Farnborough 2010

By Riccardo Niccoli


The 47th edition of the Farnborough International Airshow, UK, one of the most important showrooms for the international aerospace industry, was held on July 19-25, boasting the presence of 1,445 traders from 40 countries, and more than 120,000 operators, which generated more than 47 billion dollars of contracts in the week alone. Il the two days of the open day, 152 aircraft in static and air display were admired by some 108,000 people.

The show once again demonstrated to be more than a salon, giving an idea about the whole situation of the world aerospace sector. In this light, Farnborough showed highs and lows, as the civil sector seemed to be clearly recovery and running towards a positive trend, while the military appeared to be affected by the heavy budget cuts envisaged by many western governments.

Between the main news, we have to remember the Airbus A400M, the Boeing 787, the Gripen NG, the Taranis UCAV, and the sino-pakistani fighter JF-17, while a real “first” was offered by AgustaWestland, which unveiled its latest helicopter, the AW169, a twin-engine multirole in the 4.5 ton class, which will be able to operate for civil as well as government use. Missing the show were the F-35 JSF (but the prototypes are very busy in the test activity), and the Russian fighters.

Italy, with Finmeccanica group, staged a high profile presence, but this does not come as a surprise, because the UK is today a home market for the Italian holding, and considering also the global profile which is more and more evident: about 50% of the incomes come from the rest of the world (thus not including Italy, the USA and the UK), and important programs and partnerships are working in South America, North Africa, Middle and Far East. Between the most important projects we remember, for Alenia Aeronautica, the Superjet 100 (with Sukhoi), the C-27J and the ATR (with a 50% share), which proceed very positively. Less bright is the future for the Eurofighter EF.2000, as just during the Show it was announced by the Ministry of Defence La Russa the official cut of the Tranche 3B. The decision was in the air, but if it will be offset by new sales (there are a dozen of potential customers, with India, Japan and Switzerland which could bring news in the short-medium term), it could be not really negative for the industry. A key element for the future success of the Typhoon, the development of an AESA radar, has been launched by the consortium and by the RAF, and it will be hopefully followed also by the other partners. Alenia Aermacchi boasts a winning project called M-346. Selected, after Italy and the UAE, also by Singapore, the Italian trainer should gain successes also in other important markets, including several European countries (France and Poland between the others), Israel, and even the USA, thanks to a partnership with a big local industry, which should be Boeing.

AgustaWestland continues to record sales successes for its products, and an even better future appears to come in Russia, India, Algeria, and in the Far East. In the military field, the programs with Turkey on the T129 ATAK and the AW149 go on, as well as the CH-47F program for the Italian Army. In the USA, concluded the farce staged by the Administration for the US101 (VH-71) program, the “Marine One” contest has been re-opened, and a strong candidate is again the same helicopter, this time named Boeing 101, but it seems that the “hot” decision will be passed to the next President. The CSAR helicopter for the USAF is another need, and again a strong candidate is the US101/H-71, but it is probable that the timings will be long.

Excellent results come also from the other industries of Finmeccanica: SELEX Sistemi Integrati, SELEX Galileo, SELEX Communications, SELEX Service Management, Elsag-Datamat, DRS Technologies, Seicos, Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space, which, thanks to new synergies, are conquering good shares of the market also in the new homeland security sector, and in general with products which concern surveillance and protection in air, land and sea environments. As a matter of fact, it has been predicted that by 2015 the incomes from the Security sector will overcome those coming from the Defence sector. Between the most important programs we remember Forza NEC, for the digitalization of the Italian Army, Archimede for the port and harbor surveillance, and VTMS for the control of the maritime traffics. Last but not least the UAVs, which at Farnborough were under the lights. Besides the Falco, which is an operational and mature asset, and the Sky-Y test bed, Finmeccanica is a partner in the international Neuron and Mantis programs, the latter which could be the replacement to the current Predators of the Italian Air Force.

Other major Italian industries participating at the show with their interesting products were: Aerea, ASE, Avio, Elettronica, Gemelli, Northrop Grumman Italia, Secondo Mona.



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