October's top stories: Rockwell Collins to buy B/E Aerospace, Thales opens UK-based electric propulsion facility

Rockwell Collins signed a definitive agreement to acquire aircraft cabin interior manufacturer B/E Aerospace for $8.3bn and Thales Alenia Space opened a new facility that will manufacture electric propulsion systems for satellites in Belfast, UK. Aerospace-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from October 2016.


Rockwell Collins to buy B/E Aerospace for $8.3bn

US-based aerospace solution provider Rockwell Collins signed a definitive agreement to acquire aircraft cabin interior manufacturer B/E Aerospace for $8.3bn.

With the acquisition, Rockwell Collins aims to boost its position in the cockpit and cabin solutions market.

The total consideration of the deal includes approximately $6.4n cash and stock, as well as an assumption of $1.9bn net debt.
 

Thales opens first electric propulsion manufacturing facility in UK

France-based Thales Alenia Space opened a new facility that will manufacture electric propulsion systems for satellites in Belfast, UK.

The new Space Propulsion Integration Centre will produce approximately four satellite electric propulsion systems a year, including those for the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Neosat satellite programme.

Thales Alenia Space already signed three contracts based on its Spacebus NEO satellite platform, including three XPS modules, which will be built in the new facility.
 

Orbital ATK to build Eutelsat 5 West B satellite

Global aerospace group Orbital ATK won a deal from Eutelsat Communications to build a broadcast satellite, Eutelsat 5 West B.

To be built in collaboration with Airbus Defence and Space, the satellite will be developed using Orbital ATK’s GEOStar satellite platform.

Airbus Defence and Space will provide the communications payload of 35 active Ku-band channels for Eutelsat 5 West B.
 

Boeing wins $11.7bn order from Qatar Airways for 40 aircraft

Boeing secured an order to sell 40 twin-aisle aircraft, including 30 787-9 Dreamliners and ten 777-300ERs, to Qatar Airways for $11.7bn at list prices.

Both groups also signed a letter of intent for up to 60 737 MAX 8 jets, worth at $6.9bn at list prices.

The latest order raised Qatar Airways’ firm order backlog of Boeing wide-body aircraft from 65 to 105, including 60 777X planes.
 

Drone Aviation secures US patent for electric tethered aerial platform for tethered drone

US-based drone manufacturer Drone Aviation Holding won a patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office for its electric tethered aerial platform (ETAP) technologies, which are currently being used in its WATT and BOLT tethered drones.

Entitled ‘Apparatus and methods for tethered aerial platform and system’, the new patent will enable Drone Aviation to expand its intellectual property (IP) portfolio.

The company's IP currently portfolio features an exclusive commercial license for a number of unmanned vehicle technologies developed by Georgia Tech Research, US.
 

BOC Aviation to buy five new planes from Air China

Global aircraft operating leasing company BOC Aviation signed a purchase-and-leaseback deal with Air China for five new aircraft.

The deal includes a combination of three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and two Airbus A330-300 aircraft, all of which are expected to be delivered by the last quarter of this year.

BOC Aviation managing director and CEO Robert Martin said: “We are pleased to support Air China in its fleet growth and expansion plans in this transaction, which adds popular, in-demand aircraft on long-term leases to our portfolio."
 

GKN Aerospace receives patent on new ice accretion test device

UK multinational GKN Aerospace obtained its patent rights for developing a new ice adhesion test device.

The device incorporates an apparatus that stimulate icing conditions and then determine in-situ ice adhesion, offering quick and economical assessment of promising ice phobic coatings and other protective technologies.

GKN Aerospace senior vice-president of engineering and technology Russ Dunn said: “Effective ice protection, including icephobic coatings, is a key focus for aerospace, as preventing ice accretion is a critical safety requirement. Efficient ice protection systems lower power consumption, improving aircraft efficiency and lowering emissions.
 

New Zealand unveils plan to address aviation emissions

The Government of New Zealand submitted new plans to reduce air travel emissions to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Entitled ‘New Zealand Aviation Emissions Reduction Action Plan’, the new plan covers current and planned measures for government, air traffic controllers, airports and airlines to address aviation emissions.

New Zealand Transport and Associate Climate Change Issues Minister Simon Bridges said: “Transport accounts for around 17% of New Zealand’s emissions and the government is doing a number of things to reduce this, including tackling aviation emissions.
 

Carlisle buys aircraft engineering and certification consulting firm Star Aviation

US-based diversified company Carlisle Companies Incorporated acquired design and engineering provider Star Aviation for an undisclosed sum.

Star Aviation registers annual sales of approximately $30 million and currently operates manufacturing facilities in Mobile, Alabama, US, and a technical services facility in Lynnwood, Washington.

With a workforce of 150 employees, the company provides Wi-Fi and other in-flight connectivity systems for various aircraft platforms used in commercial, business and military services.
 

ESA’s Rosetta probe ends its 12 year mission

The European Space Agency (ESA) concluded its Rosetta mission as planned, with a controlled impact on the comet it had been probing for more than two years.

Rosetta fell from an altitude of approximately 19km onto the surface of Comet 67P.

Confirmation of the conclusion of the mission arrived at ESA’s control centre in Darmstadt, Germany at 11:19 GMT, following the loss of Rosetta’s signal upon impact due to the descent.