Chocks away for Farnborough 2016

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ADS Industry Facts & Figures 2016 (low-res)-1Jason Ford - News Editor, The Engineer

Jason Ford
News editor

Today marks the start of the Farnborough International Air Show (FIA16), the biennial aviation showcase that will see an increase in international exhibitors and China exhibiting in its first dedicated pavilion.

The USA’s 360 exhibitors represent the largest international contingent and its 4,000m2 US International Pavilion is described as “a well-established destination for buyers looking for an efficient way to meet a critical mass of leading suppliers, an on-site business centre for US exhibitors looking to maximize their exposure…and a networking forum for all to share ideas and insights.”

The USA is joined in 2016 by Austria, Brazil, Republic of Ireland and South Korea, all of whom have dedicated country pavilions, bringing the international pavilions to 22.

Like automotive, the aerospace sector represents one the UK’s more successful engineering and manufacturing endeavours. In its Facts and Figures 2016, trade body ADS highlight that the UK’s aerospace sector alone turned over £31bn, made £27bn worth of exports and has grown 39% since 2010. FIA16 is, of course, the arena in which all aero-platforms are given a chance to shine by their creators, including space bound technology that is worth £4bn in exports and has grown by 27% since 2010. Looking forward, the UK’s space sector has the potential to be worth of £400bn by 2030 and FIA16’s dedicated Space Zone is expected to grow by 25% to satisfy demand.

Last week’s Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire saw the UK debut of the F-35, and the aircraft – the centrepiece of the world’s biggest-ever single defence project – will be present at FIA16. With FIA16 being as much to do with business as it is technology, BAE Systems were quick off the mark today to announce the 250th aft-fuselage for the F-35 Lightning II programme had been completed at the company’s integrated assembly line in Samlesbury, Lancs. The aft-fuselage will now be equipped and tested prior to being sent to Lockheed Martin’s final assembly facility in Fort Worth, Texas, where it will be integrated with the rest of the aircraft.

Three F-35B’s at RAF Fairford following the aircraft’s first transatlantic flight
Three F-35B’s at RAF Fairford following the aircraft’s first transatlantic flight

In the civil aerospace market, Virgin Atlantic Airways says it has selected the A350-1000, the largest member of the A350 Family, to become the latest aircraft in its fleet.  The airline is purchasing eight A350-1000s for deliveries commencing in 2019, and four new aircraft on long term leases from ALC from 2020, including a lease option for a fifth aircraft.

Always at the forefront of breaking news, Boeing – which celebrates its 100th anniversary on Friday July 15 – has struck a deal with the Ministry of Defence for nine P-8A maritime patrol planes, plus an order for 50 Apache attack helicopters in a transaction valued at £2.3bn. According to the MoD, companies in Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Bedfordshire, Cheshire and Gwent will be awarded subcontracts by Boeing that collectively represent around five per cent of the global Apache supply chain.

Visitors to FIA16 can get a glimpse of the P-8A during Boeing’s daily flight demonstrations, which include the 737 MAX, 787-9 Dreamliner, and F/A-18.

Today also marks the departure of Solar Impulse 2 (SI2) from Seville International Airport in Spain en route to Cairo International Airport. Piloted by Andre Borschberg it is Solar Impulse’s penultimate flight before reaching the finish line and starting point, Abu Dhabi. The flight from Seville – where the plane landed on 23 Jul after flying from New York – is expected to last 50 hours and 30 minutes. The project intends to achieve the first circumnavigation of the Earth by a piloted fixed-wing aircraft using only solar power and to bring attention to clean technologies.