US Air Force Cadets are designing wing refinements for the aging fleet of Boeing KC-135R tankers to improve fuel efficiency by 8%, reports CleanTechnica.com.
Why a bunch of cadets? Perhaps because the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs aerospace engineering programs ranks in the Top 5 in US News & World Report’s annual rankings (2009). (None of the universities or colleges in Washington State, where the KC-135 was built and where Boeing Commercial Airplanes is headquarter, ranks even in the Top 15 aerospace engineering schools.)
AirInsight’s Addison Schonland and Ernie Arvai have published a 54-page report about Airbus, A Market Analysis and Outlook. The report looks at each A3-Series program, including the forthcoming A350, and the A400M and KC-30.
It’s a bit of old news this week, but as readers know the UK agreed to kick in GBP340m to fund the A350 development. Predictably, the US Trade Representative and Boeing objected. As long-time readers know, so do we. We don’t like government participation of any kind to corporations (it doesn’t matter what industry it is). Furthermore, at June 30, EADS had $9bn in cash vs. $5bn for Boeing.
Regarding the KC-135 wing refinements…the cadets seem to follow the rule that when you want to look into the future, you have to read ole books, in this case ole papers 😉
Just picking you up on your EADS has $9bn of cash comment – they do have €9bn of net cash at the moment, but they also have €26bn of customer prepayments (ie cash given to them by customers for work which has not been booked as sales yet). Some (most?) of that cash will have already been spent on long lead time items and, unless their military and commercial customers radically change their terms of business, most of it will never unwind (or rather new customer prepayments will come in, replacing the old one).
However, there is a risk that there will be some outflow as Airbus orders slow down and the order book is consumed – probably about $1-2m per aircraft, while reducing production rates is bad for cash – probably about by about $10-20m per aircraft per year.
Therefore, it is difficult as an outsider to say exactly how much cash they really have to spend – they have somewhere between €9bn of net cash (too optimistic) and €17bn of net debt (too pessimistic) – or how much this will change in the near/medium term. Given their market cap of about €10-11bn, these are not insignificant numbers (and as an aside, something the stockmarket really struggles with).
Finally, all of this is also true for Boeing, but I haven’t researched the numbers.