will need extra space.“We are planning to build an extension to our production site of around 2,000 to 3,000m2,” he explains. “We would move all our offices there, so that we could use their current location to expand our production area. Obviously, in this respect, we are marketdriven. But this project could well become a reality in 2020.” Located in the Auch airport area, JCB Aero's plant currently covers 10,000m2.

A. LÉOTY

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11TH OCTOBER 2019

office and engineering space.“At the time, in 2009, our installation represented a total investment of €8m,” says the CEO. A key step in the life of a company founded more than 20 years previously. A380 INTERIOR.

JCB Aero was created in 1987, at the initiative of Jean Claude Beaudet. Not in the Gers, but in Aubais, about 30km from Nîmes, in the Gard.“The founder started on his own, in his garage,” smiles Cagnat, “working on composite materials, a technology that was in its infancy at the time. After offering a range of repair services to France’s CNES space agency, it very quickly entered the aeronautics market, and more

particularly the commercial aircraft sector.” In 2003, Beaudet moved the company to L'IsleJourdain, in the Gers, in order to get closer to its customer, Air France. In the following years, the company grew rapidly, signing a series of strategic contracts with major players in the sector. In 2005, the company signed a contract with Emirates to work on the interiors of the airline’s A380s. The following year, it positioned itself on the development of business jets by contracting with Jet Aviation. “This was an important step for us,” says Cagnat, “because it allowed us to set up an integrated design office.” At that time, by working with Zodiac Aerospace, JCB Aero also began to carry out small production runs. Other customers then joined the company's portfolio, such as Fokker and Dassault. In response to rapid growth, the company decided to move to vast premises in Auch, on the site it still occupies today. “It was a choice made at the time by Beaudet, who wanted to get closer to his customers, while retaining a certain autonomy,” notes Cagnat. In mid-2016, the founder of JCB Aero sold his company to the Swiss group Amac Aerospace, which has more than 1,000 employees and sales of $250m, or approximately €224m. Now a 100% shareholder of the Gers-based company, the group chaired by Kadri Muhiddin, which specialises in aircraft interiors and maintenance, currently has four other entities based in Switzerland,Turkey and Lebanon. For JCB Aero, it is a new strategic direction. “We are working more and more on projects for business class seats and furnishings, in small production runs, for the major system integrators,” says Cagnat,“but the prototype part still represents 30% of our business.” Today, with the support of its group, the company intends to continue its development “by moving from a traditional mode to a more industrial organisation, while retaining its own expertise,” the CEO declares.This transformation involves in particular the introduction of digital processes and the optimisation of the ERP system. In total, the company has invested €1.4m in this area over the past two years. The next challenge? Obtain EN 9100 certification by 2020. “This would allow us to pursue contracts with longer production runs,” says Cagnat. JCB Aero, which has 200 employees and posted sales of €17m in 2018, expects to achieve “double-digit growth” this year. ■

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Alexandre Léoty, reporting from Toulouse

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adhetec shaRpens inteRnational focus adhetec, a subsidiary oF the alvest group, specialises in adhesive solutions For interior and exterior decoration, but also For protection and masking, mainly in the aeronautical sector. the 180-employee company, based in southwest France and targeting sales oF €40m this year, is pursuing its strategy oF diversiFication and international expansion.

rom its headquarters in Tarbes, in the Hautes-Pyrénées department, Adhetec is out to conquer the world. An expert in adhesive solutions for aircraft interior and exterior decoration, but also protection and masking systems for industrial processes, the SME with 180 employees has made international development one of its main strategic priorities. “We believe that in our lines of business, the notion of the hub is essential, in order to be as close as possible to the prime contractors,” explains Alexis Gabillon, the company's president. “Historically present in Europe, last year we created a commercial, logistics and industrial entity in Seattle, which should have five employees by next year. In addition, a year ago, we acquired a Canadian company with about 20 employees, MTI Masking.” The next challenge for Adhetec is to establish a hub in Asia.Will this be a structure created

f

from scratch or an external growth operation? “For the time being, all options are open,” says Gabillon, who adds:“What is important for us is to have as much local production as possible.” AIRBUS, A LONG-TIME CUSTOMER.

To follow this ambitious roadmap,Adhetec can rely on a long and rich experience. Founded in 1981, the company was originally specialised in the marketing of adhesive tape. “Management at the time quickly realised that what industrial customers expected was the function, the application,” explains Gabillon.“They then innovated in the field of product customisation and established a relationship with Airbus, for whom the company developed masking systems for aircraft painting facilities.” At the end of the 1980s this led to the construction of the Adhetec site in Colomiers,

Interior and exterior aircraft decoration solutions feature among the Tarbes-based company’s leading product offerings.

Haute-Garonne, which still receives 80% of its workload from Airbus and its partners. Acquired in 1992 by the Alvest aeronautical group (2,500 employees and €700m in sales), the company has developed several important innovations in the field of adhesive solutions over the years.This applies not only to the aircraft exterior, but also to the cabin interior. “Our exterior products meet very specific requirements: flight speed, thermal shock and ultraviolet rays,” says Gabillon. “Inside the aircraft cabin, our solutions can be used to create detailed and durable decors.” CONTINUOUS INVESTMENT.

Qualified by all the aircraft manufacturers, Adhetec's innovations also have applications in other sectors. While aeronautics still accounts for 70% of its business, the company is also present in the the railway sector (10% of business), automotive industry (10%) and other industries (10%), particularly electronics. “This diversification strategy is historic, but we have chosen to take it to another level in recent years,” says the manager. “There are several reasons for this. First of all, while our technologies are not immediately transferable, they can be adapted to many markets. Moreover, this openness increases the relevance of our technical approaches. Finally, positioning ourselves in sectors with different cycles allows us to protect ourselves in the event of a downswing.” Thus, whereas 10 years ago Airbus represented some 60% of the company's business, it now accounts for only 30% of its activity. “It's a good thing for everyone!”, says Gabillon. The manager is well aware that the growth of his company must be accompanied by continuous investment.Thus,Adhetec, which last year injected “several million euros” into the expansion of its 120-employee Tarbes industrial site — from 5,500 to 7,000m2 — invests approximately one million euros each year in its industrial facilities and innovation capacities.

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Alexandre Léoty, reporting from Toulouse

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aiRplane deliVeRy aims to double maintenance capacity airplane delivery, a subsidiary oF the airplane group, plans to double the maintenance capacity oF its toulouse Francazal site. the company, which has 18 employees and expects to report sales oF €10m this year, could soon have an additional 5,000m2 oF hangar space. it is also exploring a project to construct a new building.

pared to €7m in 2018,” says Mornet. To achieve this, the SME, which now has 18 employees, is focusing both on building loyalty among its current customers and on opening up new markets, particularly in connection with repair shops.“It's simple: to avoid dependency as much as possible, we shouldn't put all our eggs in one basket!” notes the CEO, who is delighted to have recently obtained the C5 rating (charge and battery), with C8 (flight controls) and C18 (icing and rain protection) expected at the end of the year. “The idea is to extend our business boundary as we go along, in perfect complementarity with Airplane Painter.”

A. LÉOTY

NEW 5,000M2 HANGAR?

he history of Airplane Delivery is closely linked to that of another entity of the Airplane group, founded in 2002 by Ersun Arslan: the company Airplane Painter, also based in Cugnaux (31), in the former Toulouse-Francazal air base. Specialising in the painting of regional and VIP aircraft, the latter — which has 40 employees and sales of €6m — has long worked for MRO providers. “In order to no longer depend on an external partner, we have decided to create our own entity to hand over the aircraft after painting,” explains Michel Mornet, CEO of Airplane Delivery who formerly worked for ATR. Airplane Delivery, founded in early 2017, moved into a 5,000m2 hangar next to its “big sister” in March 2018, with an additional 750m2 of offices and workshops.

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This Part 145 approved maintenance centre has since been working for the major players in regional aviation, led by ATR and Embraer.And although the company does not own the site it now occupies, it has invested more than €300,000 in its development.“By creating a structure dedicated to maintenance, we are clearly following the current trend,” Mornet observes. “We know that the regulations will most probably soon require aeronautical painting contractors to deliver the aircraft themselves.” Airplane Delivery — equally owned by the Airplane group and another, unidentified shareholder — now handles about ten aircraft per month. In 2018, the Toulouse group reported sales of €13m, following €6m the previous year.“Our objective for Airplane Delivery is to exceed the €10m mark this year, com-

To support its growth plans, the company has no shortage of projects. On the human resources side, it plans to recruit half a dozen employees this year: operators, technicians, logistics staff, quality and sales managers. But it is on the equipment front that its ambition is strongest.The company wants to double its maintenance capacity in the short term. For this purpose, it plans to move into an additional hangar, adjacent to the one it already occupies on the Toulouse-Francazal base. “Discussions are ongoing,” indicates Mornet.“This 5,000m2 hangar would also house 1,200m2 of offices and workshops. Again, we would lease the buildings. Our investment, on the order of €200,000 to €300,000, would focus exclusively on interior equipment.” But that's not all. In the medium term — within two to three years — Airplane Delivery could well move into a brand new building, alongside Airplane Painter, that would be built on land available a few hundred metres away. Discussions are under way with the management of Toulouse-Francazal airport on this subject. ■

Alexandre Léoty, reporting from Toulouse

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE smes & mid-caps

aeRotech pRo

AEROTECH PRO

Redefines mRo business model

Artist’s impression of new Aerotech Pro maintenance facility in Istres.

or the past few weeks, the French company Aerotech Pro, an innovative player in the MRO sector, has been operating new facilities located in the Jean Sarrail aeronautical hub in Istres, close to French Air Force Base 125. The company will have a total of 10,000m2 — 5,000m2 already operational, with an additional 5,000m2 to follow at the end of 2019 — to carry out its maintenance activities within the former Mercure hangar of Dassault Aviation. The hangar, which has a total surface area of 20,000m2, was bought and renovated by the city of Istres and the Aix-MarseilleProvence Metropolis. What makes Aerotech Pro’s business model different is that the company does not own any of the buildings that house its maintenance activities around the world. The company either rents the infrastructure it needs or works directly with its customers by deploying its employees in France and abroad. “I created Aerotech Pro in 2010 to offer technical assistance solutions to our customers (Camo, CSR, GSE, logistics). Our model has evolved with the idea that it was possible to propose a different concept from those of major players in MRO who have been established for several decades and own significant infrastructure, such as Lufthansa Technik, Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance, or Sa-

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armed with an innovative strategy, aerotech pro has reached an important milestone with the entry into service oF a new maintenance Facility in istres. the new site raises the company’s proFile in France and internationally.

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bena Technics. Even though we are among the smallest players in the MRO market, our model is much lighter, flexible, with infrastructure not included on our balance sheet,” explains Aerotech Pro CEO JeanBernard Garcia. The company, whose headquarters are located in Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-duRhône department), employs 80 people, some 40 of whom work on French A400M military transports based at air base BA123 in Orléans-Bricy (airworthiness management, line maintenance, logistics support, etc.). For the past six years, Aerotech Pro has also provided hangar maintenance for the Casa 212s operated by the Flight Test Centre of the French defence procurement agency DGA. It also has export subcontracts covering technical assistance for Airbus Defence aircraft (Casa, A400M, A330 MRTT) in more than a dozen countries in South America, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.The company also carries out occasional AOG (Aircraft On Ground) support operations on Casa aircraft. It is currently restoring a Casa CN235 to service for Sofema in South Africa. HEAVY MAINTENANCE.

“Our location in Istres makes this site, which can simultaneously house three A400Ms, C130s, A320s or Boeing 737s, our reference base in France. We already

had Part 145 qualifications to perform line maintenance.We have just been qualified for heavy maintenance.We hope to be selected to support Airbus and the Ministry of the Armed Forces in the maintenance of the A400M, alongside the Ministry’s existing capabilities. Our Istres site has been sized accordingly,” explains Philippe Galland, President of Aerotech Pro. At the same time, the company wants to develop its export business by taking on more complex operations (retrofitting helicopters in the Middle East, creating a maintenance base at Accra Airport in Ghana, etc.) as well as expanding its civil aviation activities. Currently, 90% of Aerotech Pro's business is in the military sector.The company aims to boost the contribution of civil aviation to total sales —€9.5m in 2018 — to 30% within three years. “We are working on the confirmation of framework contracts.We are also interested in the transition operations (maintenance, retrofit, painting, etc.) required when an aircraft changes ownership,” explains Galland.To support its development in Istres and abroad, Aerotech Pro plans to hire around 15 aeronautical maintenance technicians over the next 12 months and the same number of additional employees the following year. All will be trained internally. ■ Jean-Philippe Laurent, reporting from Lyon

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE smes & mid-caps

mRo goes digital with

aiRint’seRVices

mong the first-time exhibitors at this year’s Aircraft Interiors exhibition in Hamburg, on the Business France stand,AirInt'Services — a specialist in aircraft maintenance management — showcased digital solutions based on RFID technology that greatly simplify the work of maintenance technicians. “Until now, technicians were required to perform a long and tedious visual inspection while referring to a paper version of the Component Maintenance Manual (CMM) covering all types of parts.And in the event of repair or replacement of a part, they had to fill out a job card,” explains Sébastien Requillart, founder and executive director of AirInt'Services.“Thanks to our applications,

J. B. HEGUY

a

AIRINT'SERVICES

the bordeaux-based sme has developed 3d modelling apps opening the way to “connected maintenance”.

everything is integrated. By scanning a seat, lifejacket or cargo compartment, a technician is able to obtain a 3D image that tells him very quickly if a particular part needs to be replaced in the short term, or what service life it has. If the technician detects a defective part, he can access a fully digitised CMM (with ‘exploded’ views, technical descriptions, part references) allowing him to indicate the time limit for changing the part and, if it is urgent, to send the order for the new

Sébastien Requillart, AirInt’Services executive director, (left) and Michael Lopez, marketing director.

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part directly to the manufacturer with the exact reference. All this on a digital tablet.” Thanks to these highly innovative solutions, AirInt'Services estimates that on some maintenance checks, the aircraft is out of service for just three hours, instead of two to three days.“Some airlines tell us that they are able to make two or three additional rotations,” continues Requillart. The software, which has been developed directly by AirInt'Services, not only speeds up detection and replacement processes, but also allows for proactive maintenance and optimised spare parts purchases. “New aircraft, such as the Airbus A350, are almost entirely equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, so it should be possible to scan the entire cabin,” he explains. At present, the company is offering three different solutions: RFID Tag App (for lifejacket management and maintenance), developed with AFI KLM E&M; Cabin App (for seats and their environment); and Cargo App (for cargo compartments and everything related to them: slides, container locking systems, etc.).Air Int'Services, based in Bordeaux with a sales office in Paris, currently employs around 10 people, but expects to double the workforce in the near future. It is already working with two equipment manufacturers and about 10 airlines. ■

Jean-Baptiste Heguy

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VallaiR looks

VALLAIRE

foR lift fRom a321

the French-luxembourg sme vallair has two mro sites in France. with the backing oF its japanese shareholder, the industrialist is pinning its Future hopes on a321 cargo conversions.

wo hours' drive from Paris airports,Vallair operates 11,000m2 of workshops alongside the runway of Marcel-Dassault airport in Châteauroux (Indre), close to the A20 motorway linking Paris and Toulouse.“It gives us a logistical advantage, ensuring our customers get quick delivery,” says Armel Jezequel, CEO of this Luxembourg-based company specialising in trading & leasing, cargo conversions, aircraft MRO, engines, aero-structures & painting, and aircraft disassembly Behind the giant doors of the Chateauroux facility, which can accommodate an entire aircraft without its tailfin, the company dismantles, repairs and stores engines, engine parts and aerostructure and cabin interior parts, mainly from A320, Boeing 737 and ATR72 aircraft. It even offers aircraft disassembly through a partnership with Veolia. Vallair also operates another facility at Montpellier

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airport (Hérault), which employs 80 people, while its sales teams are based in Luxembourg. DISASSEMBLY.

Prior to World War 2, the Châteauroux site manufactured B152 fighter aircraft for Marcel Bloch, later Marcel Dassault, at a time when everything was assembled by hand. Of course, more than 80 years later,Vallair and its 25 employees have plenty of space at their disposal.This available space makes it possible to store in controlled-atmosphere conditions a wide range of engines, ailerons, flaps, air inlets, landing gear....As well as cabin elements such as seats, sometimes in leather, toilet units and galleys. “We can dismantle an entire aircraft, i.e. up to 800-900 part references depending on the aircraft,” says Jezequel, who notes that humidity control helps to preserve aluminium alloys. Outside, paved surfaces offer parking space for 25 aircraft simultaneously. It should be recalled that Châteauroux served as a NATO base until 1967. After reception and inspection of an aircraft, the process starts by draining the fluids. Then disassembly begins; parts are dusted and repaired when necessary.The company also has surface treatment

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capabilities, namely stripping, polishing and refurbishing.“Engines are in high demand.They leave quickly after overhaul,” remarks Jezequel, who notes that demand is mainly focused on CFM and Pratt &Whitney engines. A few meters away, sheetmetal workers are working on an engine air inlet while a painter, with his face protected by a mask, is busy making an aileron as white as it was when it first left the factory. FLEXIBILITY.

Once this work has been completed, all the parts are photographed and entered into an internally developed database, so that they can be offered for sale by the marketing teams. In short, the process involves a series of specialised tasks, part by part, calling for highly skilled workers. Two engineers are in charge of supervising the reassembly of the engine nacelles, cowling, control surfaces, etc. “This is what gives us the most flexibility,” Jezequel explains.

key figuRes created in

2003 140

workforce

people

sales

€20m shareholders:

grégoire lebigot, Japanese investment fund Jia

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Similar methods are used at the otherVallair facility, at Montpellier-Mauguio airport, where the company took over the activities of Latécoère Aéroservices in 2016. In its two hangars covering approximately 5,000m2, the company can accommodate up to three aircraft at the same time.The Montpellier site, which employs 80 people, is capable of performing aircraft conversions, including cabin reconfiguration. A few weeks ago,Vallair appointed a site manager, Claude Zambano. From the time the aircraft enters maintenance, the repair cycle takes between two and six weeks “until the aircraft is fully restored to the customer's standards and colours,” says Armel Jezequel, who is in charge of the industrial part of the company, whose objective is to increase the share of external customers, namely other leasing companies. 15,000 PARTS.

For engines, the MRO cycle can take up to two months.“An engine contains 15,000 parts,” says the manager. In Châteauroux,Vallair is looking to scale up operations to increase its volume of work. A British workshop manager, experienced in aircraft engine mechanics, has just been recruited. “One of the challenges of this business remains the certification of engines, so that they can fly again after repair in our workshops. And the language of certification is English,” Jezequel observes. Because its market is global, but its footprint is European, Vallair has taken a gamble. Grégoire Lebigot has set his sights on the A321 with an original idea: to transform this passenger platform into a cargo plane, in order to meet the exponential growth of e-commerce and its rapid logistics flows, which are highly compatible with a twinengine aircraft. “We have two aircraft being modified at two

AIR&COSMOS

VALLAIRE

MRO SPECIAL ISSUE

subcontractors, ST Aerospace in Singapore and Precision in the United States. Our objective is to lease them to airlines,” says the manager. Why the A321? It is a recent Airbus model, and maintenance and servicing are facilitated by the availability of parts, notes Lebigot, who has managed to sell the concept to Qantas Airways.The latter signed an agreement for an initial aircraft. It is expected to be delivered to the Australian airline in 2020, which will operate it on behalf of the Australian Post Office. The two Australian companies are bound by a seven-year partnership, which gives postal customers access to the airline's cargo aircraft and the holds of its passenger aircraft. Qantas will eventually operate three Airbus A321s converted into cargo aircraft. Renamed the A321P2F, the 44.51m-long aircraft can carry up to 14 containers on the main deck and ten others in the hold. This gives a total capacity of 27.9t and a range of 4,260km.

In April 2018, backed by its new shareholder, the Japanese investment fund JAI,Vallair acquired six A321s built between 1997 and 1999:MSN 835,placed with Qantas, along with MSN 891, 677, 827, 968 and 974. Lebigot aims to offer the same conversion on the A320neo. Launched in 2015, the A321 and A320P2F programmes are the fruit of a collaboration between Singapore's ST Aerospace,Airbus and its German subsidiary Elbe FlugzeugWerke (EFW).ST Aerospace is responsible for the technical development phase until the SupplementalType Certificate (STC) is issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).Airbus contributes to the programme by providing original equipment data and certification support, while EFW manages the overall programme and is responsible for marketing and sales. The goal is to launch the activity, demonstrate its relevance, and then scale up operations in theVallair workshops. ■ Stéphane Frachet, reporting from Châteauroux

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE smes & mid-caps FUEL CELLS NEXT?

€20m in sales to €35m this year, and probably 40 next year,” says Naulleau.This has been achieved mainly through organic growth, but also external growth in certain cases:

“We are seeing increasingly strong complementarity between CEMG, CTS and Ateliers Bigata,” adds Dutertre. “This clearly reassures our customers,because nothing is subcontracted, all the skills are on site,which is the best guarantee of on-time delivery,because we are not dependent on a service provider.We have control of the production chain,” remarks Sébastien Gaffet, CEMG general manager. To achieve further growth, Ateliers Bigata and its sister companies are exploring several ideas:“We are reaching the end of a digitisation process,” announces Gaffet.“We have digitised every workstation, every piece of information, to achieve real-time management, before the customer integrates RFID tracking of equipment next year.”At CTS,“We are preparing to strengthen our geographical positioning as close as possible to our customers, hence the new offices

the company acquired Cogisys — which specialises in network and telecom architecture for the civil and defence sectors — for €2.5m at the beginning of September. In the process, it acquired a new major customer account: Thales. “A company like ours, with 350-400 employees, on the borderline between small/medium and intermediate-sized, has the capability to meet the demands of large groups such as Airbus or Boeing. The idea behind our various operations is to be able to carry out as many missions as possible ourselves,” Naulleau explains.

in Lille and Lyon, and several external growth opportunities are under consideration,”Dutertre declares. More generally,“we want to increase our ability to make comprehensive engineering proposals — industrial projects all the way through to delivery,” says Naulleau.With one particular objective in mind: the fuel cell, which could replace auxiliary power units for aircraft applications. “It's a huge engineering project, it's happening now and we want to be part of it,” Naulleau declares. The project sets a path to pursue the company’s rapid growth, which until now has been anticipated and controlled. ■ Jean Berthelot , reporting from Bordeaux

atelieRs bigata steeRs steady couRse to gRowth Founded over 70 years ago, ateliers bigata has steadily increased in size through a combination oF organic and external growth. with its sister companies, cts and cemg, ateliers bigata is about to move up a category — From sme to intermediate-size company.

ounded in 1942, the Gironde-based company Ateliers Bigata “is specialised in the maintenance of pressurised industrial equipment,” explains its president,Thomas Naulleau. Initially focused on gas generators for cars, it made the transition to aerospace and defence some 30 years later, and this is still its core business today. Since it was taken over by the current president in 2008,Ateliers Bigata has forged partnerships with some of the major players in the sector, including Safran, ArianeGroup and Air Liquide. “At the time, we also expanded the technical capabilities of our workshops to better meet the demands of other manufacturers, including airframers like Airbus, Boeing, Dassault, Bombardier, etc.” But the manager wanted to go further and, in December 2008, created a sister company, Consulting and Technical Support (CTS), whose CEO is Hugo Dutertre. “We wanted to develop ourselves through HR, thanks to this service company which is a design office. Our objective was to meet the needs of clients, which are often the same as our own, particularly in terms of recruiting technical personnel,” Naulleau recalls. SALES DOUBLED IN TWO YEARS.

“We are present in Bordeaux, but also in Toulouse, Marignane, Paris, Brest, Rennes, and we will soon have offices in Lille and Lyon,” says Dutertre. CTS is also active in about ten countries for specific missions. In 2015, the two companies were joined by CEMG, based in the Paris region, which completes the maintenance offer for onboard emergency systems for aircraft and helicopters. As a result of these operations, Ateliers Bigata has gradually grown, almost doubling in size over five years.“We have gone from

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new

equip’aeRo ceo aims high

he appointment was announced only recently. Thierry Schwab became the new CEO of the Gers-based company Equip’Aero at the beginning of September. His mission, alongside the founder and president of the 130-strong SME, JeanPierre Thulliez, is to support the growth of this equipment manufacturer and MRO specialist. For this seasoned professional, who has worked with Safran, Zodiac, Revima and Socomore, the five-year roadmap is as clear as it is ambitious.“The company posted sales of €17.3m last year,” he says. “This year, we are targeting €19m. The objective is to exceed the €30m mark by 2024.” For this reason, Equip’Aero relies on what makes it special. “The complementarity between our two main activities,” says the new CEO.

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TWO LINES OF BUSINESS.

When he founded Equip’Aero in 1993, Jean-Pierre Tulliez intended to apply his experience, acquired within the Liebherr Aerospace group, to a segment of the MRO sector that was then in the process of being organised.“I wanted to provide solutions to the market, in terms of cost reduction and turnaround time,” he explains. “I wanted to show that an SME, positioned alongside large groups, could meet commitments in terms of responsiveness and deadlines. The market response was excellent.”The company has grown over the

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EQUIPAERO

equip’aero, based in l'islejourdain in the gers department, has a relatively atypical proFile in the mro sector, since it is also an equipment manuFacturer. the 130-employee company, which posted sales oF €17.3m last year, has welcomed a new ceo in recent weeks. his objective is to reach the €30m sales

years, relying on its expertise in pneumatic and hydraulic systems, as well as electromechanical components and fuel management. “We have deployed a lot of energy and financial resources to be able to provide the most comprehensive service possible,” says Thulliez.“The core of our added value is our knowledge of the architecture of all the systems on aircraft currently in service. We now have 40 test benches covering all aircraft families. Our experience in the maintenance of aeronautical equipment means we can provide ergonomic and innovative technical solutions in all phases of the design and manufacture of test benches.” But that is not all. True to his own OEM experience, the new CEO very quickly decided to develop another activity in parallel: that of aircraft equipment manufacturer.“It's a rather atypical positioning within our sector,” he admits. “We have two lines of business, while many MROs have a simple ‘repair shop’ approach.We have always wanted to go further, by using our know-how to design optimised replacement equipment,

while seeking to reduce costs. Our growth stems from this dual positioning, which is a source of innovation.” U.S. AMBITIONS.

Today, the company is structured around two entities: Equip’Aero Services (MRO), which has around 100 employees and should generate sales of €15m this year, and Equip’Aero Technic (equipment manufacturer), which employs 30 people and will generate €4m in sales.“In our MRO business, we are aiming for a 50% increase in the next five years, while our OEM activity should triple over this period,” remarks Thulliez, who lists customers such as Airbus, Dassault Aviation, Safran, but also many airlines around the world. The company intends to consolidate this historical international presence.“We have a structure in the United States, which we want to develop significantly in the coming years,” he declares. “This market is particularly strategic for us.” The company, which is constantly expanding its teams, could have 200 employees by 2024. ■

Alexandre Léoty, reporting from Toulouse

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antaVia looks to syneRgy foR gRowth part oF the u.s. group ametek since 2007, antavia is a specialist in aircraFt equipment repair. the sme with 100 employees, based in campsas, tarn-et-garonne, is targeting more than €21.5m in sales this year, compared to €18.5m last year.

«o

the structure, engine and APUs, we can work on all aircraft components,” says Ismaël Fadili, the company's sales and marketing director. “Few MRO providers of our size offer this diversity of skills.” Onethird of Antavia's business is wheels and brake; 20%, cabin equipment; and 15%, landing gear.The company also offers ser-

ANTAVIA

ur mission? Remove the stone from our customers' shoe.” Enthusiastic about the idea of satisfying out-of-the-ordinary requests, as well as meeting more “standard” demands, Laurent Bouissou, CEO of Antavia for the past 12 years, wends his way with ease through the various carefully designed zones of his brand new Tarn-et-Garonne factory — a 3,200m2 industrial site that was built at the end of 2016 with an investment of €4m, incorporating the principles of lean manufacturing and 5S methodology.“We are seeking to preserve our DNA as an SME, which makes us responsive and flexible, while resolutely leveraging the power of the group to which we belong,” the CEO declares. Specialised in the maintenance and repair of aircraft equipment,Antavia was founded in 1989. After spending some time under the ownership of Serge Dumas, the current head of Gillis Aero, it was taken over by the Ametek group in 2007 — an American giant with more than 15,000 employees and some $5bn in sales.“Ametek is a 100% shareholder in Antavia, but we are very independent in terms of our strategy,” says Bouissou.The company’s roadmap is twofold. On the one hand, it is focused on strengthening its positions on its markets, while, on the other, it is seeking commercial synergies with the group’s other MRO entities, based in Europe, the United States and Asia.

Laurent Bouissou has been at the head of the company for the past 12 years.

vices in lighting systems, hydraulic equipment, rewinding and power generation systems. SALES TARGET.

BROAD RANGE OF SKILLS.

In terms of markets, Antavia, which also has a 2,000m2 production site inVilleron, in theVal-d'Oise department, offers a wide range of services.“With the exception of

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market. “It is a real group approach that is emerging,” Bouissou explains.“This was illustrated by the creation of an entity in Asia, in Singapore, which meets the needs expressed by each company.And now, we are building a structure in order to achieve better coordination in terms of customers and geographical areas.”This strategy should enable the company to consolidate growth. Antavia, which recorded sales of €18.5m in 2018, hopes to exceed €21.5m this year, an increase of nearly 17%. “We work with all the major players in the sector, including aircraft manufacturers,

Another major focus is group synergy. Since last year, Antavia has been looking for technical and geographical complementarity with the various entities of the Ametek group positioned on the MRO

system integrators and airlines,” notes Bouissou.“Our great strength: never having lost a major customer, while attracting new ones.This has enabled us to achieve an average annual growth rate of €1m since our alliance with Ametek.”To support its development, Antavia plans to recruit five people in the coming months, in both Campsas and Villeron. ■

Alexandre Léoty, reporting from Toulouse

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aeRotec concept looking foR new RecRuits aerotec concept, which has been part oF the expleo group (Formerly assystem) since 2016, provides design, certiFication, production and mro services For the aviation sector From its blagnac (haute-garonne) and graulhet (tarn) sites. the company, which has 65 employees and recorded sales oF €13m last year, is investing in its industrial Facilities and looking For new recruits. it also plans to set up an internal training centre.

he company’s history dates back to 1989, with the creation of Aerotec by Philippe Marty in Graulhet (Tarn).The company was specialised in aviation equipment repair and maintenance (general aviation, business aviation and helicopters). 20 years later, the MRO provider obtained its own Design Organisation Approval (DOA-Part 21J). In 2010 this was transferred to a new company called Aerotec Concept — a design office located in Blagnac, on the outskirts of Toulouse. “This creation originated from my meeting with Philippe Marty,” explains Johan Clochet, the group's current CEO.“On the one hand, we had

A. LEOTY

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a Part 145 with Aerotec, and, on the other, a DOA with Aerotec Concept. It seemed interesting to us, in terms of added value, to also be able to benefit from a Production Organisation Approval (POA-Part 21G).” This was achieved the same year, when Aerotec obtained the latter approval, which it needed to become a manufacturing organisation. Two years later, however, the company came up against an unexpected challenge: a large unpaid debt from one of its customers. “It took several years to win our case and obtain payment,” recalls Clochet.“We got things back on track, but this episode led us to ask ourselves a number of strategic

Johan Clochet at the Blagnac facility, which will undergo a major upgrade in the coming months.

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questions.” In 2016, when Aerotec had just signed two major contracts, uncertainty was increasing. “Above all, we didn't want to make the same mistake again,” the manager recalls. “To absorb orders of this size, we needed to strengthen our structure. And at that very time, the Assystem group was showing strong interest in our design office activity.”A tie-up was quickly concluded. In October 2016,Aerotec became a subsidiary of Aerotec Concept.Assystem (now Expleo) acquired 79% of the total capital, compared to 15% for Johan Clochet and 6% for Philippe Marty. THREE SITES.

“On 1 January 2017, we moved into new 2,500m2 premises in Blagnac, near the runway, while retaining our two other locations, one in Blagnac and the other in Graulhet,” explains Clochet. “From then on, we integrated all the approvals — DOA, POA and Part 145 — into a single offer, which naturally signifies added value.And we are currently considering the possibility of using Expleo's Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO) approval.”The company now intends to renovate its new Blagnac premises from top to bottom. To do this, an investment of €120,000 is planned in two tranches between the end of 2019 and mid-2020. TRAINING CENTRE PROJECT.

Altogether, across its three sites, the group employs 65 permanent employees, plus some 40 backup staff. Ten positions are currently open for recruitment in a wide range of skills: electrical engineers, engineering team managers, airworthiness monitoring technicians, cable fitters, sheetmetal workers, etc.“Like many companies in the sector, we have trouble finding the right people,” remarks Clochet. “This is why we are currently considering the creation of a training course leading to an Aerotec diploma, in conjunction with a local school, on a work/study basis.The objective is to instil our DNA into the professionals who will join us. In the long term, this is a way of protecting our industrial ecosystem.” The group, which recorded sales of €13m in 2018, is targeting significant growth this year. ■

Alexandre Léoty, reporting from Toulouse

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aeRofoRm focuses

AEROFORM COMPOSITES

on composite RepaiR

Radome repair using an Aeroform bonding console. aeroForm composites, a worldrenowned expert in the repair oF composite parts, is oFFering support services For this activity, which is growing rapidly in the mro sector.

ocated close to Lyon, in Saint-GenisLaval, Aeroform Composites is a discreet but essential player in the MRO sector. Founded in 2001 as a French subsidiary of the UK company Aeroform Limited, jointly owned by the French company Diatex, independent since 2012 (Diatex is still a shareholder), the SME managed by Franck Martel has 12 employees and annual sales of two million euros. Above all, it is the only global manufacturer of hot equipment for both manufacture and repair of composite structural parts. In other words, the company, through its design office, is as capable of developing autoclaves, ovens and repair equipment (bonders, infrared lamps, rapid drying units, etc.) as it is of modifying equipment already in service — an autoclave for example — for the repair of composite parts.

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This dual competence is currently unrivalled on the market.“Some structural repairs require parts to be subjected to external pressures that only an autoclave can provide, for example to limit edge effects. The use of an autoclave ensures homogeneous pressure on the part, to avoid porosity...,” Martel explains. While the market for autoclaves to cure parts in production is highly competitive, the repair equipment market is a niche in which Aeroform Composites stands out by focusing on research and development. “R&D is a strategic focus for us. In 2018, we signed a contract with BPI Innovation to launch the R&D phase and industrialise several new products.The first of these, focusing on repair, will be unveiled by the end of 2019.We have developed this tool based on customer feedback to best meet their requirements. It will be integrated into the overall concept of the factory of the future.” GROWING DEMAND.

Present in 43 countries through a network of distributors,Aeroform Composites works with airlines, defence companies, tier 1 and tier 2 subcontractors and companies focused on MRO such as the Swiss-based SR Technics

but also Stelia Aerospace, Safran, Daher, Air France Industries... Each of these sectors represents one-quarter of the company's aeronautical activity, which itself accounts for 90% of Aeroform Composites' sales.The remaining 10% is generated by various sectors, such as water sports and motor racing — the Ferrari and McLaren Formula One teams are Aeroform Composites customers. “Since becoming independent in 2012, we have significantly expanded our international presence. Today, we know which type of repair to choose depending on the situation: hail damage, bird impact, lightning strike or collision with a vehicle on the ground. But we must not forget the problems that can arise on the upstream side, during the production phase: making a composite part is expensive.The part undergoes multiple inspections during the different phases of production to check that it meets requirements.Thanks to our solutions, the detection of porosity or delamination during this process gives the opportunity to repair the part, rather than discard it.” In an aeronautical context marked by production ramp-ups, Aeroform Composites is positioning itself to provide support for players in this sector.The latter are looking to speed up the application phases for resin, mastics, adhesives... Aeroform Composites has developed a system that reduces the cure phase by ten — up to 48 hours initially — in order to accelerate the production process. Another innovation initiated in 2019: the training and support of MRO centres in the repair of composite parts.“We offer certified training courses and we also provide the necessary repair equipment to maintenance centres that want to add composite repair to their skill sets. There is heavy demand. We are regularly consulted on the requirements (space, tooling...) and the costs that this entails.”Two MRO centres have already indicated their interest in this support service from Aeroform Composites. ■ Jean-Philippe Laurent, reporting from Lyon

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addeV mateRials focuses on aViation addev materials — a specialist in technical Films, adhesive tapes, liquid and chemical products For mro providers — is Focusing on the aviation sector to pursue its international expansion.

yons-based Addev Materials was created in 2006. Led by chairman Pascal Nanobny and CEO Julien Duvanel, the holding company started life as Micel, a company specialising in electrical insulation and technical films based in Saint-Chamond (Loire department). Duvanel was Micel's marketing director at the time when the company was led by Nanobny.Together, they undertook the strategic shift towards adhesive bonding technologies by acquiring several companies before taking over Micel in 2006, reorganising the group into business units and continuing its expansion. After buying more than a dozen companies in 13 years, including Toulouse-based Dimex in 2015 (customised packaging of chemicals for the aviation industry) and U.S.-based VMS Aircraft (San Diego - distribution of technical products for the aerospace industry), Addev Materials has become more than a pure distributor of technical films (Tedlar, Kapton, Nomex, Mylar...), adhesive tapes (3M,Tesa, Nitto Saint-Gobain...) and liquid and chemical products (Heinkel, Exxon Mobil, 3M, Zip Chem...). It has diversified to acquire expertise in cutting and custom packaging — an added value that allows the company to better respond to the real needs of its customers. The group currently has 600 employees at 22 European and North American locations: France (10 sites), North America (5),

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England (2), Poland (2), Belgium (1), Germany (1) and Dubai (1). Present in the energy, automotive and medical sectors, Addev Materials has made aeronautics a priority area for its development. Created in 2015, its Aerospace & Defence division now represents €45m of the group's total 2019 sales of €140 million, compared with the €5m generated by aviation-related business in 2014. The company aims to triple its size in this sector by 2022. “We have always been in aeronautics, but more as a second-tier activity. In 2015, our customers — whether airframers such as Airbus or Boeing, airlines such as United Airlines, Qantas and Air France, toptier subcontractors such as Safran or MRO providers such as Sabena technics — asked us to reinforce our support service for them,” explains Duvanel. ADDEV MATERIALS

STRONG CSR COMMITMENT.

Through the “custom repackaging” of the products it distributes, Addev Materials is strongly committed to the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). “We are aware that we work with chemicals. These are delivered to us in standard packaging by their manufacturers.We apply a customised repackaging process that meets our customers' operational expectations, facilitates use of the product, boosts productivity, limits

waste and promotes product recycling,” the manager explains. Addev Materials took possession of a new 5,000m2 site in Toulouse in July to upgrade its custom chemicals packaging unit. The group also acquired two UK-based companies in March: Pexa and PSG.These acquisitions enable Addev Materials to expand its range of adhesives, sealants and chemicals to include paints and coatings, through tailor-made mixing, tinting and repackaging processes. “We are pushing ahead rapidly but with a clear, long-term strategic vision.We have identified our needs in resources and tools and will leverage our past experience to pursue our development. Our future growth will therefore be both organic and external,” Duvanel remarks.To achieve its growth objectives — and in particular to secure funding for its recent acquisitions — Addev Materials completed a significant fund-raising operation in early 2019. Tikehau Capital, a French asset management and investment group, has acquired a minority stake in the group, which aims to achieve total sales of €300m by 2023. ■ Jean-Philippe Laurent, reporting from Lyon

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RecoRd gRowth foR

aiR suppoRt

or the past two years, it has been a woman who holds the reins of the Gers company Air Support. “It's rather rare in this sector,” smiles Sabine Tertre, who in mid-2017 acquired some 70% of the capital of this company specialising in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft components, alongside the Toulouse-based IXO Private Equity fund. “I knew the company well, since I joined it 20 years ago as an administrative and financial director,” she explains. “At the time, we were no more than 10 employees.Things have changed a lot since....” Founded in 1992 by François Thibert, the SME was originally based in Colomiers, in Haute-Garonne, a stone's throw from Airbus' factories. “In 2012, we wanted to expand there, but the project was not successful,” recalls Tertre. “We therefore broadened the scope of our search and started from scratch here in Pujaudran, in the Gers.”The company injected €3m into the construction, on a 3.5 acre site, of a 2,500m2 building, including 2,000m2 of workshops, in a newly created business park.“There were only fields around us,” she recalls.“For five years, we had no neighbours!” Today, things are starting to change and the area is gradually filling up. But the quality of life remains particularly attractive for Air Sup-

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bought out by sabine tertre in mid-2017, gers-based air support, a specialist in aeronautical mro, has posted record growth oF 40%, with sales oF €23.5m For the year ending 31st march 2019. the company, which employs 130 people, is currently reorganising its 2,000m2 Facility according to lean manuFacturing principles and is looking to expand.

port's 130 employees.“In five years, we have achieved 154% growth,” observes Tertre. In 2018-2019 alone (ending 31st March), the company's sales jumped by 40% to €23.5m. “We are aiming for further growth, on the order of 15% this year,” she predicts. EXTERNAL GROWTH OPERATION ON THE HORIZON.

More than 60% of Air Support's sales is generated outside France, mainly in Europe, Asia and North America. Its activity is mainly in the MRO sector. A promising market in which the company, certified Part 145 by AESA, Transport Canada, CAAC and the Federal Aviation Administration, has seized significant opportunities in recent years, providing services for customers such as Safran, General Electric, Air France Industries and Lufthansa Technik.“We perform repair and maintenance of engine components, as well as electronic and electromechanical equipment,” remarks Tertre. The company also provides technical assistance, with around 40 employees positioned on the Airbus final assembly line.The company specialises in cabin seats.“We are also developing Part 145 business in after-sales service

for seats,” says the manager;“We are working on aircraft around the world.”To consolidate its position, alongside organic growth, the company is currently working on an external growth operation related to this technical assistance activity. Air Support is accompanying its development with strategic investments. Since 2017, €1.5m has been injected into the installation of new kerosene, fuel oil and air test benches. But the company, which aims to exceed €50m in sales and 250 employees by 2025, wants to go even further.Air Support, which will recruit around 15 people this year, wants to transform its site into a “maintenance workshop of the future”, based on lean manufacturing principles (elimination of waste and flow disruptions). It is currently carrying out a major reorganisation of its facility, which involves more than €150,000 in investment. “We expect more speed and visibility from it,” says Tertre, whose company is participating in the SME-ETI Ambition programme. In order to prepare for the future, the company is also working on a project to extend its premises, which could well come to fruition in the next two to three years. ■

Alexandre Léoty, reporting from Toulouse

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MRO SPECIAL ISSUE Jobs & RecRuitment

AFI KLM

O. CONSTANT

mRo sectoR no longeR the pooR man of the aViation industRy

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AFMAE

the job market in the mro sector is very tight. in some skill areas, there are even shortages. there are multiple reasons For this state oF aFFairs: Failure to anticipate, inability to attract new talent, international competition and talent exodus to other sectors. there are multiple consequences and responses, too. we review a sector that still has much to oFFer.

w

hen we started our investigation for this special report on the maintenance, repair and overh a u l (MRO) sector, we were warned:“In some ways, the MRO sector is the poor man of

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the aviation industry.”Well, it depends how you look at it. Admittedly, maintenance contractors offer less appeal than the airframers or airlines.The job market is also overstretched in a number of skills. Nonetheless, it is a strategic link in the aeronautics chain, which is evolving and hiring. Career prospects are rich and varied, salary conditions are relatively good, and training opportunities expand a little more with each new school year. The MRO sector recruits candidates in all skills and at all

levels: maintenance technicians, mechanics, technical representatives, fitters, technical office staff, machinists, metalworkers, engineers, but also project managers, IT developers, logisticians, sales representatives, data analysts... “We have seen strong and steady demand for several years in the MRO sector,” says Emmanuel Arribat, manager of the recruitment firm Hays in Toulouse. “For maintenance jobs, the market is overstretched, with some shortages. Maintenance technicians are in greatest

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demand.The difficulty stems from the fact that customers are looking for profiles with a background in the aeronautics sector, plus a high degree of versatility. However, such multi-skill candidates are rare.” TRAINING PROGRAMMES.

baccalauréat with three options (structure, systems and avionics). “With Air France Industries and Dassault Falcon Service, we have also started a ‘best practices’ project. We are working together to improve the accuracy of the actions of young people in training.” IN-HOUSE TRAINING.

Clearly, training is an element that attracts young people who opt for the MRO sector. It must be said that given the scope of responsibilities in terms of safety, the sector requires a high level of experience and continuous qualifications.A young mechanic tells us that he left his previous company, where he was happy and with a good training programme, to move to another company where he could acquire additional skills, which would look good on his CV. Manaero — the temporary employment agency specialising in aeronautical maintenance jobs created by Sabena technics to complement its recruitment efforts — relies heavily on training.“We are all struggling to find skilled labour.We are betting on aviation training,A330, Boeing 737..., for our temporary workers," says Catherine Calippe-Laudat, Director of the Manaero agency.“A type qualification costs between 8,000 and 10,000 euros (excluding salary

DR

Arribat is nevertheless optimistic about the sector's ability to satisfy requirements, “because it is in the process of organising itself. Even if there is a certain urgency in the short term, more and more companies have decided to launch their own training schemes, rather than finding people who are already operational. In addition, they are gradually broadening their recruitment criteria.” All the companies surveyed, from the smallest to the largest, share this view, namely the need for training and broader criteria. Each according to its own resources. Because it is obviously easier to attract and train young people when you are called, for example, AFI KLM E&M, which has received some 3,000 applications since January 2019, than for smaller players ... “As far as we are concerned, even if our activity often requires us to recruit within very short deadlines, we try to anticipate. This is why we participate in courses offered by the Pôle emploi employment

agency and the UIMM (Union des Industries et Métiers de la Métallurgie). For this year's session, we have recruited two young people on professionalisation contracts, whom we hope to hire in six months' time,” says Régine Robert, HR manager of Air Support, an MRO provider specialising in embedded aeronautical equipment.“In addition, we are broadening our selection criteria. For our mechanical activity, for example, we not only recruit people from the aeronautics sector. We also welcome people from the automotive or agricultural machinery sectors, where there are transferable skills.” Laurent Vincent, Director of CMO (Construction, Maintenance and Operations) training at the AFMAé-CFA des Métiers de l'Aérien, an aviation training organisation, notes that companies are more committed than in the past to training young people.“In particular, they have become aware that people are not only in training when they are in a training centre, but also when they are at home.They have an important role to play in the educational process.” Concerning the maintenance sector,AFMAé-CFA des Métiers de l'Aérien trains mechanics and aeronautical technicians through three types of course: BTS diploma, mentions complémentaires, and professional

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costs). Manaero bears this cost, relying on loyalty and brand image to achieve a payoff in the longer term. As soon as a permanent contract is possible with our clients, we offer it to our candidates.” She makes no secret of the fact that training reforms, including big cutbacks in government funding, have hit the agency hard. Nevertheless, in a sign that Manaero is responding to real needs, since its creation in 2018, the company has constantly expanded its customer base. Calippe-Laudat observes that the sector is very keen on temporary employment, given the fluctuating nature, and often the urgency, of missions.“But you have workers who only want temporary contracts, because it allows them avoid the routine, to change when they want, and also to get paid more.” FAILURE TO ANTICIPATE.

Today, some profiles such as qualified mechanics are very hard to find. One of the reasons often put forward by the people we have spoken to is a lack of anticipation by companies within the sector. “During the aeronautics downturn in 2003-2004, for example, schools trained fewer mechanics. In addition, many of them went abroad,” Calippe-Laudat remarks.At the time we interviewed her, her team had a mission to recruit 10 people for a Bordeaux-based company. “We don't know where to find them! We are also looking in neighbouring countries, but as a temporary employment agency, the administrative procedures are complex, and social charges make contracts difficult. In addition, some skills on certain aircraft are scarce. Right now, for example, I have a Portuguese mechanic.” As several companies point out, the competition to attract talent that is raging throughout the aviation sector includes MRO. “Companies steal technicians from each other and poach candidates.The demand is huge, so is the labour shortage,” observes one of them. “The MRO market is not a specific market.Air France Industries needs the same skillsets as airframers, equipment manufacturers, engine manufacturers...,” says Pierre Mie, HR director at Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M).

AEROTECH PRO

IMAGE DEFICIT.

In this competition, it is clear that the maintenance sector is suffering from an image deficit within the aviation manufacturing

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sector. Not to mention that, in general, the industry is not perceived as very attractive. L.G. is one of the minority of female systems mechanics on the market. She found her vocation totally by chance: “I was working for a sports diploma and got injured. So I took a reorientation test, which suggested three professions: automotive mechanic, catering and aeronautical mechanic.This result surprised me. I had never heard of this last profession before! After training, I did my internship at Dassault Falcon Service where I have been working now for ten years. It was a real discovery and I fell in love with mechanical engineering!” “At AFI KLM E&M, our difficulty is that Air France has a very good image as an employer, but the MRO branch is less well known. People have no idea that we do all these jobs,” says Nicolas Robineau, digital communication & press officer at AFI KLM E&M.“We had to develop communication tools and campaigns that are more suited to today's job seekers and raise the visibility of our activities so that they are better known. We also run campaigns with local actors such as the Pôle emploi employment agency to present AFI KLM E&M and our activities.” In some cases, a company's geographical location makes things even more complicated. “At Revima, we also sometimes have a challenge in attracting executives who do not necessarily dream of moving to Normandy,” explains Olivier Legrand, CEO of Revima Group, a specialist in the overhaul and repair

of APUs and landing gear.“We recruit managers from all over France with attractive proposals.Working on the employer brand is therefore very important in a very dynamic market. Our main objective is to make our candidates dream of joining us because we are a company on a human scale, very agile, with opportunities for development and taking on important responsibilities.” SPREADING THE WORD.

On the upstream side, training centres also need to make a major effort to attract candidates.“It is difficult to recruit after the baccalauréat because careers in maintenance are not necessarily known or attractive for new graduates.We see it at trade fairs, where we have to explain what maintenance involves because they don't know at all,” says Loïc Lavigne, director of the new Bordeaux INP engineering school, ENSPIMA, which opened in September at the Evering Institute (ex-IMA) at the University of Bordeaux. For many years, the latter has been carrying out ambitious projects in the field of aeronautics and maintenance. It is the only French university to offer a five-year degree course in aeronautical maintenance.“We participate in many fairs, we go to high schools, we organise open door events... But we can't manage to provide enough students for our industrial partners.We would like to double enrolments in the five-year degree course, hence the creation of this engineering school.” The creation of the Evering Institute was announced by the University of Bordeaux

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at the Paris Air Show in June.The institute is dedicated to higher education, research and innovation in the field of engineering and maintenance, in order to meet the growing training and innovation needs of the civil and military aerospace sector, and in particular the rapidly developing MRO market. Thierry Brazeau, who is on the staff of the Pays de Loire Aeronautical Campus, notes that despite everything, more and more young people are attracted by helicopter or aircraft maintenance.“On the other hand, I note that young people are more cautious today than before about mobility. However, MRO is a sector where mobility is essential.”

contractors are foreign temporary employment agencies that source French employees and find them jobs everywhere, including France, which creates unfair competition.” TALENT EXODUS.

“When we see the energy that aircraft manufacturers invest in the MRO business, where safety is an absolute priority, I do not entirely agree with the idea that this sector is the poor man of aeronautics,” says Michel Raguideau, National Head of Aeronautics, Space and Defence Activities at Crit aéro, an HR services company for the aeronautics industry. “What we can observe, however, is the difficulty for some employers to retain their skills in the face of international competition.” Raguideau insists that the MRO sector today must be viewed from an international perspective.“Some countries, such as the Gulf States, have invested heavily in maintenance skills and have offered ‘golden bridges’ to European technicians to come and supervise local workers. Thus, there is strong competition with these workers, local mechanics without qualifications, paid at local salaries and supervised by staff from Western countries.” For Michel Raguideau, this system partly explains the tight situation on the French market.“There is a permanent flow of people who are trained and qualified is permanent.

PICKING AND CHOOSING.

Candidates, meanwhile, are fully aware that they are in a strong position.They can afford to pick and choose.“I joined Sabena technics 32 years ago,” says a metalworker.“I am from Saint Malo, and the Dinard site is very close to my home.Today in my profession, we receive job offers almost every day. But I also stay here for the quality of life. In addition, my company has given me the opportunity to travel worldwide.” Sometimes, the skills sought are so specific that candidates can be counted almost on the fingers of both hands. AeroTech Pro is an SME specialising in services in the military sector, which often requires advanced skillsets, on specific aircraft and software, in addition to the fact that candidates must possess defence security clearance.“Qualified profiles on the A400M or A330 MRTT are rare, with low availability,” says Marion Honorat, HR manager at AeroTech Pro. “So we use civilian skills that can sometimes be transposed, but more often than not, former military personnel remain the best option to meet customer requirements.”

But then people go elsewhere, leaving few staff for maintenance centres in Europe. Moreover — and this is only my personal opinion — I think that maintenance is an activity that can be relocated in a flash and that as long as these disparities in wages and conditions persist at the international level, maintenance centres will tend to move to countries outside Europe and we will only retain online maintenance on well-known aircraft models in our country.” WORK-STUDY PROGRAMMES.

Like temporary employment, work-study programmes are becoming an increasingly prominent feature on the MRO landscape, even if their value has not always been sufficiently appreciated by young people. Sabena technics took in more than 200 work-study programme participants across all its sites during the 2018/2019 school year. “The work-study programme is a sure way to transmit real know-how in our businesses, particularly in aeronautical maintenance,” explains Céline Caroff, human resources director at Sabena technics' Dinard site. “We are developing real partnerships with schools, in which our HR teams regularly travel to present our activities to young people undergoing orientation.” She explains that in order to anticipate upcoming retirements, Sabena technics has set up a recruitment

One of the corollaries of this poor availability is salary inflation, which is not only observed at the national level.“Today, a maintenance technician in the MRO sector earns between 27,000 and 35,000 euros, while in other sectors of the aeronautical industry, he earns between 20,000 and 28,000 euros,” remarks Emmanuel Arribat from Hays Toulouse. “B2 avionics mechanics are very expensive to recruit today. Often the very good ones go to England to join contractors who offer them first-rate conditions,” continues Catherine Calippe-Laudat from Manaero.“These

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O. CONSTANT

SALARY INFLATION.

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plan for the coming years. “The purpose of work-study programmes, when everything is going well, is to hire people on permanent contracts.We are able to offer permanent contracts to young people well before the end of their work-study period thanks to the close relationship we maintain with mentors, supervisors and the young people.” AFI KLM E&M also makes extensive use of apprenticeships, for two-year degree graduates, as well as professional baccalauréat, BTS or even engineering graduates.“For us, the apprenticeship is an important but not exclusive path,” says HR director Pierre Mie. “It represents 50% of our hires. We always have apprentices in all skill areas and at the end of the apprenticeship, we are able to offer permanent contracts to a large number of them.” However, the influx of all these young people poses another difficulty: that of their supervision. “We have a plethora of young people ready to upgrade their skills. But the problem is that companies do not have enough supervisors,” says Catherine Calippe-Laudat. “As it is more and more complicated to find staff, we have to take on young recruits who need to be trained, but there is still just as much work to be done...,” says an employee at AFI. NEW METHODS.

Faced with all these challenges, companies and training centres are struggling to find sufficient candidates. Nonetheless, all the companies we interviewed have somehow been successful in meeting their hiring objectives so far. Sometimes using original arguments. For example, the SME Air Support has joined forces with other companies in the Gers department to find professional opportunities for spouses of employees moving to the region.“This is an important argument for attracting candidates from all over France,” says Régine Robert.The company is also working on collective carpooling solutions to solve the problem of saturated car parks. In a more conventional vein: “Before, we had enough candidates for our training courses. But today, the needs of the aviation and other sectors as well, are growing rapidly, so that many of us are drawing from the same sources,” comments Muriel Caristan, AFMAé-CFA general delegate for the airline industry.“So since February 2018, we have had a manager and a team

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DR

Jobs & RecRuitment

of four people working on sourcing, as well as a digital marketing director on a time-sharing basis who assists us in particular with the use of new communication tools. Our goal is to better target the right profiles so that they hear about us.” At AFI KLM E&M, recruitment methods are also changing. “In July, we organised our very first job dating operation, focused on mechanics,” says Pierre Mie. “In one day, we met just over 90 pre-selected candidates and this resulted in 55 employment commitments.This exceptional transformation rate convinced us to repeat the operation by the end of the year. This allows us, among other things, to be much more reactive to the people who apply here, by speeding up the screening and response process, because we have noticed that candidates are increasingly applying for multiple positions, so they want things to go fast.” NEW SKILLS.

To conclude, let us briefly mention the fact that the skills involved in aeronautical maintenance are not only changing in terms of volume.The development of new technologies and predictive maintenance makes maintenance activities less physically demanding and “cleaner” than in the past, which, according to some observers, should make it possible to attract more women. At AFI KLM E&M, even though the number of aircraft in service is increasing significantly worldwide, the workforce is expected to evolve steadily in the coming

years. “With the evolution of technologies, a certain number of maintenance tasks are less physically demanding, and by developing predictive maintenance, we are reducing the amount of repair work,” declares Pierre Mie. “With the digitalisation of the entire industry and the emergence of virtual reality, new skills are emerging and we are equipping ourselves to train our students in these new technologies, though our partners tell us not to forget that we still have aircraft on the market that are over 40 years old,” explains Franck Cazaurang, director of the Evering Institute at Bordeaux University. “A simple example: in maintenance, one of the problems is not to forget tools, otherwise this can pose safety problems. This is why maintenance nowadays uses localisation systems.” Finally, Sébastien Kuntz, founder of MiddleR, a company specialising in immersive and collaborative virtual reality, underlines the extent to which this technology will change maintenance methods. “Before, when designing an assembly line, we didn't think too much about maintenance.The emblematic case is the design of a new car where, to change a headlight bulb, you have to either get into a contorted position or dismantle the engine to get access to the bulb.Virtual reality will make it possible to anticipate this and evaluate maintenance problems, as well as another interesting aspect: the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.” ■ Liliane Fanello

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11TH OCTOBER 2019


INNOVATION AND LEADERSHIP IN AEROSPACE May 13–17, 2020 Berlin ExpoCenter Airport www.ila-berlin.com

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DEFENCE EUROPE’S FUTURE FIGHTER

FCAS STARTING TO TAKE SHAPE

N. VERCELLINO

Several inter-governmental and induStrial agreementS relating to the Future Combat air SyStem (FCaS) were Signed at the PariS air Show in June, and a Full-SCale model oF a Future Fighter ConCePt For FCaS waS unveiled. in addition, SPain'S PartiCiPation in the Programme waS FormaliSed, and induStry Submitted ProPoSalS For a demonStrator Programme.

A full-scale mockup of the NGF was unveiled at the Paris Air Show.


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DEFENCE t the inauguration of the 2019 Paris Air Show, French President Emmanuel Macron and the German, French and Spanish Defence Ministers attended a ceremony organised to present the Next Generation Fighter (NGF) mockup at the Dassault Aviation stand in the presence of the company's CEO, Eric Trappier, and the CEO of Airbus Defence & Space, Dirk Hoke. This fighter aircraft will be one of the elements of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). Two “remote carrier” concepts —another component of FCAS — were also unveiled at the Show, one from Airbus and the other from MBDA. According to Trappier, the unveiling of the model gives concrete expression to the work already carried out by industry and illustrates the ideas being explored. According to the French Ministry of the Armed

E. HUBERDEAU

A

Remote carrier concept. Forces, the model is the “result of the first technological decisions taken between the countries concerned”. Nevertheless, this model must be seen as a concept and it is too early to draw too

many conclusions as to the characteristics of the future fighter or remote carriers that could enter service in 2040. As far as the NGF is concerned, the most notable feature is undoubtedly

Dassault, Airbus call for more progress on FCAS ric trappier, Chairman and Ceo of dassault aviation, and dirk hoke, Ceo of airbus defence and Space, have issued a joint statement calling on european political leaders to have the courage to move FCaS forward by launching the programme’s demonstrator phase without delay. the two Ceos warn that, although the 2040 service entry deadline might seem a long way in the future, planning for a programme of such complexity needs to start well in advance. they note that, in the current geopolitical context, the FCaS programme ensures that europe can maintain its industrial and operational sovereignty and deal with the threats of tomorrow.

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they add: “if europe does not move forward — and move forward quickly — on this programme, it will be impossible to maintain the development and production capabilities needed for a sovereign defence industry … what is at stake is nothing less than our capability to ensure our defence and our autonomy in the air in the second half of the 21 st century.” they conclude: “the upcoming Francogerman ministerial council meeting should serve as a catalyst for this joint desire to move forward by rapidly launching this demonstrator phase and committing the partner nations to a reliable funding plan to confirm the sustainable and coherent nature of this european development programme.”

the size of the aircraft, which is 18m in length. Its overall dimensions are comparable to those of the Mirage IV. FRAMEWORK AGREEMENTS.

Following the presentation ceremony, a number of intergovernmental and industrial agreements were signed. Florence Parly (France), Ursula von der Leyen (Germany) and Margarita Robles (Spain) signed a framework agreement which, according to the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, constitutes a “veritable legal commitment to build a complete system of combat aircraft and drones that will enter service with the armed forces by 2040.”The Spanish Ministry of Defence declared that the signature of these agreements formalizes Madrid's participation in the programme. Previously, Spain had already fully endorsed the high-level operational requirements developed by the German and French armed forces. At the same time, Dassault Aviation and Airbus signed an industrial agreement and submitted a joint industrial proposal

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DEFENCE to the French defence procurement agency, DGA, covering the initial demonstration phase of the FCAS programme. This phase is scheduled to last from 2019 to 2021 and, according to the two companies, will mark “the starting point for the development of demonstrators and technologies for the new generation fighter (NGF), remote carriers and an Air Combat Cloud (ACC) with a view to performing an inaugural flight by 2026.” The demonstrator phase will include a fourth pillar to ensure consistency of technologies and schedules between these three elements.The companies will also set up a simulation laboratory to validate the concepts developed. The fifth part of the demonstration programme lies outside the scope of the Dassault/Airbus proposal; it concerns the NGF engine. Safran and MTU are in charge of this part of the programme.The day after the submission of the Dassault/Airbus proposal, negotiations with the governments began with a view to launching the demonstrator phase as soon as possible. DGA

nications server to extend connectivity between aircraft. This demonstration period will also allow decisions to be made between alternatives. It will help to allocate the expected performance between the different components of FCAS. The system can also be gradually placed in service before 2040 via upgrade programmes for existing aircraft.The Rafale F4 standard is scheduled for 2024 and the F5 standard should be introduced around 2030. Connectivity improvements will be introduced progressively, as will the use of artificial intelligence.

man and Spanish Ministries of Defence. It will operate under French leadership. FCAS TAKING SHAPE.

FCAS is a programme involving France, Germany and Spain; it aims to renew the combat aircraft fleets of all three nations by 2040. The programme will be based on networking multiple platforms within a system of systems called the Combat Cloud.The latter includes communication capabilities, data processing and decision-making support capabilities and protection against cyber threats. Existing platforms scheduled for upgrades, such as

FCAS architecture presented by t he French Ministry of the Armed Forces.

RISK REDUCTION.

Development and testing of demonstrators should lead to reduced risks and better control of programme costs. Between now and 2030, development work will seek to achieve technological advances and demonstrate their performance or applicability. The demonstrators should make it possible, for example, to validate some of these technologies, in particular for the future fighter. However, in addition to the technologies that could evolve significantly by 2040, the overall approach and system architecture will be tested. For the remote carriers, for example, priority could be given to teaming capabilities, i.e. connecting platforms to allow them to collaborate. In this respect, Thales is exploring collaborative air combat of the future, including its NEXEN commu-

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Over the past two years, work has progressed well, and a joint concept study (JCS) contract was awarded to Dassault and Airbus at the beginning of 2019. Participating companies have already established a collaborative working environment. In addition to Dassault and Airbus, several French and German companies are involved:Thales, Safran and MBDA France, Hensoldt, ESG, Diehl Aero, Diehl Defence, MBDA Germany, Rohde & Schwarz and MTU. Spanish industry will also soon be taking part.Airbus Spain will be involved, and the Spanish companies who participated in the Eurofighter programme will probably play a role. On the government side, a Combined Project Team is being set up. It will bring together representatives of the French, Ger-

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the Rafale, Typhoon, A330 MRTT or A400M, will be integrated into the system. New aircraft will be developed specifically, such as the NGF and a whole series of remote carriers. The latter includes both drones and weapons. The lightest will have a mass of about a hundred kilos and the heaviest could exceed several tons. Some will be expendable, while others will be designed to be reused. Launch modes will vary. Some will be launched from a fighter; heavier ones, from the cargo hold of an A400M; while larger ones will take off like an aircraft. Some remote carriers will be designed to be launched from ships.They will be capable of performing a variety of missions. All the components of FCAS will be able to communicate

rapidly, and artificial intelligence will be widely used to process the massive quantities of data gathered.The objective will be to reduce decision-making time in order to act as quickly as possible.The system should be distributed, i.e. in the event of a partial loss of communication, isolated operators, such as the pilot of an NGF, should be able to continue their mission. CONCEPT PRESENTATION.

For the Paris Air Show, the Ministry of the Armed Forces presented a film illustrating the different aspects of the future system. It showed FCAS being used to destroy an enemy air base. The demonstration highlighted, for example, the role of remote carriers in helping combat aircraft penetrate enemy defences.To do this, the remote carriers may be armed or equipped with jamming systems. It also showed weapons transmitting target data to the Air Combat Cloud just before a strike. This information can be immediately used to enhance the effectiveness of subsequent strike waves.The film also highlighted the NGF’s use of passive sensors to detect enemy aircraft.The same NGF then fired air-to-air missiles guided by other aircraft. The Ministry of the Armed Forces has also presented a future cockpit concept that could be part of the NGF.This system uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality.Thanks to his helmet, the pilot has permanent access to information wherever he looks.The external environment is displayed so that the pilot can quickly identify enemies or areas of operation. Using augmented reality, a 3D map can be projected in front of the pilot giving a clear representation of the tactical situation.Artificial intelligence can be used to create a virtual copilot. The latter will be able to provide information to the pilot to assist him in his decision-making. This system will also be able to automatically manage the aircraft’s protection system.

AIR&COSMOS

■ Emmanuel Huberdeau

N° 9

11TH OCTOBER 2019


THE LIMIT.

WE MAKE IT

FLY

Airbus is the world’s leading independent supplier of cutting edge defence and space technologies. We deliver strategic advantages in a rapidly changing environment – thanks to a network of connected smart assets. From military aircraft, satellites and unmanned systems to services such as cybersecurity, geointelligence and secure communications we’ve been serving governments across the globe for over fifty years. Security. We make it fly.

airbus.com


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SPACE LAUNCH ROUNDUP

CHINA, US LEAD THE CHARGE IN FIRST HALF THE FIRST HALF OF THE YEAR ENDED AS IT BEGAN, WITH SIX SUCCESSFUL ORBITAL LAUNCHES AND AN APPARENTLY DOMINANT POSITION FOR THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA. IN TERMS OF COMMERCIAL LAUNCHES TO GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT, HOWEVER, EUROPE PERFORMED WELL. RUSSIA ACCELERATED THE LAUNCH PACE IN JULY.

paceX remains indisputably the world’s most active launch operator, with a further two successful missions in June, including the launch of three satellites for the Canadian Radarsat radar observation constellation, estimated at some $900m, and the ambitious Space Test Program 2 (STP 2) mission, for the U.S.Air Force.The latter involved the deployment of 24 payloads from a Falcon Heavy in three different orbits and with different inclinations in the course of a flight of more than six hours, marked by four upper stage ignitions and a final passivation manoeuvre.The launcher was well below its payload capacity (3.7t with the dispenser), but it carried out the most complex mission in SpaceX's history, achieving validation for military missions, and including the first recovery of a half payload fairing on the “Go Ms.Tree” boat (ex-Mr. Steven), following four unsuccessful attempts. China also completed two orbital missions in June.The first, dedicated to Earth observation, saw the inauguration of a floating launch platform in the Yellow Sea, used to

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achieve lift-off from a position closer to the Equator. It is not the first offshore launch pad. Previous floating launch platforms have included the Odyssey platform (a former offshore oil drilling rig) operated by Sea Launch (a consortium formed with capital from Norway, Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine), which was used for 36 Russian-Ukrainian Zenith rocket launches carrying commercial geostationary payloads, between March 1999 and May 2014; and also the Santa Rita and San Marco, two converted (but fixed) Italian oil platforms, used off the coast of Kenya between March 1964 and March 1988, in particular to launch American Scout rockets. The second Chinese mission in June placed into orbit the 21st operational thirdgeneration member of the BeiDou satellite navigation constellation (out of a total of 35 platforms to be deployed by 2020). The remaining two missions in June were performed by Ariane 5, carrying out the second mission of the year (with two commercial payloads), and Rocket Lab's Electron, a U.S.New Zealand micro-launcher, which is achieving an enviable launch rate: the “Make It Rain” mission was the third since late March....

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SPACE

SPACEX STILL IN THE LEAD.

At the end of this first half of the year, the Californian operator had completed eight orbital launches, two of them with its heavy launcher, 11 weeks apart.While it has not achieved the peak level of 2018 (11 launches over the same period), SpaceX's share of global activity remains impressive, and has even increased slightly (from 20 to 21%).The increase is most noticeable compared with its compatriots Northrop Grumman and United Launch Alliance, who have only performed three orbital launches since the beginning of the year (out of a total of 11 U.S. launches), compared with seven at the end of June 2018: SpaceX missions now represent 73% of U.S. launch activity, an increase of 12 points compared to mid-2018. The Middle Kingdom came in second among worldwide launch operators, after having carried out nine orbital missions in the first half of the year, compared to 18 between January and June 2018 — the same total as the U.S. Like last year, the two space powers continue to lead the way, with 54% of launches between them (compared to 65.4% in 2018). Russia was again in third place (with seven launches, but none in June, compared to nine in mid-2018), ahead of Europe, India and New Zealand (three missions each). ARIANESPACE LEADS THE HEAVYWEIGHTS.

CASC

The first half of the year ended with 37 successful orbital missions (out of 41 attempts), the second lowest total in the last five years: 30 missions had been completed by mid-year in 2015, 43 in 2016, 39 in 2017 and... 55 last year, with the prospect of reaching 100 orbital launches by the end of the year — an objective achieved, with 122 successful missions, a result not seen since 1990. However, thanks in particular to the Starlink mission of 24th May (60 satellites deployed), the number of payloads launched was higher than in the first half of 2018, rising from 173 to 185. A total payload mass of approximately 208t was delivered into orbit, including 70.3t in geostationary transfer orbit, representing a total of 14 satellites: six launched by China, four by Arianespace, three by the U.S. and one by Russia. And if we consider only the 11 missions intended for geostationary communications (57.3t in total), the performance of the French operator is even better, with 18.8t placed into orbit: in absolute terms, this places it between China (28.6t) and the U.S. (12.4t), but in reality it is in first place in commercial missions open to international competition.

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■ Pierre-François Mouriaux

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SPACE

LAUNCH ROUNDUP

ACCELERATION

IN JULY

IN JULY, THERE WERE 11 LAUNCH ATTEMPTS AROUND THE WORLD, SIX OF WHICH WERE PERFORMED BY RUSSIA. EUROPE’S VEGA LAUNCHER SUFFERED ITS FIRST FAILURE.

W

FIRST “PRIVATE” CHINESE SUCCESS.

With 13 launches in seven months, Russia is now ahead of the U.S. and China, which have completed 12 and 11 missions, respectively. One of the two Chinese launches in July was performed using the Hyperbola

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1 micro-launcher from a start-up, iSpace, which became the first “private” manufacturer of Chinese space launchers to successfully launch into orbit. It should be noted that the pace of commercial launches of SpaceX continues to slow, and that its only mission of the month was institutional. But the Californian operator, which carried out 75% of US launches between January and July, continues to push the limits of reuse and recovery, sending the same Dragon capsule to the International Space Station for the third time. INDIAN LUNAR MISSION.

July was also marked by the longawaited launch of the Indian probe Chandrayaan 2 and theVikram lander, carrying the mobile robot Pragyan, on their way to the lunar south pole. Less glorious was the in-flight failure of the European light launcher,Vega, the first in its seven-and-a-half-year career and 15 missions. The failure occurred at ignition of the second stage.As we went to press, the report of the commission of inquiry that was set up immediately following the incident had not yet been submitted.

www.aircosmosinternational.com

■ Pierre-François Mouriaux

ROSCOSMOS

hile the first half of 2019 had not seen more than seven successful orbital missions per month (in March, April and May), the 10 successes in July also exceed the scores recorded over the same period over the past four years (maximum of eight flights in July 2018), reaching the volumes of July 2011 and 2014. This result is due to intense Russian activity on many fronts: meteorology, surveillance and military communications, resupply of the International Space Station and — with the launch of the Spektr RG telescope to Lagrange point L2 in the Earth-Sun system — space astrophysics, a field that the Russian Space Agency had been devoting less attention to in recent years.

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Profile for Air&Cosmos International magazine

Air&Cosmos International magazine - issue 9  

SPECIAL REPORT: MRO • MRO and DATA platforms: 1) Skywise by Airbus Services 2) Engine Wise by Pratt&Whitney 3) Prognos by AFI-KLM E&M • Sabe...

Air&Cosmos International magazine - issue 9  

SPECIAL REPORT: MRO • MRO and DATA platforms: 1) Skywise by Airbus Services 2) Engine Wise by Pratt&Whitney 3) Prognos by AFI-KLM E&M • Sabe...