Odds and Ends: New upgrades for the B-52; MRJ delay confirmed; EIS estimates for new airplane programs

Upgrades for the B-52: The USAF and Boeing are upgrading the Boeing B-52 bomber to further extend the service life. The LA Times via the Seattle Times has this story. This is remarkable; the B-52 was designed in 1948 to be the USA’s aerial backbone against the Soviet Union in the Cold War. It bombed Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War and continues to out-perform the B-1B bomber, which was supposed to replace the old gal, nicknamed by some as BUFF.

More on MRJ Delay: Mitsubishi made it official: the MRJ 90 passenger regional jet will be delayed another year. There are several stories via Google News; this Reuters piece is typical. Aviation Week has a good timeline recap.

Here’s how pending new airplane programs now appear to line up for Entry into Service:

Original Current
CS100        Dec-13        e4Q2014*
MRJ       4Q2013           2Q2017
ARJ21           2006  Good Question
C919           2016           2018–>
A320neo Oct-15 Oct-15
737-8 Jul-17 Jul-17
777X e12-2019**
EJet E2           2018               2018
* One analyst suggests early 2015
** Market Intelligence estimate.

We don’t have enough visibility on the Irkut MS-21 for inclusion in the Table.

Here’s a real oddity: A man in underwear broke into the German Chancellor’s airplane.

American-US Airways: Airchive has this long analysis (and it’s only Part 1 of 2), taking a look at the DOJ complaint. It’s 15 pages even after copy-and-paste into Word and re-sized to 10 point type.

To the next President and next Congress: Maybe Sequestration should happen after all for the long-term good

As voters go to the polls today, we’ve turned our thoughts to Sequestration and the impact on Defense budgets.

Defense sequestration is widely view as a disaster for national defense and for employment. Sequestration requires a cut of $500bn over 10 years, or $50bn a year. Spending for FY2013 is $902.3bn, according to government figures, excluding the Afghan war. A $50bn cut would be 5.5%.

We certainly acknowledge the adverse impact of cutting $50bn from next year’s budget, but we can’t help but wonder if there isn’t 5% that is “fat.” Parochially, Boeing’s KC-46A tanker is on the hit list for cuts. Given the difficulty it took in getting to this contract and the pressing need to replace the KC-135, we would hope this program would survive.

But we’re thinking on a higher plain.

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Odds and Ends: FAA’s NextGen, B-52 at 50

FAA’s NextGen: This short piece analyzes the benefits of the FAA’s NextGen air traffic management system. A 36-page report is available here.A Washington (DC) think tank called Eno has a lot of stuff about NextGen, including a recent synopsis of a debate about the program and a You Tube link within the synopsis of the debate.

This is a much more balanced view of the benefits and shortfalls in FAA policy than one consultant who revels in criticism but offers no solutions. We recommend the constructive approach.

Alaska Airlines has implemented a piece of NextGen. Here is a New York Times article describing the effort.

B-52 turns 50: And that’s just the youngest one. DOD Buzz has this story about America’s venerable bomber.