Odds and Ends: CSeries concludes second flight; Boeing’s impact on WA State

CSeries second flight: It was two weeks and one day to the second flight of the Bombardier CSeries, quite a bit longer than the Boeing 787-9 and the Airbus A350. The lengthier time was subject to a fair amount of scrutiny by some observers.

We’re told that Flight Test Vehicle 1 was under-going software upgrades. The fly-by-wire aircraft had taken aloft in direct law flight mode. Some of the delay to first flight had to do with software upgrades.

Bombardier collected some noise data on the second flight.

Boeing’s impact on WA State: A new study outlines the impact of the current Boeing 777 family to Washington State, and it’s pretty big. The study was commissioned by the State to understand what needs to be done to win the assembly site for the 777X. A bi-partisan Legislative panel has been appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee as part of this effort.

Other stuff:

  • Long-time readers will remember that we’ve had the opportunity to take a couple of trips on the Trident submarines Alabama and Maryland. Our interest in submarines remains keen. So when we came across an article about the plans for the successor to the Ohio class SSBN, we decided to include it today. The features talk about fly-by-wire control, video monitoring instead of the periscope and a host of other whiz-bang modern technology.
  • Airbus Military handed over the first A400M to France. If we thought the development period of commercial airliners is tough these days, the A400M may set new standards for a military program: 30 years, according to Reuters. With the plans to end Boeing’s C-17 production in 2015, we hear Boeing is developing a smaller cargo/troop transport that will compete with the A400M and be a replacement for the smaller Lockheed Martin C-130.

13 Comments on “Odds and Ends: CSeries concludes second flight; Boeing’s impact on WA State

  1. The price increase in modern US subs (greater as a percentage than any other platform) is in large part due to stealth as, to a lesser degree is the case with modern military aircraft. Plus of course the belief that only nuclear subs can ever be considered for the US Navy – although of course the cynics point out that therefore only US contractors and yards can even touch these excessively expensive products. The ‘fly by wire’ stuff is old hat in many navies – I believe it was pioneered in practise by the Germans.

    • Holy smokes, a whopping 5 bln a piece, excluding the 1st sub… Imagine how much the first nuclear missile fired would cost of you allocate all the (relevant) submarine expenses since the sixties..
      Here in holland we nag about 5bln Euro for the JSF.. Darn it

  2. For credible second strike capability, nuclear power is the only option. Having SSBN’s come up for air to charge the batteries puts them at too much risk.

  3. The fact that the second flight of the CSeries revolved around noise data collection is a clear indication of how important this factor is for both Bombardier and Pratt & Whitney.

    The first flight was delayed by software issues and so was the second flight. This is quite surprising in view of all the efforts deployed early on by BBD to prevent this sort of things from happening. So far it has not been as dramatic as it was for the CRJ1000 when it was grounded for a period of nine months after first flight. But still, it shows that BBD does not yet completely master the intricacies of complex systems integration.

    The fact that the first flight was conducted in direct law may reflect a lack of confidence from the pilots in the FBW system. I hope the second flight was conducted with the envelope protection fully engaged (soft stop + hard stop). I also hope that the anticipated extension of the flight testing period from 12 to 18 months is not required because the FBW system has to debugged.

  4. “..we hear Boeing is developing a smaller cargo/troop transport that will compete with the A400M and be a replacement for the smaller Lockheed Martin C-130.”

    And who exactly will be paying for that R&D bill? 😉

    • If it’s not related to a join up with the KC-390 there is no budget in DoD, nor in USAF plans to cover that… not until 15 from today, engineers who worked on C-17 development might be long gone :-S

  5. There were a few things wrong with the SSBN-X (Ohio class SSBN replacement) article. The SSBN fleet is not a “first strike” weapons platform, although it could be used in that capacity.
    The Trident II (D5) UMG-133 missile is not more accurate than the land based Minuteman III missile, if it were, there would be no need for any ICBM force. The Trident CEP, although very small, is some 50% bigger than the Minuteman CEP. That is why the Trident carries higher yield MIRV (up to 10 per missile) warheads compared to the lower yield MIRV (up to 3 per missile) warheads.
    But we really still need a creditable SSBN fleet, and we need a fleet large enough to continue as a nuclear war deterrent. 12 new boats with just 192 missile tubes will not replace the 14 Ohios with their 336 tubes. We need a minimum of 300 SSBN missile tubes to be able to continue to be a creditable threat to those countries with or developing nuclear weapons to pause and think about their possible actions. That means 19 new SSBN-X boats with 16 tubes each.
    These boats should be designed to be rearmed into the SSGN mission with the same missile tubes installed. In other words, on one mission carry submarine launched nuclear missiles, and on the next mission fit a new container inside the missile tube (silo) containing several cruise missiles for each tube. This will preclude having to build a separate class of SSGNs to replace the current Ohio SSGNs.
    Installing more modern technology in the SSBN-X class boats is a given. But, remember the Virginia class SSNs were designed in the late 1990s, so the new SSBN class will need to go “beyond current technology” to remain effective into the 2020s, 2030s, and 2040s.
    BTW, with the new boats, which should be built in Flights (Blocks) like most modern warships are (as technology advances), and they will need a replacement missile for the Trident II (D5) missiles currently used.

    • Whether C-17 guys will be still around or not in two years is immaterial. Who will not be around will be Airbus Military, they expect a 15 years drought spell, the article says.Typhoon/A400M export sales may be residual from now on. Let´s see what comes from UAV programs in Europe, but the whopper programs are dead. In fact that new Airbus Defense division will rationalize what they have as engineering teams, that means almost nobody around in two years.

  6. “development period […] the A400M may set new standards for a military program: 30 years, according to Reuters”, that is either a typo from Reuters or a misunderstanding. A400M development started with the program launch in 2003, when the contract with OCCAR was signed, thus development through first delivery has taken 10 years (which in fact is longer than initially contracted but not long by military programs’ standards). On the other hand, if what Reuters wanted to refer to was to the early studies by the Nations on the need for a future air transport aircraft that dated back to the 1980s, that is not development period on the part of the industry.

    • If I recall, the A400M’s origin can be traced back to the days when Germany was interested in co-producing the An-70 (although they sorta looks mildly similar, the An-70 is more capable spec-wise), or possibly earlier.

      French President Jacques Chirac surely played a good part in creating their own FLA (Future Large Aircraft) that yielded the A400M. He’s probably the one who convinced the OCCAR nations to band together, and also he’s responsible for the A400M using a pan Euro made turbo-prop engine over an offer from experienced P&WC at lower cost.

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