Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper says the service is moving toward an arsenal plane concept for its bombers. "A B-52 with a lot of hypersonic weapons on it is, I will call it a bomber, but it's certainly not dropping things down—quite the opposite, right? It's almost a missileer instead of a bomber," he said.
Boeing is using a human plus machine approach to build fuselages for its 777 and 777X aircraft, modifying an effort to completely automate the process. "It's taught us how to design for automation," said one executive of the fully automated initiative.
KLM Cityhopper has ordered 21 Embraer E195-E2 aircraft in a deal worth $2.48 billion. "Delivering 30% lower emissions when compared to KLM's current E190s, yet still providing a further 32 seats, the E195-E2 will simultaneously increase capacity for KLM at slot constrained Schiphol Airport while also delivering huge reductions in emissions," said Embraer CEO John Slattery.
Rocket Lab has unveiled "Rosie," a new robotic manufacturing system that will accelerate production of the Electron rocket. "We can process a complete Electron now in 12 hours," said CEO Peter Beck.
The all-electric X-57 Maxwell demonstrator aircraft will begin ground testing by NASA in 2019. The program aims to show the capabilities of a distributed electric propulsion system.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., is upbeat about National Defense Authorization Act negotiations but says Space Force provisions are "by no means guaranteed."
BAE Systems is developing new systems to detect and neutralize "complex and unknown threats in electronic combat." The systems are being designed to protect Army drones and helicopters, with a demonstration planned for 2020.
Kelli Seybolt is the new head of the Air Force's international affairs office. "Our team is committed to reenergizing our US Air Force brand as the security cooperation partner of choice by driving results for partners," she said.
The Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky HH-60W helicopter is preparing for Army trial flights. "Our entire test strategy has been adapted to include Sikorsky as a fully integrated partner -- we have all put a lot of energy into trying to create a seamless execution model for testing here and now it's time to make it happen," said Lt. Col. Wayne Dirkes.
Airbus says electronic attack capabilities will be added to Germany's requirements list for the replacement of its Tornado fleet. Currently the German government is considering the Airbus Eurofighter and Boeing F-18 Growler.