Air&Cosmos International magazine - issue 3

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AIR&COSMOS N° 3 - 16th July 2018




l The Galileo conundrum l Interview:

Florence Parly, French minister of the armed forces l Safran invests in hybrid propulsion l Singapore Airlines gaining altitude l France's key role on Mars mission

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

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editorial Duncan Macrae



Brexit fog The product that could have made the biggest headlines at this year's Farnborough Show would be an enhanced vision system capable of seeing the way forward through the current Brexit fog. In the absence of such technology, the only sensible course of action is to sit and wait for the fog to lift. Unless, of course, the aircraft is already in flight ... It is possible the UK could crash out of the European Union within a few short months, on 29th March 2019 — under the so-called “hard” or “no deal” Brexit. Or there could be a softer, negotiated departure with a transition period starting on that date, until the new relations between London and the EU come into force. Incredibly, more than two years after the fateful referendum that launched the Brexit process, there is precious little concrete indication as to what lies in store for a UK/EU aerospace sector with combined revenue of €135bn and pre-Brexit gross value added (GVA) of €47bn. Nobody underestimates the complexity of the ongoing negotiations, particularly with the political undercurrents now swirling around London. But, as the weeks and months slip by, industry is crying out for the visibility companies desperately need in order to plan ahead.The situation is particularly complex for smaller companies lacking the resources to build up stocks to cope with worst-case scenarios. Airbus has taken the lead in warning that time is running out and that a no-deal Brexit would be a recipe for chaos in an aerospace sector dependent on frictionless international supply chains and a painstakingly constructed web of mutually recognised standards and certifications that constitute the foundation for aviation safety. The European group says that a no deal Brexit would be nothing short of “catastrophic”, forcing it to reconsider its UK footprint, its investments in the UK and its dependency on the UK. Even an orderly Brexit, it adds, would pose a significant risk and be difficult to manage. Offsetting this gloom, we review the close defence ties that still bind London and Paris, and in particular the cooperation between the air forces of the two nations — a tradition that had its genesis 100 years ago.We also talk to French armed forces minister Florence Parly and take a closer look at the French Air Force's contribution to the recent air strikes in Syria.

FLY Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services with a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a global leader in providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as Europe’s number one space enterprise and the world’s second largest space business. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most effi cient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide. Together. We make it fly.

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SPECIAL REPORT: Farnborough 2018 .............................................................................................. Unease grows as Brexit looms...........................................................................................................6 The Galileo conundrum ............................................................................................................................9 Interview: Jeegar Kakkad (Chief Economist and Director of Policy at ADS)..............................................................10 Small companies with big ambitions.........................................................................................12 Royal Air Force / French Air Force: 100 years of cooperation ............................15 France's HIL programme: Three for the price of one ..................................................18 Interview: Florence Parly, French minister of the armed forces........................22 Strikes on Syria: French Air Force capabilities on show ..........................................25 MRO in the age of composites..........................................................................................................28 Safran invests in Turbotech.................................................................................................................32 Latécoère inaugurates smart factory.........................................................................................34 Singapore Airlines gaining altitude..............................................................................................36 Aigle Azur in for the long haul ..........................................................................................................38 France's key role on Mars mission ..............................................................................................40 Articles translated from French by Duncan Macrae



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


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


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

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UneAse grows As Brexit

looms As the world's leAding AerospAce plAyers mAke their wAy to FArnborough For the uk industry's FlAgship event, there is A growing sense oF unreAlity surrounding the ongoing brexit process. the slow-moving negotiAtions between london And brussels hAve leFt the entire industry unsure About whAt to expect And unAble to plAn AheAd with Any degree oF certAinty.

s the world's aerospace industry leaders make their way to Farnborough for the UK's flagship event, there is a growing sense of unreality surrounding the ongoing Brexit process.Though a number of key industrial, regulatory, administrative and other issues have been clearly identified, the slow-motion pace of negotiations between London and Brussels has left the entire industry unsure as to what to expect — “Hard Brexit”, “Soft Brexit” or something in between — and unable to plan ahead with any degree of certainty. As things currently stand, an orderly UK exit from the EU in March 2019 would lead to a new EU/UK relationship after a transition phase currently planned to end in December 2020.The UK will no longer be part of Single Market, Customs Union or European Court of Justice jurisdiction.

A 6

A380 lands at Farnborough 2016.

Just three weeks before Farnborough International 2018, Airbus decided it was time to inject a sense of urgency into the proceedings with a wake-up call about the fate that lay in store for UK-based engineering and manufacturing facilities in the event the UK-EU negotiations fail to produce a deal by 29th March 2019. Beyond the transition phase, Airbus cautions that the new EU/UK relationship will entail new procedures, regulatory regimes, duplication of tasks, divergence of standards etc… potentially leading to higher complexity, more effort, more cost, more risks and more friction/delay in cross-channel supply chains operating today on a just-in-time basis. “The extremely negative outcome [of a No-Deal Brexit] for Airbus would be catastrophic,” the company declared.“It would … undermine UK efforts to keep


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a competitive and innovative aerospace industry, while developing high value jobs and competencies.” In case of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, the company warned, there would be no Transition Phase, and the UK would leave the Single Market, the Customs Union and the European Court of Justice jurisdiction. “Therefore, WTO rules would kick in and numerous frictions would heavily impact our operations and that of our supply chain.” Global consultancy firm Oliver Wyman estimates that Brexit under the WTO scenario will have an impact of £1-2bn on the UK/EU aerospace industry, after what it calls mitigating actions (relocation of activities, operational adjustments, etc.). Airbus has more than 4,000 suppliers in UK and an integrated supply chain with parts crossing the Channel multiple times. The system operates on a just-in-time basis relying on

frictionless trade today provided by the combination of the EU Customs Union and Single Market rules. The company warns that any change in customs procedures, logistics and environmental standards would have major industrial and cost impact. 14,000 EMPLOYEES.

Airbus has four major engineering and manufacturing facilities in the UK, with a total of 14,000 employees spread across 25 sites. To complicate matters further, the company is in the midst of a major production ramp-up on the A320 and A350 families — critical industrial facilities are already running at full capacity, leaving no spare capacity to build up a protection buffer. Airbus’ production, the company added, is likely to be severely disrupted due to interruption to the flow of parts and/or discontinued airworthiness.“Given today’s prevailing uncertainty, buffer stocks would

be needed (estimated value circa €1bn, not accounting for lead time and logistics disruptions).” According to Airbus, every week of unrecoverable delay would entail material working capital impact, re-allocation cost, cost for inefficient work, penalty payments to customers and up to €1bn loss of turnover per week. Despite the incremental stocks, Airbus estimates that the disruptions in a no deal Brexit situation are likely to add up to several weeks, potentially translating into a multibillion impact on the company. Airbus says that a no deal Brexit would force the company to reconsider its footprint in the country, its investments in the UK — including the flagship “Wing of Tomorrow” programme — and at large its dependency on the UK. Potential consequences include relocating competencies outside the UK, revisiting the companies’ research and development footprint, reducing the UK’s weight

MBDA calls for close UK-EU defence ties post Brexit s europe's premier missile house, mbdA is not be affected. nonetheless, the company is monitoring hoping that brexit will have a limited impact on its developments closely to ensure that the future uk-eu operations, beyond the administrative hassles relationship does not have any disruptive effect. potentially associated with modified crossone of the company's particular concerns is to channel customs arrangements. reap the benefits of emerging eu defence initiauk-French cooperation, notes mbdA tives, such as the european defence Fund. ceo Antoine bouvier, is one of the main bouvier notes that mbdA is the result of pillars of the european defence edifice. many years of european consolidation to he underlines that the 2016 intergoconstitute an entity large enough to comvernmental agreement between the two pete against its two u.s. rivals. he cautions countries is unique in having created a that it will be difficult to achieve critical size shared industry and technology base in if the uk is no longer as closely involved in the missile sector, associated with european cooperative efforts in defence. Antoine Bouvier mutual dependence on specialised indusbouvier declares: “it seems to us necesMBDA CEO trial centres of excellence. the existing relasary that the agreement reached between the tionship between paris and london — and the uk and the eu — whatever form it ultimately takes ability to launch future joint programmes — is thus unli- — must recognise the convergence of security interests, kely to be directly impacted by brexit. establish the objective of creating world-class european major ongoing Franco-british programmes — such as champions and, therefore, ensure that the uk is given a the scAlp/storm shadow cruise missile, meteor air-tostatus other than that of a third country, but rather that air missile or uk-italian programmes such as the cAmm of a preferred partner and key player in european air defence missile — are bilateral initiatives which should defence. C. COSMAO


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Key Brexit issues global consultancy firm oliver wyman has identified the following key Brexit issues facing the aerospace industry

in the absence of a trade deal, additional controls will increase costs and potentially jeopardise Just in time production. smaller firms could be disproportionately affected. divergence in regulations on chemicals (reAch) would cause significant cost and complexity throughout the value chain.

Certification. A uk exit from eAsA is seen as one of the most significant risks in a no-deal scenario. it would take

in the supply chain, etc.). The problem, however, goes beyond logistics problems disrupting international just-intime production networks.The design, production, maintenance, repair & overhaul and use of parts, as Airbus notes, can only be executed by certified organisations under EASA, such as Design Organisation Approval (DOA), Production Organisation Approval (POA) and Maintenance Organisation Approval (MOA). In the absence of a Brexit agreement, UK aerospace companies will no longer be covered under existing regulatory approvals, including EASA approvals. All UK companies will need to transfer their DOA, POA and MOA into the EU. Should a single supplier not be certified, its parts cannot be installed, potentially delaying the delivery of aircraft.

an estimated 5-10 years, at least, to build up the expertise and resources within the cAA to effectively replace eAsA.

UK funding. negative impacts of brexit could make the uk less attractive for investment. eu funding is particularly sought in the uk for earlystage funding, whereas the Aerospace technology institute (Ati) distributes a significant amount of later-stage funding. Although it is possible the uk will still have

access to funding, it is likely to lose influence on funding decisions. on the other hand, it is possible that brexit could lead to devaluation of the pound, which would increase the attractiveness of uk investment.

Visas. in a hard brexit scenario, visas could be required for non-nationals. this could represent a considerable expense for low-cost/low-skill eu workers and hence raise labour costs in assembly and manufacturing plants.


supply chain adaptation.

Safran Landing Systems Gloucester.


Even in the event of an orderly negotiated Brexit with a transition phase,Airbus is concerned that the proposed transition phase could be too short for governments to agree on all important open points, and for Airbus and its tier one suppliers to agree and implement all changes with their extensive UK supply chain.

In any case, the details of the new EU/UK relationship will only be known late in the process, leaving companies a reduced lead time for preparation.The transition to a new framework contains inherent risks concerning data, systems, supplier readiness etc., making it likely that short-term production disruptions of 1 or 2 weeks may occur post-transition due to the supply ecosystem not being fully ready.

Aerospace industry key figures UK Industry revenue Pre-Brexit GVA* Imports from EU Exports to EU Employees: approx

EU £38bn £10bn £9bn £12bn 120,000

Industry revenue Pre-Brexit GVA* Imports from UK Exports to UK Employees: approx

£81bn £32bn £12bn £9bn 400,000

Airbus says it will carefully monitor any new investments in the UK and refrain from extending its UK suppliers/partners base until it has information on the new EU/UK relationship, Customs Union and a harmonized regulatory framework with the EU on aviation are the two major issues for Airbus that will determine its future strategy in UK, and the company is calling for these issues to be addressed urgently. The critical issues amongst others are the increased cost base due to trade procedures, airworthiness efforts and difficulties in moving people. For trade procedures (non-tariff cost) alone, Airbus cites an OECD study which estimates the range of the recurring extra cost between 2% and 15% of overall trade. This translates to up to €1bn per year to be borne by the Airbus UK-related aerospace ecosystem. Airbus concludes that, even with an orderly exit and transition, the active engagement of all stakeholders, including Airbus and the UK government, will be necessary to build an environment in which UK aerospace companies can continue to be world leaders in our evergrowing industry. ■ Duncan Macrae




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Galileo satellite deployment.



n evaluating the potential consequences of Brexit for the UK space sector, it is important to distinguish between activities related to the European Union and those related to the European Space Agency (ESA). Not all ESA member states are EU countries, and the UK plans to pursue its involvement in ESA programmes post-Brexit. London is currently the fourth-largest contributor to the ESA budget. Galileo, however, like the Copernicus Earth observation system and the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, is an EU programme. In January this year, UK companies seeking to respond to the call for tenders for the second generation of Galileo satellites, discovered that only companies from EU countries could submit bids. In particular, Galileo's encrypted Public Regulated Signal (PRS) is classified. As a “third country” following Brexit, the UK will no longer have access to the military-grade PRS. Despite the fact that this rule was well known and consistent with the Treaty on European Union, a number of UK politicians have demanded that the UK remain a full participant in the Galileo programme. But to no avail.The EU sees no reason to make an exception. The only legal option is to arrange for UK access to Galileo signals under a specific bilateral agreement, as for any interested third country. Such an agreement would undoubtedly take several years to negotiate, resulting in nonavailability of service in the intervening period.



As the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier declared in May:“The EU's rules on Galileo have been in place for a long time, and are well known to the UK. In particular, third countries (and their companies) cannot participate in the development of security sensitive matters, such as the manufacturing of PRS-security modules.Those rules were adopted together by unanimity with the UK as a member, and they have not changed. Those rules do not prevent the UK, as a third country, from using the encrypted signal of Galileo,

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provided that the relevant agreements between the EU and the UK are in place.” The ESA council subsequently announced that UK companies would be barred from participating in bids for the new Galileo development phase. This followed an earlier decision to transfer one of the Galileo security monitoring centres from Swanwick, England to Spain. While Brussels is simply applying EU rules, London, which has contributed 12% of Galileo funding (€1.14bn) and does not accept being treated like any other country, is asking for more flexibility.The EU position is deemed unacceptable in view of the UK's past investments and know-how with respect to Galileo and its wider involvement in European security. The situation could entail potentially dramatic consequences for British companies like CGI UK, QinetiQ and Spirent Communications. CGI UK received a €42m contract from Thales Alenia Space in 2011 for two elements of the Galileo ground infrastructure: the Galileo Mission Segment (GMS) and the Galileo Security Facility (GSF), along with a solution for management of encryption keys.The exact boundaries of responsibility between CGI UK and Thales are not clear. UK threats to seek repayment of past investments in Galileo and develop an independent satellite navigation system are not seen to carry much weight in view of the estimated £8bn cost to build the system (plus annual operating costs of £800m) and the prospect of having to compete against Galileo, GPS (U.S.), Glonass (Russia) and BeiDou (China).A partnership with Australia was envisaged at one stage, but Sydney subsequently decided to invest $260m in a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) for GPS signals, offering 10cm-5m positioning accuracy across the continent and its maritime approaches. It remains to be seen how this will all play out. In the view of Serge Plattard — former director of international relations at France's CNES space agency and founder of the European Space Policy Institute: “Shutting the UK out of Galileo, would raise serious governance issues for European security and the implementation of one of the elements of credible collective European security. There are only two countries in Europe that carry any weight on this issue, and it is problematic to shut out one of them. This latter point is at the heart of UK arguments for continued participation in Galileo.”. ■ Pierre-François Mouriaux


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What are your greatest areas of concern today with regard to Brexit? While the UK Government and European Council have each signalled their intention to reach a comprehensive agreement on aviation safety and connectivity, and we are hopeful for continued UK participation in the European Aviation Safety Agency after Brexit, we have concerns about the proposed options for customs arrangements. The current proposals being discussed by the UK Government (maximum facilitation and a customs partnership) are inadequate and would mean our sectors suf-


fering significant new financial burdens imposed on trade between the UK and EU. The “maximum facilitation” model in particular could see new costs to our sectors of up to £2.3bn a year.We believe the UK Government should seek a customs union, combined with a high level of regulatory alignment between the UK and EU to minimise these burdens. We also need the UK to secure access to, and influence in, the collaborative European R&D and space programmes.The ability for UK companies to contribute fully to EU R&D projects delivers significant benefits to industry both here and in the

rest of Europe.There are also concerns about our future participation in the EU’s space programmes, specifically Galileo and Copernicus.The UK is a founding partner in the Galileo project and has made major contributions to its design and implementation. Programmes such as these are at their best when they can call upon the skills and capabilities of the UK space industry, which is growing rapidly as opportunities in this market grow.The UK should secure in perpetuity ‘privileged’ rights of access to the European Space Agency and EU Space programmes, particularly the use of Galileo Public Regulated Services.


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FARNBOROUGH 2018 Through Brexit discussions and in its outcome, we need to ensure we have access to the pool of skilled labour required to maintain the UK’s global competitiveness.The UK needs to remain attractive and flexible to the best researchers and engineers in order to stay at the leading edge of innovation. Our sectors invest heavily in training in the UK, but still suffer skills shortages and need access to skilled labour to compete globally. From an operational perspective, problems are often solved by mobile teams operating at sites across Europe, including the UK. Therefore we hope that the UK should secure free, flexible movement for skilled employees. Are you concerned that the UK aerospace sector's role in international supply chains could be jeopardised by Brexit? We’re already seeing a significant impact on UK companies in supply chains because of Brexit. Suppliers are being asked to increase the stocks of components they hold to offset the risk of Brexit border delays. This increases the costs of doing business and delivering on existing contracts, as well as new opportunities. It would be a challenge for any company, but has the greatest impact on smaller companies in the supply chain who might struggle to cover the cost of having as much as a month’s worth of stock warehoused. This is one reason ADS and other business organisations believe a customs union is the best pragmatic solution that would offset these impacts and the costs introduced by the risk of delays at the border. Do you see a risk of reduced involvement in European R&D programmes and reduced access to funding for UK industry? The UK is both a leader and influencer when it comes to EU

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R&D programmes. That has contributed hugely to shaping the research agenda, enabling access to important research facilities and knowledge bases in the UK, and playing a full part in collaborative projects with European partners. The opportunity for collaboration, alongside access to funding, expertise and European facilities, ensures UK companies can develop intellectual property and maximise connections to customers and suppliers. Some at-scale R&D is not possible with only national resources, as it is simply too costly. The Government has recognised the importance of the role played by collaborative research and development programmes in supporting the

grammes, and the continued close defence and security cooperation that is vital to protecting the UK and EU. We have also welcomed the agreement of a transition deal to take effect from next March if a deal is agreed, which will help give industry the breathing space it needs to adjust. There are still challenges that need to be resolved and it is vital that negotiators in both the UK and EU work to secure agreements on the many complex issues at stake, to agree a deal that puts jobs and prosperity first. Are you satisfied with the duration of the Brexit transition period, as currently agreed?

“ The UK is both a leader and influencer when it comes to EU R&D programmes ” continued growth and success of our sectors, and we are optimistic the UK will secure access to, and influence in, collaborative EU R&D programmes, such as Horizon 2020. Do you feel that political decision-makers in the UK have taken full measure of the potential negative impact of Brexit for the UK aerospace sector? We have worked closely with industry and departments across government to examine the challenges posed by Brexit and to propose real-world solutions that take full account of the needs of the aerospace sectors and the defence, security and space sectors. The Government has made welcome proposals on continued UK participation in the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), full participation in the EU’s collaborative R&D pro-


This transition deal announced in March will help give industry the breathing space it needs to adjust to the new long-term partnership agreement between the UK and the EU after Brexit. This will help allow us to continue to trade with the EU as normal until this date whilst we continue to work out logistics to minimise the impact of Brexit on our sectors. However, there is still a long way to go and a smooth transition remains contingent on a comprehensive deal being reached in the coming months. Only when the details of this deal become clear will business be able to plan with real certainty. What is the current status of discussions about the UK's future relations with EASA? We welcome the UK Government’s firm intention to stay in EASA after Brexit, announced

by the Prime Minister in March, as continued regulatory alignment is vital to our global industries and integrated supply chains. The European Commission has also set out its desire for a comprehensive agreement to be reached on aviation safety, and we are confident that solutions can be found to continue the UK’s participation in EASA, as other non-EU members participate in it today. Overall, at this time, are you optimistic or pessimistic about prospects for the UK aerospace sector in the post-Brexit era? There is real optimism around the UK’s aerospace industry as we assess our long-term future. Our companies are a vital part of this growing global industry and there are substantial opportunities ahead as the whole sector strives to meet strong international demand. The UK has the skills, the capability and the ingenuity to make sure that we continue to build on our past and present successes, and continue to be global leaders in aerospace and defence in the years ahead. The UK’s ground-breaking Aerospace Industrial Strategy is supporting the development of new technologies, and helping suppliers maximise their productivity. The Aerospace Technology Institute is delivering an independent research programme backed by £3.9 billion of joint industry and UK Government funding. Meanwhile, major international manufacturers like Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier have long-term commitments to the UK. Of course Brexit creates unwelcome uncertainty for industry, but there is good news for our sector from ongoing negotiations and we are optimistic that remaining issues can be addressed successfully to deliver a deal that protects jobs and prosperity in both the UK and the EU. n


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Suppliers hope to secure business with major UK players like Rolls-Royce.






efival — a specialist in steel and titanium extruded profiles — views its presence at Farnborough as obligatory. “Our activities in the UK are limited; we are targeting the major primes, like Rolls-Royce, and aerospace industry suppliers,” explains CEO Pierre Münch. On the potential impact of Brexit, he does not believe it will have any negative effect on the company's UK growth plans. “I cannot believe that a hard Brexit could lead to the cancellation of orders with all the companies that play a major role in the aerospace supply chain,” he adds. Ressorts Masselin, a first-time exhibitor with sales of €17.5m and 150 employees, takes a similar view. The company — a specialist in spring solutions for aerospace — plans a high-profile participation, with the largest stand in the Normandie AeroEspace (NAE) pavilion. Marketing director Olivier Masselin declares: “The negative effects of Brexit should not be over-estimated. We have limited business in the UK, so there will be no change for us. Nonetheless, in view of our plans to boost export sales from 30% now to 50% within three years, we are interested in markets close to France, such as the UK.” He adds: “The reason is that we do not have the organisation to target more distant markets, such as the U.S. We are



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Another company with major export ambitions is Delta Plasturgy, a specialist in complex plastic parts, hence its decision to exhibit at Farnborough for the first time. CEO Jean-Jacques Fillot remarks that the decision reflects the company's decision to target international markets and, therefore, to raise its profile for export customers. He explains that the company reviewed a variety of options to build up its international business, which currently accounts for 2% of total sales: “The UK is one of the countries where we could carry out specific actions for the future. But there are five other countries on our short list. We have two major areas of concern: the possibility of significant customs tariffs and sterling exchange rate fluctuations.” Alongside its existing business mainly covering subcontracting

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“We are targeting the major primes, like Rolls-Royce” Pierre Münch, CEO Cefival

of technical parts produced by overmoulding, Delta Plasturgy aims to respond to more complex design-to-cost requirements on the export market. The company will make its choice by the end of this year. It could be a neighbouring country — like the UK, in spite of the uncertainties mentioned above — or a more distant country, like Canada. The selected countries will be used to grow the company's export business over the next years. Subsequently, other countries will be added in order to reach the company's 20% target by 2024. INVESTMENTS.

Meanwhile, the company is pursuing a programme of investment, including a 300t machine scheduled to become operational in early 2019 for the production of large-dimension parts. Fillot says the €150,000 machine will help to support ongoing developments with respect to radomes while


also allowing for greater reactivity and flexibility in responding to customer requirements. The company started production of parts for radomes on Airbus aircraft in November 2017. Another €150,000 investment will generate an extra 100m2 in production floor space by reconfiguring the existing building. External growth projects are also on the horizon for the company (€7m sales, 60 employees). Says Fillot: “External growth will be an essential ingredient of future development plans. For now, plans are still at a preliminary stage.” DEDIENNE MULTIPLASTURGY.

Dedienne Multiplasturgy Group (€67m sales, six factories in France, the U.S. and Romania) is no stranger to Farnborough. This specialist in complex plastic parts and high-performance composites has been an exhibitor at the show for many years. CEO Pierre-Jean Leduc declares:“Brexit or no Brexit, the UK is an important aerospace nation offering substantial potential.We have several UK customers, so it is a good opportunity to discuss their requirements. Existing customers include Thales and Zodiac Aerospace. We would like to work with some Safran units with which we do not currently do business. It is important to let them know that we are qualified to meet their requirements. We also have an office south of London.” The group aims to increase its UK presence, which currently accounts for 3-4% of the 30% of business currently derived from the aerospace sector. In the current context, however, the company is concerned about the possibility of extra costs. Leduc says he trusts the negotiators to minimise extra costs in the mutual interest of

Europe and the UK, since the Continent is the country's largest trading partner. WEIGHT AND COST SAVINGS.

At the show, Dedienne Multiplasturgy Group is once again highlighting its expertise in weight savings achieved though the use of high-performance plastics and thermoplastic composites in structural or functional components. Weight gains in comparison with aluminium are around 30%, while costs savings can reach 10% in certain cases.The company is also showcasing its know-how in plastronics (plastic + electronics) — a technology developed at the beginning of the decade that can be applied in connection with new onboard antenna solutions. Recent projects include the installation of a fully automated production line for Daher to pro-


still looking for an export manager to help us accelerate this process.”The company, a member of the NADTEK group, is highlighting its expertise in highprecision springs for wings, actuators and flight control systems. “However, we are keeping a close eye on future customs arrangements,” Masselin adds. In the meantime, the company is investing heavily in Russia, where it has recently taken on a new commercial agent. The company is ideally placed to supply compression springs for a new helicopter rotor blade project, if it is selected. In addition to responding to new calls for tender, the company expects to conclude an important new contract to supply elastic blades for a medium-haul aircraft programme. The first parts are scheduled for delivery two and a half months after contract signature, which is expected to occur during before the year end.



“The negative effects of Brexit should not be overestimated” Olivier Masselin, marketing director, Masselin Ressorts


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Volum-e was the first French company to produce flightqualified parts using additive manufacturing. The company is returning to Farnborough for the second time.The company's marketing head, Christian Guillou, explains:“For us, Farnborough is a key event where we can showcase the company as a major player in our field of activity. Building on the close relations that we have developed with the major primes who came to see us after Farnborough 2016, we have a number of pilot projects that could be launched in the second half of 2018. One of these projects could be concluded with a UK engine builder for the supply of additive parts for engine accessories.We know we have to be prepared for new customs formalities. However, these will not be a threat to the pilot projects mentioned above. Farnborough also gives us the opportunity to make contacts with the Anglo-Saxon world, including countries like the U.S. and Australia.” The company (€6.7m sales, 55 employees) currently derives 10% of sales from exports. It hopes to capitalise on its strong points to carve a foothold on Anglo-Saxon markets, including the UK. It already produces flight-qualified parts by additive manufacturing for three major French primes: Ariane Group, Thales and Safran. The company's additive manufacturing expertise covers a


wide range of metals: inconel, titanium, aluminium, steel/stainless steel, … It has a number of machines designed for the production of large parts, and it has recently added a third machine with a build volume of 400 x 400 x 300mm.This machine, an EOS M400-4 model and the first of its kind in France, features no less than four 400W laser heads operating in independent 250 x 250mm zones. This boosts productivity by 30%. The new machine was installed early this year. The company plans additional investments of €15m by 2022. CCA TARGETS NORTH AMERICAN AIRFRAMERS.

Corse Composites Aéronautique (CCA) is slao back at Farnborough for the second time.“It's the second most important air show after Le Bour-

get,” remarks CEO Jean-Yves Leccia.“We are clearly targeting the North American firms, which are present in force at this show. Our number one objective is Boeing.We also want to add Bombardier to our customer portfolio, which is currently 75% dependent on Airbus. We also want to do business with the UK subsidiaries of the Anglo-Saxon airframers.” He adds: “Brexit can only have an impact on us if Airbus is directly affected.That would not be positive for us. But on the other hand there could be a potential opportunity for us, if workloads are decentralised either to Europe or low-cost countries like Tunisia.We have a presence in both places!” At the show, CCA is highlighting its know-how in landing gear doors, fairings and air inlet outer surfaces (AIOS) for engine nacelles. Its display will also cover its latest research and technology projects, including advances in composite prepreg layup techniques.These innovations, which offer time savings of at least 30%, should be operational within two years. PRODUCTION COSTS.


duce high-performance thermoplastic clips and cleats for the A350 and qualification of a painting line for Campus Normandie.The company has high expectations for a major programme with Zodiac Aerospace involving electrical connectors. Qualification of this replacement product for the Airbus A350 is expected in the second half of the year. Production will be split between the company's Normandy site and its Chicagobased subsidiary Met2Plastic.

“The UK is one of the countries where we could carry out specific actions for the future” Jean-Jacques Fillot, CEO Delta Plasturgy

Finally, as a Tier One partner, aims to capitalise on its presence in a country with low production costs, through CCA Tunisie. Created in 2012, this subsidiary offers labour costs that are 30% below those of its competitors. CCA Tunisie currently accounts for one-third of CCA production (high-rate production of AIOS, fairings and landing gear doors) and will soon be equipped with a new extension.The company is investing €10m in the new facilities which cover a surface area of 6,500m2, doubling the existing floor area. The extension is due to enter service in 2021, by which time the workforce will include an additional 150 employees. The company's historical site in Ajaccio will continue its transformation into a research and development centre. Ho-



“The UK is an important aerospace nation offering substantial potential” Pierre-Jean Leduc, CEO

wever, the site will retain around one-third of the company's overall production workload, the final third being performed by Corsica's Pôle des Industries Aéronautiques Corses (PIAC) industrial association, for production of complex parts and to guarantee production rates. One of the best examples of the latter issue is provided by the pylon fairings and nacelle AIOS for the Airbus A330neo programme. The production rate will progressively ramp up from four shipsets per month at the present time to seven per month by 2020. Future developments could include an external growth move in North America, though no particular timeframe has been defined. Acquisition of a target contractor already working with local primes would give CCA direct access to this market.


■ Olivier Constant

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Both forces have close ties to the U.S. Air Force.





he Royal Air Force was officially created on 1st April 1918. At the time, many of its aircraft and crew were located in France.The French Air Force was not created until 1934, but French military aviation also had its roots in actions conducted over the battlefields of World War One. The two forces fought side by side, forming ties that remain strong today. In 1939, following the joint declaration of war by France and the Britain against Germany, the RAF deployed a large contingent in France. Though the Spitfires were retained in reserve on British soil, many fighter, reconnaissance and bombing missions were performed by RAF aircraft flying from France, with significant losses until the armistice was signed between France and Germany.

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Over the following months, a small number of French pilots joined the RAF to continue the fight. In October 1941, the first squadron of the Free French Air Forces was created in England, No. 340 Squadron “Ile de France”. Other units followed, and many French pilots fought under RAF colours. Pierre Clostermann, Max Guedj and René Mouchotte are all symbols of this strong connection.The memory of their actions is preserved on both sides of the Channel, and the French Air Force has retained numerous squadron names from this period. Cooperation continued after the Second World War. In 1956, during the Suez Crisis, the two air forces conducted coordinated deployments, and some French aircraft operated out of British facilities in Cyprus.Though the crisis culminated in diplomatic humiliation for London and Paris, the military operations were a success. Memories of the Gulf War in 1991 also remain strong. French Air Force Chief of Staff André Lanata recently recalled his role in the action flying the Mirage F1CR, while his British opposite number, Air Chief Marshal


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SPECIAL REPORT Sir Stephen Hillier was also involved, as a Tornado pilot. This heritage still preserved today.Though from an industrial viewpoint, France has turned to Germany to prepare its future combat air system, on an operational level the ties between the RAF and the French Air Force – two forces with comparable formats, operational experience and missions – are still strong.

closely together. Sir Stephen Hillier underlined that “the two air intelligence communities are working closely on information-sharing, exchanging and comparing threat assessment methodology, training methods, tactics and procedures.” Cooperation is also strong at lower levels, on a daily basis during training and operations. The two forces have demonstrated a very high level of in-

chains at political and tactical levels. On the ground, the French Air Force deployed senior staff and Rafale fighters in the UK.The exercise demonstrated the Franco-British capacity to build up and deploy a rapid reaction force. The French and British forces also share close ties to the U.S. Air Force. Trilateral “Atlantic Trident” exercises have given French and British pilots the

French, British, Canadian and Czech pilots of 615 Squadron in November 1940.


On the occasion of the RAF’s centennial celebrations, General Lanata emphasised that ties are preserved at the highest level – he noted that the steering committees of the two air forces come together regularly for “very productive” meetings. The two forces work in similar ways at staff level. Intelligence is another area in which the two sides work


teroperability, thanks in large part to joint exercises. There are regular contacts between units, but the real test of interoperability comes through major exercises. Exercise Griffin Strike in 2016 was one of the most comprehensive exercises involving the RAF and the French Air Force.This joint force exercise involved a large number of aircraft as well as the command

opportunity to cooperate in the U.S. alongside fifth-generation U.S. aircraft.These training exercises also give the three air forces the opportunity to share their vision of the future. COMMON EQUIPMENT.

Equipment also has an important role to play in interoperability and cooperation, and the RAF and the French Air Force operate several equipment types

in common.This facilitates the assessment of shared capabilities and allows for coordination of tactics. Shared weapon systems constitute an additional link. France, for example, has ordered 50 Airbus A400M transport aircraft, and the UK has ordered 22. Both forces are already making good use of the aircraft. The French Atlas fleet is being used in support of outof-area operations, as are the British A400Ms.The two allies are probably the biggest users of the A400M. An agreement has been signed for the management of spare parts. Exchanges are possible for operational employment and for maintenance. Sir Stephen Hillier remarks: “The A400M programme is proving to be fertile ground for RAF/French Air Froce cooperation and innovation.” Similar exchanges are occurring on the A330 MRTT inflight refuelling aircraft. The UK has been operating the aircraft for several years under the designation Voyager.At the end of 2018 France will receive its first A330 MRTT, which it calls Phénix. Also in 2018, France received its first C-130J Super Hercules tactical airlifter, which has been in service with the RAF for several years. Both forces also operate the MQ-9 Reaper MALE remotely piloted aircraft. The French will soon be able to use these platforms to deliver weapons, which the British do already.The UK’s familiarity with this equipment should facilitate their introduction in the French Air Force. Both forces also use the SCALP/Storm Shadow cruise missile. The weapon was fired by the French and British forces during the strikes organised jointly with the U.S. against Syrian chemical facilities in April 2018. The SCALP follow-on weapon is also set to be shared by both nations.The Franco-British FC/ASW (Future Cruise/Anti Ship Weapon) programme is designed to replace the SCALP and Exocet


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FRANCO-GERMAN FARNBOROUGH COOPERATION 2018 with a single weapon.The programme design phase was launched in March 2017, under a contract awarded to MBDA. France and the UK had also launched a joint programme to develop an unmanned demonstrator and technologies that could be used in future air combat systems.Today this programme seems to have been placed on the back burner behind the Franco-German initiative. Nonetheless, France and the UK are expected to continue working together on certain technology building blocks. British Typhoons and French Rafales will both use the Meteor long-range air-to-air missile which will represent a real breakthrough in terms of air defence capability for both forces. France and the UK are also jointly preparing future missile programmes. The arrival of the F-35 will

be a challenge for interoperability between the two forces. Until now, although the RAF and the French Air Force did not operate the same combat aircraft, the Typhoon and Rafale are aircraft of the same generation and are interoperable. The F-35 has not been designed to offer the same degree of interoperability. In future, will NATO countries that operate the F-35 (Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, Turkey) cooperate more closely together in preference to other partners? TOGETHER IN OPERATIONS.

All these synergies facilitate interactions in an operational context. As General Lanata remarks, the air defence mission over the two countries is performed in coordination. On several occasions, the RAF and the French Air Force have coor-

dinated their response to Russian strategic bombers flying towards Western European airspace. Concretely, the Russian aircraft are tracked by British radar and fighters before being handed over to the French side. In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in September 2017, the UK offered France a C-17 strategic transport aircraft to help bring humanitarian aid to the affected area. Starting this summer, the two forces will be more directly involved in combat.The RAF is preparing to deploy Chinook heavy-lift helicopters as part of operation Barkhane, the Frenchled counter-terrorism campaign in the Sahel-Saharan region of Africa.The helicopters will be welcomed by the French forces, which do not possess a heavylift rotary wing capability.They could make a very positive impact on the mobility of French

troops in this theatre. The RAF and the French Air Forces are two of the main air forces in Europe, but both have been the target of budget cutbacks in recent decades leading to downsizing of equipment and manpower. In this context, the combination of the resources of the two forces represents real added value. While cooperation with all European forces remains desirable, only the RAF and the French Air Force have a unique shared history and culture. Over the past 20 years, France and the UK have seen multiple deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and the Sahel. That explains why, in spite of Brexit and the multiple uncertainties that it brings, cooperation between the two forces is set to continue over the years to come. ■ Emmanuel Huberdeau

“The A400M programme is proving to be fertile ground for RAF/French Air Force cooperation and innovation” Sir Stephen Hillier

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few days before the start of Eurosatory 2016,Airbus Helicopters took the wraps off the H160M, outlining the main features of the machine that is destined to equip the three branches of the French armed forces by the end of the next decade under the HIL (hélicoptère interarmées léger) joint light helicopter programme. Then-minister of defence JeanYves Le Drian announced the selection of the Airbus Helicopters H160 as the baseline platform for the programme in March 2017. At the end of last year, the company was awarded a risk reduction contract to start work on definition of the military version of the machine. The HIL programme is intended to replace a total of six light and medium helicopters currently in service in the three branches



of the French armed forces:Army Gazelles, Air Force Fennecs and Navy Dauphins, Panthers and Alouette IIIs. Originally the HIL programme also included the replacement of French Air Force Pumas, but in the end the decision was made to order 12 multi-purpose helicopters for this requirement, which was deemed to be separate from the light helicopter mission. The existing machines perform a wide variety of missions in very specific environments.The Gazelle plays an important role in the French Army's “aérocombat” concept. It is used for reconnaissance missions, taking advantage of its small size and maneuvrability. It can also perform attack missions using Hot antitank missiles. Cannons are no longer used but a programme to integrate Gatling multi-barrel machine guns has been ongoing for several years.

French Air Force Fennecs are mainly used for air policing missions.They are used to intercept light aircraft and other helicopters and often carry snipers.The Fennec can also be used in out of area operations for intelligencegathering or fire support with a 20mm cannon.The French Navy uses its Alouette IIIs, Dauphins and Panthers for maritime search and rescue, reconnaissance, intelligence-gathering, intervention and above-water warfare. There are substantial differences, however, in the capabilities of the Alouette III and the Panther to perform these missions. RATIONALISE COSTS.

The French ministry of the armed forces has decided to replace all of these types with a single machine, the HIL.The goal is to rationalise costs by acquiring a large number of machines of a single

type rather than multiple smaller fleets.The latest multi-year defence spending bill (LPM) has a stated target of 169 HILs — 80 for the French Army, 49 for the Navy and 40 for the Air Force.The use of a single airframe should also facilitate maintenance, particularly considering that the H160 has been designed to facilitate in-service support. The first orders are planned for 2022, for delivery from 2025 onwards.This seems rather late, considering the age of the Navy's Alouette IIIs or the Army's Gazelles. For the next 10 years, the French Navy will have to rely on an interim fleet of around 10 Dauphins and three H160s. The H160 is the latest addition to the Airbus Helicopters product line and the first of a new generation of machines.Although the first models to arrive on the market were aimed at commercial ope-


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The HIL is intended to replace helicopters in service in the three branches of the French armed forces.

rators,Airbus says that the machine was designed from the outset with military applications in mind. A series of seven reports involving the DGA and the armed forces validated the capabilities of the H160 in its military version (H160M) against the requirements of the HIL programme. Airbus Helicopters completed a 3D mockup of the H160M to define the position of all the military equipment. Weight and performance calculations were submitted to the DGA and the armed forces. At the same time the Airbus Helicopters marketing staff performed studies to see how the H160M could be adapted for the export market. SHARED PLATFORM.

The manufacturer and the armed forces reached a decision to develop a single version of the H160M, designed to be equipped

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with optional systems depending on the specific requirements of the armed forces.This choice of a shared military platform distinguishes the MIL from the NH90 programme, which included two main versions (landand ship-based) in multiple versions depending on the customer. In theory, an H160M delivered to the French armed forces could, therefore, be reconfigured from one role to another in the course of its service life. Thus, this shared platform had to be designed to meet the requirements of the three armed forces, the most stringent of which apply to the version designed for ship-based operations.To operate from a frigate, a helicopter must be equipped with reinforced landing gear designed to withstand repeated impacts from deck landings.Also, the salt-laden marine environment can rapidly lead to



DEFENCE wear and corrosion. Concerning the latter problem,Airbus has focused in particular on eliminating corrosion problems at interfaces between carbon and metal components. Some equipment destined for the H160M will be fitted to French Navy Caimans for evaluation. Certain features of the H160M are still under study. Rotor blades will feature a manual folding mechanism. A vertical tail folding system would allow the helicopter to operate from the French Navy's La Fayette frigates and would facilitate loading the aircraft onto the A400M.The system, however, carries a weight penalty, and a final decision has yet to be made. Speed is another important feature of the H160M, particularly in the air policing role. Airbus has indicated that the civil and military versions will have the same engine, and the announced speed of the civil version is 155 knots. However, armoured protection for vital components and for the crew, are likely to render the military version heavier than its civil counterpart. Work is currently under way to define protection system requirements. Airbus has already announced that engine exhausts will be fitted with mixing systems and jet deflectors to reduce the helicopter's thermal signature. BASELINE VERSION.

The baseline version of the H160M should include equipment common to the three forces, including the radar and optronics turret. It will be designed for sling load operations. It will feature stub wings for weapons such as rocket launchers, cannons, machine gun pods or missiles. It will also be possible to fit side-mounted weapons. Each force will have to determine the weapons that correspond to their requirements. Each force will be able to integrate the equipment corresponding to the expected missions. The French Navy will be able to equip its HILs with a harpoon system to tether the helicopter to the frigate landing grid; Navy

HILs will probably carry the MBDA light anti-ship missile. Datalinks will allow the machine to perform target designation for the frigate and to collaborate with unmanned platforms.The French Navy is due to acquire a tactical vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) drone, the SDAM, to be ordered under the next multiyear defence spending bill. A rescue hoist will be provided for SAR missions. IN-FLIGHT REFUELLING.

The French Air Force, meanwhile, has requested an in-flight refuelling probe on its H160Ms and a data link to ensure that it can fly missions alongside the Caracal. In this way, the H160M could allow the French Air Force to develop the concept of deep penetration using helicopters.Airbus estimates that the H160M will be able to fly for more than 2.5 hours between two in-flight refuelling operations. The Air Force had also requested the possibility of integrating axial weapons — an option that would also be of interest to the French Army for close air support missions. In relation to the French concept of aérocombat, the H160M will offer new capabilities, thanks to its superior payload capacity versus the Gazelle. The H160M could, for example, operate as a flying command post. Airbus Helicopters focused on maintenance issues right from the start of the design process, with an emphasis on autonomy in support.The H160 is designed for a 50-hour interval between maintenance operations. Critical equipment is positioned for easy access. Ground crews will be able to work on the entire machine without the need for external equipment. Engineers used technologies derived from the A350 to design easily repairable composite components. H160M technical documentation will be all-digital and will include repair solutions with tasks listed in order to facilitate technicians' work. ■ Emmanuel Huberdeau


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“EUROPEAN DEFENCE IS FINALLY MOVING FORWARD” > At the recent Berlin Air Show, you announced major milestones in Franco-German cooperation in various areas. Why is cooperation between France and Germany so important today? This is not entirely new. European policies are built first and foremost within the framework of a Franco-German partnership. This is true in many areas, including European defence. A Franco-German summit on 13th July 2017 cleared the way for the projects that were launched at the ILA Berlin Air Show. This partnership, however, is by no means exclusive; we also have a certain number of projects with Spain and Italy, for example. The Franco-German summit in July 2017 was immediately followed by a meeting in Paris attended by the Italian and Spanish defence ministers, since we think that this Franco-German driving force needs to be supported and enhanced by cooperation with other European countries.



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DEFENCE Today, this work needs to be pursued! First, there is the European drone, which was unveiled in mockup form at the Berlin show.You will have noticed the number of flags on the aircraft — not two, but four: French, German, Italian and Spanish. Then there is the future combat air system, a major project that its moving forward, since we have defined the major functions of this weapon system.This is the result of hard work by teams in the ministries and in industry, whereas even a few months ago, nobody believed in the project. We have also made progress in maritime patrol aircraft, with the signature of a letter of intent to develop a replacement for the ATL2. These three projects illustrate the ambition and determination of the Franco-German undertaking.And I might add a fourth project about which little has been said to date: Standard 3 of the Tiger combat helicopter, for which we are going to make a strong commitment with our German partners.All these projects bode well for the upcoming Franco-German summit meeting in June. I would add that, on the occasion of the Berlin Air Show, I made a joint flight with my German opposite number, Ursula von der Leyen, on an A400M escorted symbolically by a Eurofighter and a Rafale. The A400M is a magnificent project, and we have learned a lot from the way in which it has been managed. In particular, we have understood the importance of the shared definition of functions at an early stage, based on our military requirements, as defined by our military staff and the French defence procurement agency (DGA) and their German equivalents. It is only when solid foundations have been laid in this way that we can build ambitious projects and invite other nations to join us. The other lesson we have learned from the A400M project is

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that industrial organisation must be determined on an industrial basis and not according to a principle of “just return” as a function of each nation's contribution. I think this is a fundamental issue which we must bear in mind in determining the structure and organisation of our future projects. So, as we see, European defence is finally moving forward. It is being built around concrete projects, around a Franco-German core, but with a wider ambition, remaining open to all European countries. > Did you encourage Airbus and Dassault to work together? What kind of industrial work-sharing arrangements do you see for these projects? The two companies have reached an agreement, which shows how this project represents a source of union and hope for our industry. Clearly, there were intense political preparations to prepare the ground for this agreement, and we are very pleased that the two companies have reached this decisive milestone. Remember, only a few months ago, many observers were saying that there could be no dialogue between the two companies on the SCAF. Today we see proof that dialogue is possible.That is extremely positive. However, it is still a little early to talk about the details of industrial work-sharing on these projects. I might add that Airbus and Dassault are suppliers whose customers — i.e. the states — will have to validate the industrial work-sharing which the two companies propose. But I was talking earlier about avoiding a repetition of the errors of the past: we will not be the ones to shape the industrial organisation for SCAF as the states did for the A400M; however, we will be following the process closely. The most important thing is to find a balanced solution that satisfies everyone. Let's not go


from one extreme to the other. The next step is to produce an initial outline of the distribution of roles. The goal is to make the best use of each company's strong points.This is key to ensuring the performance of the finished product, the proper use of public funds invested by the participating states, and the ability to stay on schedule. Finally, Ursula von der Leyen mentioned in Berlin something that I think is very important: we need to have industrial leaders.To ensure effective project execution, I think it is essential to underline the need to identify the project leader. > Will OCCAR take responsibility for SCAF programme management? We are currently looking into this question. OCCAR makes sense when there are a large number of partners.The project is in its early stages with two well-identified countries. It seems to us not unreasonable for the DGA play a role, since the German ministry itself has acknowledged French leadership on SCAF. But it would be premature at this stage to take a decision. If the DGA were to take charge of the project, German officers and representatives would be integrated into the teams. The objective is to work in close cooperation with a clearly defined method. > What about cooperation with the UK on the FCAS programme? Franco-British cooperation is still very active.The Lancaster House agreements, which were confirmed and extended at the Franco-British summit in January 2018, are still fully applicable. The FCAS project is currently being re-orientated.The initial goal was to produce a combat UAV. Our British friends want to change the project into a surveillance UAV. In order to reconcile these two approaches, we are working to

define technology building blocks that could feed into both projects at the same time. These building blocks constitute a great opportunity; they could even generate inputs into the SCAF project at a future point in time. For that matter, though we wish to limit cooperation on the SCAF programme initially to France and Germany in order to build a firm base, there is nothing to prevent the project being opened up to other European partners at a later date.We have already received requests from some countries, and there is no reason why the project could not be opened to the UK if it wishes. To come back to the FCAS project, what we are doing is extremely useful for France and the UK.The results that are coming in are concrete and useful; it is not an image-building exercise. For now, the project should be left to mature, and we will see at a later stage how it might find its place in a broader European framework. On cooperative projects like SCAF or FCAS, my method is straightforward: identify useful, concrete projects, work in close collaboration, build a solid base, then expand. It's a pragmatic vision, focused on results, and that is how we can build European defence, consolidate our industries and, of course, ensure operational superiority. > What are your main policy goals in terms of innovation? Preparing the future, capitalising on innovation, : above and beyond SCAF, this constitutes a key target for action.That is why innovation is one of the four cornerstones of the multiyear defence spending bill currently being debated in parliament. New technologies and digitalisation are all around us.They give structure to our daily lives and to the battlefield. They simultaneously present challenges, opportunities that must be seized and potential sources of danger.


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financing, and we recently announced the first investment — in Kalray, a company based in Grenoble whose microprocessors could be particularly useful to our armed forces. So we are reaching out to the civil sector, to startups, to SMEs. In short, we will go anywhere where we can find innovation. If we are going to be ambitious, however, we also need to get our own house in order.The DGA is spearheading our action in innovation within the ministry of the armed forces. It will soon have a dedicated structure, a defence innovation agency, whose mission will be to guide and closely coordinate the initiatives that have been launched.

support mechanisms and the points of contact. > Startups are focused on the short term. Is that compatible with the much longer cycles of arms programmes? I see that as an advantage. Startups act quickly. So they can bring us a tremendous dose of acceleration thanks to their ability to manage projects within a short timeframe. I don't see any contradiction. A multi-year equipment programme can easily accommodate short-term innovation cycles. Let's take an example: a submarine is designed for a service life


When we talk of conflicts, I see two main lessons we can learn from this ongoing digital and technological revolution. The first is the proliferation of increasingly sophisticated systems, which means that, in order to retain our technological lead, we have to innovate again and again and again. The second lesson is the fact that a certain number of technologies, accessible at low cost, are increasingly being used for military applications. All technologies are becoming accessible and can be used against us.This trend is illustrated on a daily basis in the Sahel or the Middle East, where openly available commercial drones can be transformed into killing machines. These are major risks, which is why the ministry must act, be ready, reactive and totally determined to innovate. First, we need better links between the civil and military spheres. Innovations developed by much smaller entities (startups or SMEs) must feed into our defence industry and technology base.We must establish the means to identify entities which in some cases are not aware that they could contribute to the defence industry and technology base, since they are working on projects aimed at civilian applications. It is up to us to build bridges; it's a winwin situation. This dialogue between the civil and military spheres, between small entities and very large groups, between small entities and the ministry of the armed forces, is the key to my vision of innovation. Some very useful measures have already been put in place, such as Rapid and Astrid. More was needed, which is why we created the Definvest investment fund.This fund, jointly managed by the French procurement executive (DGA) and Bpifrance, will invest directly in startups and SMEs with innovations that could help the defence sector. The fund initially has €50m in

“We are reaching out to startups and SMEs to find innovations” This innovation agency will be charged with organising this dialogue between the different participants in the innovation process who are in the civil sector and who in some cases are at the head of very small organisations who are not at all accustomed to communicating with large industrial groups.The doors to the ministry of the armed forces must be wide open. Innovators, whether inside or outside the ministry, must have immediate access to relevant

lasting several decades, but the equipment inside the submarine is destined to be upgraded at much shorter intervals. So we need to have a permanent dialogue between long cycles and short cycles. This may seem paradoxical; it is a challenge, but a necessary challenge and one we must address. It is the only way we can be sure of having the most advanced technologies and ensuring our technological and operational superiority.

> How will space programmes contribute over the coming years? There are new areas of confrontation, and it is clear that the exoatmospheric zone and cyberspace constitute new conflict zones. There are 1,500 satellites in orbit today, a figure that is expected to rise to 6,000 in 5-10 years' time. So we can see that space is a highly contested environment. We are also seeing an increasing number of nonfriendly — not to say hostile — actions, e.g. satellites capable of interfering with the orbits of other satellites. So we could lose our ability to evaluate the situation if one of our satellites was the victim of interference. It is critical for us to retain our satellite-based intelligencegathering capabilities.We must have our own source of information and not depend on third parties.That, very concretely, is what we call strategic autonomy. That is why the multiyear defence spending bill provides for heavy investment in space. Our entire satellite fleet will be upgraded by 2025.These additional assets will guarantee the ambition and autonomy of France's space strategy — a loosely regulated area where it is important not to fall behind, as it imposssible to catch up. Follow-on platforms for Musis (optical surveillance) and Ceres (signals intelligence) will enter service, along with the first two Syracuse IV communications satellites.We will also launch the Omega navigation programme. The Graves space surveillance radar will be renovated to enhance the detection threshold, down to few tens of centimetres. At the same time, we are using telescopes supplied by ArianeGroup and the CNES space agency. We are very conscious of the need for space surveillance. We can also imagine cameras integrated on existing satellites, maybe on commercial constellations.


■ Emmanuel Huberdeau

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ON SHOW Through iTs parTicipaTion in The recenT sTrikes on syria, The French air Force has demonsTraTed iTs capabiliTy To carry ouT long-range sTrikes From France and From French navy FrigaTes. This complex operaTion also illusTraTed The inTeroperabiliTy beTween French, briTish and u.s. Forces.

ver a timespan of less than 10 minutes, around 4 AM local time on 14th April, 105 cruise missiles were launched against targets in Syria.A coalition of U.S., French and British forces attacked three sites believed to be used by the Bashar al-Assad's regime for the development, production and storage of chemical weapons.


The strikes targeted three sites: a research centre at Barzeh, a storage facility at Him Shinshar and a nearby bunker. According to the Pentagon, 76 missiles were aimed at the first site, 22 at the second and seven at the third, for a total of 105 missiles, including 12 fired by French forces and eight by the UK. The attacks came from different directions and a variety of platforms in order to saturate Syrian air defence systems.Though Russian sources reported that 70 missiles were intercepted, the Pentagon declared that all the missiles reached their targets. According to the U.S. DoD, Syrian air defences were only activated after the strikes had occurred. A total of 40 air defence missiles were reportedly launched into the empty skies by the Syrian regime after the U.S., French and British cruise missiles had already hit their targets. Russian air defence systems, whose presence in Syria is well known, were apparently not activated.The Pentagon stated that the Russian authorities did not receive advanced notice of the strikes. MULTIPLE LAUNCH PLATFORMS.

The Pentagon gave the following breakdown of platforms that participated in the operation.The missiles were launched by aircraft based in Europe and the Gulf and by surface ships and a submarine in the Red Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf.

One of the five French AF Rafales, carrying two Scalp cruise missiles.

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Baptism of fire for MDCN ... he mdcn missile is derived from mbda's scalp missile carried by French rafales and mirage 2000ds. it is designed for launch from vertical launch tubes on certain surface ships or from submarine torpedo tubes. Though the missile's range has not been officially disclosed, it is widely believed to be around 1,000km, with an accuracy of 1m. The French navy is ultimately scheduled to receive 14 platforms capable of firing the naval variant of the scalp — six barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarines and eight Fremm frigates. like


The greatest number of weapons were launched by the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Monterey, which fired 30 Tomahawk missiles.The ship was located in the Red Sea, along with the Arleigh Burkeclass destroyer USS Laboon, which fired seven cruise missiles. The destroyer USS Higgins fired 23 Tomahawk missiles from the Gulf. In the Mediterranean, a French Navy multi-mission frigate, Languedoc, fired three MDCN naval cruise missiles (see box) — the first time the MDCN had been used in a military operation — and theVirginia class nuclear attack submarine USS John Warner fired six Tomahawk missiles.


the u.s. navy or the uk royal navy with their Tomahawk missiles, the French navy will thus offer an additional option to political decision-makers. a ship carrying 16 mdcn missiles (the maximum number that could be carried on a Fremm frigate) constitutes a major threat for any adversary. according to the draft French finance bills for 2016, 2017 and 2018, two initial batches of mdcn missiles were delivered in 2016, followed by a further batch in 2017, with another batch to come in 2018. The exact number of missiles in each batch has not been disclosed.

The remaining missiles were launched from airborne platforms. French Rafales fired nine Scalp missiles, while RAFTornados, escorted by Typhoons, launched eight Storm Shadows.TheTornado is due to be withdrawn from service in 2019, at which time the Typhoon will take over the Storm Shadow mission for the RAF. Two USAF B-1B Lancer bombers operating from the Al Udeid base in the United Arab Emirates with fighter escorts fired 19 AGM-158 JASSM-ER missiles (see box) — also the first time this weapon, said to have a range greater than 900km, had been used in a military operation.According to the Pentagon, electronic warfare and in-

flight refuelling platforms were also involved. The U.S. DoD underlined the precision and coordination of the strikes, estimating that the targets had been hit and that the Syrian regime's chemical weapons production and storage capacities had been heavily impacted. French armed forces minister Florence Parly said the mission was a success and that military objectives had been achieved. She underlined the coordination between the forces and synchronisation with the allies. LONG-RANGE STRIKES.

For France, the operation was important for several reasons. It demonstrates once again the

French Air Force's long-range strike capability. Strikes had already been carried out against Libya from French bases, but this time the strikes were part of a 7,000km mission involving 17 aircraft from different bases in France.The operation highlighted the know-how of the French strategic air force (Forces aériennes stratégiques, FAS), which trains regularly for this type of long-range mission. However, FAS aircraft were not the only platforms involved in the operations that took place during the night of 13th - 14th April. Five Rafales took off from France, each carrying two Scalp missiles, Mica air-to-air missiles and three 2,000-litre fuel tanks. Single-seat Rafale Cs and twinseat Rafale Bs were both involved. Nine missiles were reportedly launched. Photos released by the French military staff clearly show the five Rafales returning with no weapons under their wings, suggesting that one of the Scalp missiles may not have performed as planned.According to the Pentagon, seven missiles hit the Him Shinshar bunker and two others, the storage facility on the same site. The Rafales were escorted by four Mirage 2000-5s. The latter are specialised in the air defence role, with their RDY radar and six Mica missiles, which shows that planners had considered a possible reaction


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DEFENCE from Russian aircraft. Six C-135 tankers provided in-flight refuelling — a major challenge considering the reported low availability across the ageing French tanker fleet. Each fighter took on fuel five times in the course of the mission: three times on the outward leg, twice on the flight back. The operation underlined once again the key role played by the inflight refuelling fleet. France is expecting to receive its first new A330 MRTT this year, and A400Ms delivered since the end of 2017 also have the capability to refuel other aircraft in flight. Two E-3F AWACS aircraft also took part in the mission. In addition to long-range early warning missions, these aircraft can perform the command and control role during a strike mission.According to French armed forces chief of staff General François Lecointre, the French mission commander was able to control the entire eastern Mediterranean zone, demonstrating what he called the extreme sophistication of French control capabilities. There was also a major mobilisation of French naval assets, including three Fremm frigates and one anti-submarine warfare frigate. The French Navy employed the deep strike capability of its new frigates for the first time.The three missiles fired from the Langeudoc were aimed at

the Him Shinshar storage facility. The MDCN missile was definitively qualified in 2015. In 2016, the Aquitaine Fremm was deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of the Charles de Gaulle carrier battle group. Commanding officer Commodore RenéJean Grignola told Air&Cosmos that the mission had helped to explore the system's potential through joint exercises with the Americans to evaluate and improve interoperability.This first use of the missile is a major event, demonstrating France's capability to carry out this type of strike. The Russians have also taken advantage of operations in Syria to fire Kalibr cruise missiles from Russian Navy ships in the Caspian Sea or to carry out strikes

using strategic bombers operating from bases in Russia. In addition to their military value, these operations also serve to demonstrate capabilities. COMPLEXITY.

General Lecointre has underlined the complexity of the control mission and the coordination of activities during the night of 13th - 14th April.Targets were hit from platforms at considerable distances and with highly variable flight times depending on the launch platform. Nonetheless, the allies say that all missiles reached their target within a timespan of a few minutes. The mission also demonstrates French planning capabilities.The Scalp missile requires extensive

intelligence inputs.Targets must be modelled in 3D before being entered into the missile guidance system. The missile trajectory must also be defined, and weather conditions can affect the missile's flight path. French satellites (Pleiades and Helios II) also provided data for the operation. In addition, France can call on its Gabriel C-160G Transall platform for signals intelligence (SIGINT) operations. Geopolitical specialists will debate the diplomatic significance of the Syrian strikes. From a military viewpoint, however, the strikes represent a major demonstration of the capabilities of the three participating nations, France in particular. ■ Emmanuel Huberdeau

… and JASSM-ER he u.s. air Force fired the lockheed martin Joint air-tosurface standoff missile – extended range (Jassm-er) for the first time in a military operation on the night of 13th – 14th april. This cruise missile, which weighs in at more than 900kg, is fitted with a penetrator/blast fragmentation warhead designed to strike hardened, well-defended targets. according to lockheed martin the missile has a range of over 900km. it is equipped with infrared and jam-proof gps/inertial guidance. The


Jassm-er is currently operational on the b-1b, as shown by the syria strikes. lockheed martin also announced in February that the missile had also been integrated on the F-15e, and work is ongoing to fit the weapon onto the b-52 and F-16. The previous version of the missile, Jassm, had a range of around 370km and was integrated on the b-1, b2, b-52, F-16 and F-15e. it can also be carried by royal australian air Force F/a18s. The u.s. has ordered 910 Jassm-er missiles to date.

French C-135 tankers and E-3F AWACS aircraft prepare for take-off.

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MAINTENANCE, REPAIR AND OVERHAUL With the entry into service of airliners like the airbus a350 and the boeing 787 featuring extensive use of advanced materials, neW tools and processes are being developed that are exclusively dedicated to repairing damage to carbon fibre-reinforced composites. timeconsuming manual processes are giving Way to high-precision automated systems.




Airbus A350 with carbon fibre-themed livery.

he increasing use of carbon in commercial aircraft construction is mainly driven by the associated weight gains and resulting reductions in fuel consumption. Maintenance of new models incorporating substantial proportions of carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRP) is facilitated by the excellent fatigue properties of carbon parts.With reference to the A350, Robert Nardini, Head of Airframe Engineering at Airbus, comments: “Previous-generation aircraft were designed for a service life of 48,000 cycles, while the new widebodies featuring CFRPs are designed for 60,000 cycles.”



n view of the fuel savings and service life extensions they offer, composites have been regularly increasing their foothold in aviation programmes over the past four decades. The trend is likely to continue, as these materials now possess a proven track record and will continue to replace their metallic counterparts in many applications over the coming years. Nonetheless, it has been estimated that the cost of impact damage to commercial transport aircraft is now more than €1bn per year.This in turn is driving the development of new tools and processes specifically designed and developed to repair damage to composite materials.

Service companies are thus confronted with completely new challenges, because conventional repair processes are no longer economically viable. Until now, the repair of damaged fibre composites has typically involved complex and expensive manual processes. Such repair work takes anything from a few days to several weeks. REPAIR PATCH SYSTEMS.

Among the solutions being offered for fast, high-quality repair of CFRP parts, many suppliers are now offering complete repair patch systems using heat blankets or other devices to vacuumcure repaired areas after grinding and cleaning.

At the recent JEC World Paris show, Seattle-based Heatcon Composite Systems, represented in Europe by Aero Consultants AG, showed its HCS 9300NW. The HCS9300NW Series Network Controller is used to coordinate the operation of multiple HCS9000/9200 Hot Bonders to accomplish large area cures or thermally complex repair situations where multiple zones are required.The Network Controller centralises the operator interface, data collection and cure record export functions, and bonder synchronisation tasks into one unit, allowing easier management of complex composite repair scenarios.


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INDUSTRY It manages vacuum conditions at the repair zone and monitors temperatures over a range of 120-180°C in 25 different zones with resistance testing of heating blankets prior to curing, along with leak testing of the vacuum bags.A colour display shows the exact temperature curve for each repair. It also features enough memory to record repair parameters for 500 hours and a miniprinter for data storage.

Heatcon HCS9000C hot bonder.


Similar systems have been developed in Europe. Aeroform Composites, a French firm based near Lyon, offers a range of portable solutions for on-site repairs of composite elements during aircraft maintenance.The company offers three systems supplied in special cases containing all the equipment required to perform curing cycles on aerospace-grade composite materials. These systems can manage precise temperature cycles at one or more repair zones. The AHB380D Hot Bonder dual zone unit can operate as two independent single zone units, and can manage zone B in slave of zone A, ideal for complex repairs. The system features 10 dynamic thermocouples per zone for greater security and uniformity of the repair, all independently scanned and selectable to control from the hottest, coldest or average thermocouple inputs. The vacuum, which is generated from two very silent venturis, can be set at 0 900mbar. A thyristor output drive is used to control heater mats, infrared lamps and hot air generators (Hot Gun). Among the other features of the AHB380D Hot Bonder • Onboard memory for storage of an almost infinite number of cure profiles. Post cure data dump to USB “Data Key” of all parameters for analysis and archiving with a PDF format. • Visual and sound indication of all alarms. Event recording of all process interventions.

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Finding subsurface defects longside hot bonding repair systems, paris-based gmi aero also offers the elisa ultrasonic console kit for non-destructive testing of composite repairs by mro providers and aircraft maintenance shops. elisa is provided in a portable case containing all the necessary instruments and parts for conducting damage analysis by ultrasonic methods on carbon structures. the objective is to allow the technician to determine the limits of the damaged area (delamination or disbonding) and to specify the depth position of a delamination. a complete set of composite specimens representative of the composite thickness of modern aircraft can be offered as part of the equipment for thickness and ply calibration. in a standard version, the console contains: l the ultrasonic instrument with interface to a pc laptop, l two sensors for carbon structure damage analysis, l complete list of necessary accessories to perform inspection in the field, l manual for ultrasonic analysis of carbon structures, l optionally, a unique set of comprehensive carbon thickness standard for ply number calibration. the elisa ultrasonic board has been specially developed for the ultrasonic damage assessment. in particular the sensitivity has been studied to discriminate disbonding after the first or second ply as is frequently the case in the context of damage on composite structures following an impact.the definition of signals on the pc screen is clear for an easy analysis in the field. the pc software has been designed to offer all the tuning capabilities required to programme the parameters of a a scan by transmission. two families of specimens are available: l fabric specimens with thickness of: 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16 plies. l tape specimens with thickness of: 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, 48, 64, 72, 96 plies.



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INDUSTRY Three levels of password protection for all operating and programming levels. • Automatic ‘‘Hot restart’’ after power failure. • Print out including complete description of the cure and all elements of traceability. The company also offers a range of flexible heater mats equipped with connectors for composite structure repairs using vacuum bagging techniques. The heater mats can be complemented with infrared lamps, useful for treating irregular shapes.

These lamps generate elevated tempeatures to penetrate the prepreg to ensure good bonding and satisfactory curing. The company also offers repair tool kits for surface preparation prior to polymerisation, along with vacuum pumps, hot air generators, multi-zone leak detectors and thermocouples. GMI AERO.

Another player in the composite repair sector is Paris-based GMI Aero, which offers a range of products and services specifically

designed for the needs of MRO providers and maintenance shops. The company's Anita EZ09 smart patch repair bonding console claims to provide a revolutionary way to conduct advanced bonding operations. A large touch screen panel and associated software allow process supervision with graphical and tabulated presentations, along with interactive selection of temperature control modes. The Anita offers all the necessary functions to control the bonding heating process under

vacuum for repairs on composite or metallic structures of various thicknesses and on structures with differentiated thermal reaction. Heat control is provided on two independent channels for one repair with one or two heating zones or two separate repairs. A third channel offers the ability to compensate for heat losses on the bag or around the patch.The Anita can be used to drive heat blankets, radiant panels, hot air blowers, etc. The touch screen on the console is used to programme the cure cycle — temperature up to 140°C with a tolerance of ± 5°C, with real-time graphic display for each phase of the cycle. Quality assurance reports can be saved and printed. Pertinent data can be downloaded onto a flash drive via two USB ports.



Other suppliers offer robotic solutions designed to perform composite machining operations on primary structural elements that cannot be removed from the aircraft.This involves adapting methods traditionally used on secondary elements (engine nacelles, control surfaces, etc.). Until now, repairs on this type of element have involved time-consuming manual processes to prepare the surfaces of the repair zone. To automate and optimise the preparation of carbon fibre composites and reduce costly aircraft on ground (AOG) times, robotic solutions are being developed. Two machines have been specifically developed to dock directly onto the airframe in order to perform the initial operations consisting of eliminating all traces of damaged material and preparing surfaces to receive new material. Bayab, based near Toulouse, is offering Reply.5, which has been selected and qualified by Airbus for structural repairs on primary parts on the A350.The qualification covers repairs performed during production and in service. François Cénac, Bayab's president and chief technical officer, says

Bayab’s Reply.5 portable abrasion machining system. 30


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INDUSTRY the system has also attracted interest from Airbus Helicopters, Bombardier and Boeing. François Cénac, Bayab's president and chief technical officer, explains that the Reply.5 is a portable abrasion machining system using a high-pressure jet (< 1,000bar) to carry out machining operations with an accuracy of ± 0.05mm.The amount of material removed is regulated by the energy of the abrasive jet as a function of the surface profile and the desired depth. Cénac says the machine can work to an accuracy of a single carbon ply — an average of 0.15mm on an A350, or 0.200.25mm on a Boeing 787. The machine, which is held in place by vacuum cups, uses less than two litres of water per minute. Rubber dampers protect the surface of parts under repair. The waterjet head is equipped with an effluent skimmer that locks in and sucks water, sand and composite dust. The abrasive water jet measures 2mm in diameter. The robot is a 2-axis mechanical system driving machining and controlling tools on a 500x500mm² surface.The waterjet head is maintained at a distance of around 10cm from the surface.The machining robot is linked to a mobile ground station unit thanks to a 15m-long umbilical.The whole system is controlled by a handheld touch screen terminal. The terminal embeds a specially developed interface that includes CAD, CAM, PLC managing, maintenance and controlling functions. A separate ground station unit (GSU) integrates all the systems needed to drive the robot (CNC, high-pressure pump, vacuum cleaner, vacuum pump…). Powered by single-phased electricity, compressed air and tap water, the GSU can integrate a retractable working bench and a 1µm filtration system that manages effluent by continuously sorting water and solid waste. When it is not used, the robot and all machine components can be stored inside the GSU.

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AMES offers nacelle, aerostructures MRO services erostructures middle east services (ames) is a joint-venture of safran nacelles and air france industries klm engineering & maintenance, performing dedicated repair services in a geographic zone that covers the middle east, gulf arab states and indian peninsula. safran brings the capabilities of a leading original equipment manufacturer (oem) for small, medium and large engine nacelles, while afi klm e&m contributes as a major provider of mro services. based in dubai's Jebel ali free Zone, ames is accommodating a growing volume of nacelle maintenance, repair and overhaul (mro) work. the company has performed radome repairs on nine airbus a320s to date, along with five boeing 737s, thanks to its 3m-



Germany's DMG Mori is proposing its ULTRASONIC mobileBLOCK system, a small 5axis milling unit designed for MRO operations on composite materials reinforced with carbon or glass fibre, aramid and even ceramic matrix composites (CMC). This compact 130kg unit, which was on display at the Paris Air Show at year, can be mounted directly on the aircraft. Adjustable vacuum suction feet generate a suction force of up to 400 N per foot. 16 vacuum suction feet are included in the standard version. Moveable ball joints (+/- 45°) and pivoting mounting arms are designed to ensure fast and simple adjustment to even surfaces (e.g. wings) and especially to components with radii and complex contours (e.g. frame elements on the fuselage of the aircraft). The frame, X-axis gantry, adjustment arms and the Z-axis slide are all of carbon composite construction, making them especially insensitive to thermal expansion. DMG Mori says its 5-axis milling unit enables structured handling of the actual repair tasks in


diameter autoclave, which allows it to perform a wide range of composite repairs on aerostructure parts such as radomes, winglets and flight control surfaces. the ames core business portfolio includes services for safran-produced nacelles and thrust reversers on rolls-royce trent 700 and trent 500 engines on the a330 and a340, as well as the a320 family's cfm international cfm56 powerplant. the capabilities also apply to safran nacelles' latest products, such as the nacelle system for the a320neo and a330neo. ames is also positioned to accommodate the very large nacelles and thrust reversers for general electric's ge90 engines on the boeing 777, along with the engine alliance gp7200s and rolls-royce trent 900 engines that power the a380.

a few minutes while at the same guaranteeing 100 percent consistent quality, precision and repeatability. Sophisticated +/- 95° machining is possible thanks to the 5-axis kinematics of the integrated rotary swivel axis. The standard version of the ULTRASONIC mobileBLOCK can be adapted quickly and simply by crane.This allows the mobile milling unit to be docked onto many different surfaces in a few minutes. The 5-axis BeckhoffTwinCAT 3 NC control ensures simple, PC-based operation via a 21.5" (multi-)touch screen for the user. Integral operator guidance is extremely user-friendly, offering support covering the component drawing, definition of the damaged area, the machining task, laser surface measurement of the workpiece and creation of the final NC file. Possible integration into an existing company network and continuous Internet access are possible. The use of two different CRP-optimised lasers is possible for actu1al machining preparation. The point laser scanner is used to detect the workpiece surface in Z, while the integrated line scanner is used for reworking the surface of 3D shapes with

up to 640 individual pixels. Both components can be installed and removed in just a few seconds depending on the different machining tasks. The intelligent kinematic design with X,Y, C, Z and A-axis allows unlimited 5-axis simultaneous machining and top dynamics thanks to optimised positioning of the centre of gravity. The ULTRASONIC technology is in this case integrated in the high-performance spindle with up to 35,000 rpm. ULTRASONIC technology involves targeted transmission of an ultrasonic vibration into the longitudinal axis of the tool, resulting in a significant reduction of feed force, lengthening of tool life and improved chip break which in turn optimises chip removal. According to DMG Mori, targeted overlaying of the cutting direction with ULTRASONIC combined with the high cutting speed enables clean cutting of the fibres of the material and thus meet the high demands on productivity and component quality. Reduction of the effective process forces by up to 40 percent also results in clean edges thus eliminating fibre pull-out and delamination. ■ Jean Guilhem .


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afran, through its subsidiary Safran Corporate Ventures, and GO CAPITAL announced in April that they were taking a stake in the French startup Turbotech. Safran Corporate Ventures is the Group's corporate venture capital arm. Established in 2015, it funds startups that have developed breakthrough or disruptive technologies or business models, helping Safran to address the challenges of the aerospace and defense markets. Turbotech is developing a range of turbine engines for light aircraft (turboprops and turbo-electric generators), based on innovative regenerative cycle turbines.


Turbotech's products seek to combine reliability, exceptional performance, low fuel consumption, low acoustic signature and minimal operating costs. The heat exchanger was codeveloped with Le Guellec Tubes & Profilés, a French company based in Brittany. Turbotech has facilities in Brittany and the greater Paris area. It was founded by four partners, all former employees of Safran, and is directed by Damien Fauvet. Le Guellec is also a shareholder and provides industrial support. Safran Corporate Ventures took part in a €3m round of funding alongside GO CAPITAL Amorçage II, a technology seed fund for western France. Along with this investment, Nicolas Franck of Safran Corporate Ventures and Jérôme Guéret of GO CAPITAL will be joining the company's Strategy Committee. This round of funding will enable Turbotech to finalize the development of its products and introduce them on the market starting in 2019.Turbotech will be the first company to sell a high-performance hybrid propulsion system in the general aviation, heavy drone and ondemand air mobility markets.The electric

version will give hybrid propulsion aircraft several hours of endurance. Safran and Turbotech have signed a technology partnership agreement, entailing technical support from Safran, and the use of Turbotech's technology in some of Safran's future products. The contract covers an initial period of five years. According to Stéphane Cueille, Safran Vice President for R&T and Innovation: "The agreement signed today will enable the two companies to pool our skills and effectively transform the basic technological building blocks developed by Turbotech into products that will be attractive in both Safran's and Turbotech's markets." “FLYING CARS”

One of the potential applications of hybrid propulsion technology is a turbogenerator capable of powering future “flying car” concepts.Turbotech co-founder Damien Fauvet explains that the company's turbogenerator represents the first on-board power generator, designed to be embedded in a hybrid propulsion system to power of all types of aircraft. It can be activated during all or selected phases of flight, depending on the needs of the aircraft. The electric power is

55kW turbo-electric generator developed by Turbotech. 32


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One of the key innovations at the heart of the Turbotech concept is a heat exchanger comprising thousands of microtubes resulting in a significant reduction in turbine fuel consumption. Fauvet explains: “The technology is well known. The challenge lay in designing a compact, light, reliable heat exchanger thanks to Turbotech's patented architecture and ensuring that production costs would be compatible with series production and market requirements.These tubes are supplied by our partner and shareholder Le Guellec Tubes & Profilés.” The turbine engines are aimed initially at the light aviation sector, and subsequently the general aviation market in the broadest sense.The operating principle is quite simple. In a conventional turbine engine, whether on a fixed or rotary wing aircraft, air from the compressor is fed directly into the combustion chamber along with fuel to raise the temperature. The hot air loses its energy in the turbine, and the power is transmitted to a shaft.

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Heat exchanger Compressor Annular combustion chamber





optimally distributed according to the flight phases, either for propulsion or for recharging the batteries. The turbogenerator is very light (45 kg) and compact, so it is particularly suitable for small aircraft. If combined with 40 kg of fuel, it provides a performance equivalent to one ton of lithiumion batteries.This lightness, combined with low fuel consumption and the ability to recharge batteries in flight, means it has potential for electrically powered aircraft. The main innovation lies in the heat exchanger. As it is embedded in the turbine, it can recover the energy of the exhaust gases, and thus reduce fuel consumption. The Turbotech turbo-generator is a multifuel device: it can be used with biofuel, diesel, natural gas, or hydrogen. In the latter case, this means there is no emission of pollutants.

“In our engine,” Fauvet comments, “instead of sending the air directly from the compressor to the combustor, we feed it to a heat exchanger, which uses the energy recovered from the turbine exhaust gases to heat the air as it leaves the compressor. The reheated air is then injected into the combustion chamber. This allows us to recover a large proportion of the heat normally lost at the turbine exhaust; we literally recycle the energy of the exhaust gas, hence the name regenerative cycle. Efficiency is therefore greater than on a conventional turbine engine. Fuel burn is equivalent to that of a piston engine. Weight is close to that of an APU. The extra weight of the heat exchanger is less than 25kg for a 100hp turbine, which enables a 40% improvement in fuel consumption for these small machines.” Turbotech's current development plans are based on a workforce of around 80-100 within less than 10 years, by which time the company hopes to have secured a foothold in the 1,000hp sector, probably by selling heat exchangers to the major engine builders.The initial objective for now is to mature the technology. Fauvet observes:“Initially, our engines are specifically intended for light and general aviation applications, with two designs: a turbogenerator for hybrid aircraft and a turbine engine with heat exchanger for conventionally powered aircraft. We will


start with non-certified twoseater aircraft, followed by fouror six-seat light aircraft.We will begin with the most accessible segment: ULMs, amateur and home-built designs and Very Light Aircraft (VLA). We want to validate the technologies, as these will be the first turbine engines ever to be sold with a heat exchanger — a real breakthrough. The turbogenerator will be the first of its kind for hybrid propulsion applications with a heat exchanger and an electric generator.” The turbogenerator is directly derived from the regenerative cycle turbine. It features the same core engine and heat exchanger and the same architecture but, instead of a gearbox driving a propeller, the shaft drives an electric generator of comparable size to a propeller spinner, weighing around 8kg, rotating at around 90,000rpm and producing around 55kW or 70hp. “Electric propulsion offers substantial gains,” notes Fauvet. “Multi-rotor configurations can perform like a helicopter with the operating costs of a family car, without a main rotor. The main problem is energy storage to power the electric motors that drive the rotors. Batteries are far too heavy and expensive for a short service life and limited usage.We are offering to generate the electricity on board, reducing the battery pack to a minimum. With our turbogenerator and a small quantity of fuel, we can

recharge the batteries in flight. The total weight is 45kg for the turbogenerator and 40kg of fuel — 85kg added to almost one tonne of batteries; that will allow multi-rotor vehicles to fly for several hours instead of 10 minutes on batteries alone. The batteries are continuously charged, including in-flight, and they will be fully charged when the vehicle lands.” Turbotech's strategy is to gradually move up to higher power ratings. Fauvet explains:“Ultimately, in 8-10 years, we hope to produce a turboprop or turbogenerator equivalent to a PT6 but equipped with our heat exchangers, in the 700-1,000hp class. Of course these engines will have to be certified, which will be done with the support of a major enginebuilder like Safran. We want to produce engines for aircraft like the TBM, the PC-12 or the Cessna Caravan.” The company's first engines will be a 55kW turbogenerator (around 70hp) for two- or fourseat hybrid electric multi-rotor vehicles or fixed wing aircraft, and a slight larger 73kW (100hp) turboprop for two-seat flying school aircraft or ULMs weighing around 700kg. A 200hp version is also on the drawing board.The first two engines are scheduled to come onto the market in 2020.Testing of preproduction engines on demonstrator platforms is due to get under way in 2019.. . ■ Antony Angrand


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Inside the new factory, located near Toulouse.


atécoère – one of the oldest and proudest names in the French aviation industry – is pushing ahead with its digital transformation project, highlighted by the official inauguration of its new smart factory in Montredon, close to Toulouse, on 22nd May. Production of aluminium parts at the €37m plant – part of the aerostructures and systems specialist’s Transformation 2020 programme -- started in February, just 10 months after the initial ground-breaking ceremony. The 6,000m2 facility, which will eventually employ 150 people, is targeting an annual output of 500,000-600,000 parts by 2020. A 3,000m2 extension





French aerostructures and systems specialist latécoère has oFFicially inaugurated a new high-tech production Facility near toulouse – part oF the company’s digital transFormation project.


Socomore’s Elven facility.

is already planned for 2019 to accommodate surface treatment and painting activities. Transformation 2020 is intended to prepare the company for the next cycle of new aircraft programmes expected over the period 2020-2025.The company says the project — part of the Boost plan launched in 2014 — aims to boost competitiveness and adapt to the needs of its aerospace industry customers within an increasingly demanding and competitive ecosystem.The goal is to position the company within higher value-added segments of the market. Designed to accelerate the digital transformation process within the company, the new paperless factory will combine

automated workflow (robotic systems, automated intelligent vehicles) and innovative processes based on the Internet of things (IoT) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. Through the application of lean production principles, the company aims to reduce production cycles from several weeks to a few days. “This ultra-modern factory features a certain number of industrial systems that are interconnected with centralised, automated management in real time raising production performance to levels far above today’s,” explains Jean-Michel Trémoulet, head of industrial strategy at Latécoère. The building is a showcase

for the group’s know-how. It is digitalised, connected, environment-friendly and with a focus on the human role in the production process. “Sure, there is a lot of robotics, but a lot of personnel, too, though they have new competences,” says Trémoulet. “We have implemented a management plan to support our operators as their role focuses more on supervision and control, rather than activities with little added value.” The new factory is designed as a hub for the distribution of machined and formed parts to around 20 different Latécoère assembly sites around the world. Another goal is to bring back in-house the production of a


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The workforce will ultimately rise to 150 at full capacity.

certain number of parts that today are purchased from lowcost regions.“The aim is to produce these parts at lower cost and with greater reactivity and flexibility than today,”Trémoulet observes.The site currently employs around 100 people. By 2020, when production has reached full capacity, the workforce should reach around 150.

new site have received training in new digital activities, such as secure data management and information systems. Recruitment over the next two or three years will focus on candidates with competences in robotics, data management and data security. In the words of site manager Richard Montanel: “This is an


France’s Industry of the Future Alliance (AIF) has approved the project as a showcase for the industry of the future in terms of its production organisation and the use of the latest digital technologies.The three criteria,Trémoulet explains, are innovation, respect for the environment and the role of the human operator. The factory features extensive use of robotics and automated processes, but Trémoulet underlines that the workforce at the site will be greater than the existing workforce at the company’s historical facility. Employees working at the

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exceptional time for the Latécoère group!We are installing connected machines; we already have one Palletech manufacturing cell with four positions and we have proof of concept demonstrators using robots, cobots and RFID technologies.”The key here is to reduce the production cycle. Montanel explains that the current production cycle is around two

to three months; the goal is to cut this to 2-3 weeks. With a workforce of 150, the target has been set at 500,000600,000 parts per year in the 2020 timeframe. Latécoère CEO Yannick Assouad says the company’s top strategic priority is to have a world-class ranking in terms of costs.“We have completed our financial restructuring and restored profitability.Today, we are turning our focus back on investment with two objectives: being competitive on our markets and being profitable while cutting costs in a sector that has become highly competitive.” As part of this effort, Latécoère is bringing on line a 5,000m2 aerostructures facility at Plovdiv, Bulgaria to take some of the workload off the company’s existing facility in Prague. Another priority is to break into new markets and invest in new programmes and new customers. Assouad remarks: “We need to seize the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence and big data if we are to continue to evolve. So we are investing in new composite materials and additive manufacturing.” The company is also investing in fibre optics for its aircraft wiring activities in order to retain its current ranking as a leading aerospace equipment supplier. ■ Sophie Voinis

Latécoère plans new facility in India atécoère is establishing a new facility in india to support expansion of its interconnection systems business. the unit, located in Belagavi in the state of Karnataka in southwest india, is part of the company's international development under the transformation 2020 strategic plan. the announcement follows previously announced interconnection systems contract successes with tier one customers such as dassault aviation, thales and cabin equipment suppliers, including Facc. latécoère says the new business, repre-


senting full-year incremental sales of around €25m, will rely on engineering competences residing in France and production capacity in mexico and india. the new site, which is scheduled to come on line in the third quarter of 2018, will initially focus on the assembly of wiring harnesses for dassault aviation and thales. the first phase of production will take place in an existing 1,300m2 plant, pending the completion of 4,000m2 of new buildings in the aequs special economic Zone, which is primarily dedicated to aerostructures and aerosystems.


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n the first year of its three-year transformation programme, SIA Group reported a net profit of $893m for the 2017/18 financial year ending 31st March, an increase of $533m, or 148.1%, from the same period last year. Group revenue rose $937m year-on-year to $15,806m (+6.3%). The profit boost was mainly attributable to a higher operating profit (+$434m), absence of SIA Cargo’s provision for competition-related matters (+$132m) and impairment of the Tigerair brand and trademarks (+$98m) last year, partially offset by the absence of SIA Engineering’s gain on divestment of its 10.0% stake in Hong Kong Aero Engines Services Ltd (HAESL) and special dividends received from HAESL (-$178m). Revenue improvements were reported in all business segments. Passenger flown revenue was $428m (+3.6%) higher, as traffic growth (+6.3%) outpaced the decline in passenger yield (-3.1%). Cargo revenue was up $266m on higher freight carriage (+5.3%) and yield (+8.9%). Engineering services revenue



The Singapore carrier currently operates 17 A380-800s. grew $52m (+12.0%), largely attributable to line maintenance activities. Higher incidental income was chiefly contributed by adjustments arising from changes in estimated breakage rates and member benefits for the KrisFlyer programme ($178m), and higher compensation for changes in aircraft delivery slots ($65m). TRAFFIC GROWTH.

All the group's airlines saw increases in traffic. For the full year, SIA carried 19.5 million passengers (+2.7%), while Scoot transported 9.4 million passengers (+11.3%) and SilkAir, 4.8 million (+14.2%). The total planned groupwide capacity increase for the

current financial year is 8%. Revenue increased thanks to the implementation of a new revenue management system, new airfare pricing structure and establishment of a centralised pricing unit. Cost improvements were achieved as a result of process efficiencies, and initiatives such as those to save fuel and reduce waste. In addition, the company has created a dedicated Customer Experience Division to further sharpen the focus on the customer journey and delivery of more personalised services. SIA says that the next two years of the transformation programme will focus on enhancements to the customer experience, revenue growth and

improvements in operational efficiency. During the first three months of the year, Singapore Airlines took delivery of an A350-900 and an A380-800. One Boeing 777-200 was withdrawn from the fleet to be leased to NokScoot (the carrier's 50-50 JV with Thai Airways), while an A330-300, another Boeing 777-200 and a Boeing 777200ER were retired. As of 31st March 2018, the Singapore Airlines operational fleet numbered 107 aircraft (48 Boeing 777s, 21 A330-300s, 17 A380-800s and 21 A350-900s) with an average age of seven years and four months. Also during the first quarter, SIA received the very first


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Singapore airlineS reported an operating profit of $1bn for the firSt year of itS tranSformation programme. by the end of the current financial year, the Sia fleet Should have grown to 117 aircraft. Silkair and Scoot are alSo expanding rapidly.

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Scoot is set to receive two more Boeing 787s this year to add to its existing fleet of 16.

SIA launches Digital Innovation Blueprint arlier this year, Singapore airlines announced the launch of its digital innovation blueprint, unveiling bilateral partnerships with the agency for Science, technology and research (a*Star), civil aviation authority of Singapore (caaS), economic development board (edb) and national university of Singapore (nuS). the digital innovation blueprint is part of Sia’s ongoing transformation programme, which includes plans to give a significant boost to its digital capabilities.


Boeing 787-10, featuring a new regional cabin interior, unveiled in March. SIA is the largest customer for the newest addition to the 787 family, with 49 firm orders. In the course of the current financial year ending 31st March 2019, the carrier is scheduled to receive a further seven Boeing 787-10s, along with three A380800s and a total of 11 A350-900s, including seven in Ultra-LongRange (ULR) configuration. With the exception of one A350900, all these aircraft will be in service by 31st March 2019. At the same time, five Boeing

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the airline is seeking to build an open innovation culture across the group through staff involvement in digital projects, and supporting employees through digital training, such as in digital innovation and design and agile methodologies. a digital innovation lab is being set up to enable staff to work with innovative companies including startups, established incubators and accelerators, to stimulate new ideas and facilitate collaboration in a creative environment.

777-200ERs, four A330-300s, one Boeing 777-200 and one A380-800 will be withdrawn from service.Thus, the operating fleet, including the initial Boeing 787-10s, should number 117 aircraft, as of 31st March 2019. SilkAir, meanwhile, retired one A320 during the first quarter, leaving a fleet of 32 in-service aircraft (nine A320s, three A319s, 17 Boeing 737-800s and three Boeing 737 MAX 8s) with an average age of four years and seven months. By 31st March 2019, three additional Boeing 737 MAX 8s are due to join the fleet, while one A320 and one


A319 will be sold and leased, respectively.Thus at the end of the current financial year, SilkAir will have a fleet of 33 aircraft. As of 31st March 2018, SIA's low-cost long-haul unit, Scoot, had an operational fleet of 40 aircraft: 16 Boeing 787s (ten 7878s and six 787-9s), 22 A320s and two A319s, with an average age of four years, eight months. In the course of the current financial year, Scoot — which merged with TigerAir in 2017 — expects to take delivery of two Boeing 787-9s and two A320neos, along with eight A320s that are being sub-leased to IndiGo and will

be returned by mid-2019. Four other A320s will leave the fleet to be returned to leasing companies, bringing the total operational fleet to 48 aircraft by 31st March 2019. Singapore Airlines announced in May that SilkAir would to undergo a significant investment programme to upgrade its cabin products as part of a multi-year initiative that will ultimately see it merged into SIA. The programme will comprise investment of more than $100m to upgrade cabins with new lieflat seats in Business Class, and the installation of seat-back inflight entertainment systems in both Business Class and Economy Class in order to ensure closer product and service consistency across the SIA Group’s full-service network. Aircraft cabin upgrades are expected to start in 2020 due to lead times required by seat suppliers, including to complete certification processes. SIA underlines that the merger will take place only after a sufficient number of aircraft have been fitted with the new cabin products. The move follows the re-integration of SIA Cargo into the parent airline company on 1st April.

■ Jean-Baptiste Heguy


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sleeping beauty.That was how Frantz Yvelin, the incoming CEO of Aigle Azur, described the airline when he unveiled the company’s strategic development plan at the end of March, seven months after taking up his new position. Considering the scope of the plan, the French carrier – founded 72 years ago – can now be considered to be well and truly awake. The highest-profile part of the plan is the inauguration of long-haul services, following the arrival of two leased A330-200s previously operated by airBerlin.The two aircraft feature a brand-new “silver” livery – a nod perhaps to the new CEO’s fascination for James Bond films and in particular 007’s legendary Aston Martin DB5. The aircraft are powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines. The new widebodies will join the company's existing fleet of nine A320s and one A319. The long-haul flights started on 5th July, with a thrice-weekly service between Paris Orly and Sao Paulo-Campinas.This will increase to four frequencies per week in September. Flights to Beijing are scheduled to

The carrier has received two A330-200s previously operated by airBerlin. 38


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The new aircraft feature a new “silver“ livery. start in August, again starting at three flights per week. The cabins of the two A330200s feature a two-class layout with 268 seats in economy (including 44 eco + seats offering more legroom) and 19 lie-flat business class seats, along with latest-generation in-flight entertainment systems in both cabins, mood lighting and WiFi connectivity from July onwards. The airline has selected the Zodiac Aerospace Rave IFE system, featuring 14” (35.6cm) touch screens in business class and 9” screens in economy. Passengers can enjoy WiFi access thanks to Panasonic’s eXConnect inflight connectivity solution. Starting at the end of April, the newly painted aircraft were initially deployed on routes to Bamako, Porto,Algiers and Oran to introduce the new livery and promote the new service.Yvelin insisted that the new aircraft were named after Sylvain Floirat, who founded Aigle Azur in 1946, and Arezki Idjerouidène, the businessman who acquired the company in 2001 and played a major role in its subsequent development. Yvelin explains that the longhaul expansion plan was 95% self-financed through productivity gains achieved thanks to new agreements negotiated with the

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pilots and cabin crew. He adds that operating conditions on the A330s have been carefully planned – six cabin crew, compared with 10 on Air France flights.To handle the increased activity associated with the long-haul network, Aigle Azur has partly favoured internal solutions (conversion of short-term contracts to long-term contracts, A320 pilots requalified onto the A330), as well as hiring new pilots from outside the company. MEDIUM-HAUL SERVICES REINFORCED.

In addition to inaugurating longhaul services, Aigle Azur is also reinforcing its medium-haul network. Its Beirut service, launched in summer 2017, has been reinforced with a seasonal twiceweekly service (Tuesday and Thursday from 12th June to 8th September) from Marseille.The Orly-Berlin route, launched in the 2017 winter season, will feature daily service, allowing passengers to catch a return flight on the same day. On 14th September, the carrier is launching daily flights between Orly and Milan-Malpensa.Alongside these new services, the company will continue to operate its Algerian route network – six destinations served from five French cities.


Aigle Azur has built up an international network of partnerships to support its existing network and future development plans. The new long-haul routes to Beijing and Sao Paulo are accompanied by extended codeshare agreements with China's Hainan Airlines and Brazilian carrier Azul for onward travel connections. Hainan is a subsidiary of HNA Group, which holds a 48% stake in Aigle Azur, while David Neeleman has a 5% stake in Azul Brazilian Airlines along with a 32% stake in Aigle Azur. Hainan also owns a 17% stake in Azul. In March,Aigle Azur announced a code-share partnership with Air Caraïbes, with a view to developing closer ties between the European and Mediterranean networks of Aigle Azur and the Caribbean network of Air Caraïbes.Aigle Azur also underlines the complementary nature of the existing networks, e.g. with a possible connection at Orly between its flight from Moscow Domodedovo and the ongoing Air Caraïbes flight to Cayenne, close to the Ariane launch site at Kourou — a travel solution that could attract a lot of interest from the space sector. Aigle Azur has also reinforced its commercial partnership with

Corsair; a new agreement was signed in Janary. Under this agreement,Aigle Azur is boosting services to Bamako, Mali, inaugurated 10 years ago, to three Aigle Azur flights per week (Monday,Wednesday and Saturday), plus two code-share flights with Corsair (on Tuesday and Sunday). Aigle Azur passengers have also had access to the Corsair lounge at Orly since May. The agreement also gives Corsair space inside the Aigle Azur agency in Paris.The two airlines are also sharing ground staff in Mali. Further cooperation arrngement are expected. TAP PARTNERSHIP.

Finally, in March 2018,Aigle Azur launched a wide-ranging partnership with TAP Air Portugal — another airline in which David Neeleman is a shareholder.The Aigle Azur code will appear on TAP flights between Orly and Lisbon (eight flights per day) and between Orly and Porto (three flights per day), while the TAP code will appear on Aigle Azur flights from Orly to Porto (five times a week), Faro (twice a week) and Funchal (one flight per week), plus additional flights operated on a seasonal basis. The partnership with TAP also includes maintenance operations (A320 engine maintenance by TAP), pilot training (using TAP simulators) and various operational synergies in France and Portugal.The agreement also covers extended commercial cooperation and pooling of the ICS call centre infrastructure in Lisbon, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aigle Azur. Yvelin says the impact of the new development strategy can already be seen in the airline's financial results. Though results are not published,Yvelin says sales are expected to rise from €260m in 2017 to €320m in 2018.After posting a loss in 2017, he says the company should be out of the red this year he expects to show a profit in players will win.” ■ Jean-Baptiste Heguy


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SPACE Instrument Deployment Camera,

Pressure sensor (Centro de Astrobiologia, Spain)

medium resolution NASA JPL

Instrument Deployment Arm (NASA JPL)


Solar panel (Orbital ATK)

Grapple for instrument deployment

Instrument Context Camera wide angle (NASA JPL)


ELYSIUM PLANITIA 3.0째 N - 154,7째 E


Flat tether cables to transmit electrical power, commands and data between lander and instruments (NASA JPL)

LANDER Prime contractor:

Lockheed Martin Weight


HP3 temperature probe including mechanism for hammering the probe beneath the surface. (DLR Planetary Research Institute)


450W Service life:

2 years



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Temperature and Winds for Insight (TWINS) sensors (Centro de Astrobiologia, Spain)

X-band antennas for RISE (NASA JPL)

Solar panel (Orbital ATK)

UHF antenna to communicate with orbiter

SEIS seismometer (CNES)

Wind and Thermal Shield (NASA JPL)





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nitiated in August 2012, Insight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is the first mission designed to study Mars' internal processes and seismology.A French seismometer, the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), will pay a key role in achieving the mission's science goals. The mission was initially planned to lift off for the Red Planet in March 2016, but an ultimate series of vacuum tests in December 2015 revealed a tiny leak in the seismometer's protective sphere resulting in the postponement of the mission to the following Martian launch window. Insight was the only mission to use this window. It was also the first interplanetary probe to blast off from the West Coast of the U.S., lifting off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on 5th May on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5. On 22nd May the spacecraft fired its thrusters for the first time to perform the first — and largest — of up to six trajectory correction manoeuvres during the approximately six-month cruise phase. For travel between Earth and Mars, the lander and its landing system are encapsulated in a Cruise Stage. This includes an aeroshell, which consists of a backshell and a heat shield that protects the lander from harsh forces encountered during launch and landing.



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SPACE On 26th November, the lander is scheduled to touch down on Elysium Panitia. Following atmospheric entry, the spacecraft will be slowed by a large parachute, jettisoning its heat shield and deploying three shock-absorbing legs. Once the lander separates from its backshell and parachute, 12 descent engines on the lander begin firing and the onboard guidance software slows down the spacecraft until touchdown. The location of Elysium Planitia close to the Martian equator meets an engineering requirement for the stationary InSight lander to receive adequate solar irradiation year-round on its photovoltaic array.The location also meets an engineering constraint for low elevation, optimising the amount of atmosphere the spacecraft can use for deceleration during its descent to the surface. After touchdown, the domeshaped SEIS instrument will be deployed by the lander's robotic arm onto the Martian surface where it will measure seismic vibrations due to marsquakes and meteorite impacts. A suite of wind, pressure, temperature, and magnetic field sensors help fine-tune the seismometer's measurements. This helps it sense surface vibrations generated by weather systems such as dust storms, or by turbulence in the atmosphere due to phenomena such as dust devils, which can also generate seismic waves. SEIS measurements will give scientists information about the nature of the material that first formed the rocky planets of the Solar System.

came the ill-fated Mars-96. Insight has become an ambitious international project, involving a partnership between several European laboratories and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The IPGP is the scientific lead on the seismometer and was responsible for designing the very broadband (VBB) sensors that constitute the key elements. SEIS was developed in just five years with the CNES space agency as prime contractor. CNES funded the French contributions, coordinated the international consortium, carried out integration and testing, and supplied the finished instrument to NASA. Among the key components and their suppliers:VBB sensors (built by Sodern, France); highfrequency sensors (Imperial College London and Oxford University, UK); levelling system (Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany); eBOX electronics unit (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). NASA's JPL supplied the ar-

moured cable connecting the seismometer placed on the Martian surface to the electronics installed on the lander, the vacuum sphere containing the VBB sensors, and the thermal protections shielding the the seismometer from the wind and temperature cycles. France's ISAE engineering and research institute, finally, performed digital modelling of the various sources of instrument noise, as well as contributing to the seismometer flight software. ANALYSING THE DATA.

Laboratories from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and several other French universities will be involved in analysing the seismic activity data, including Géoazur and the Laboratory of Planetology and Geodynamics. Seismological and meteorological data from the mission will also be distributed to French primary and secondary schools. Gilles Davidowicz, chairman of the Planetology Commission


SEIS is the culmination of more than 30 years of efforts by principal investigator Philippe Lognonné, a geophysicist at the Institute of Earth Physics of Paris (IPGP, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris). In 1987 Lognonné first proposed to place a seismometer on a Russian probe scheduled to launch in 1992 and which eventually be-


The probe is encapsulated inside the Atlas 5 payload fairing.

in the French Astronomical Society, has no doubts about the value of the Insight mission:“A space mission to study the core of Mars, perhaps even listen to the planet's pulse, is of major importance, since the question is still unresolved ever since the first automatic exploration missions.The structure and internal composition of the Red Planet are still an open question. We do not even know whether or not it has a hot, active internal core, or whether it has completely cooled. In other words, whether there is a flow of heat from the interior (a key question for exobiologists) and whether or not it generates marsquakes … So the goal is to better understand the formation and evolution of Mars by acquiring precise data about its structure.We will also obtain measurements on possible variations in the planet's rotation and any gravitational tides generated by its satellites.” The two other primary instruments on the Insight mission are HP3 (led by the German aerospace centre DLR) and RISE (led by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory). HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe) will burrow down almost five meters into Mars' surface, further than any previous arms, scoops, drills or probes. It will measure the heat coming from Mars' interior to reveal how much heat is flowing out of the body of the planet, and what the source of the heat is. This will help scientists determine whether Mars formed from the same material as Earth and the Moon. RISE (Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment) will precisely track the location of the lander to determine just how much Mars' North Pole wobbles as it orbits the sun. These observations will provide detailed information on the size of Mars' iron-rich core. They will help determine whether the core is liquid, and which other elements, besides iron, may be present.


■ Pierre-François Mouriaux

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