Update, Nov. 6: Boeing said the Wedgetail will be assembled in Renton, as it has in the past. Discussions are underway with the UK to perform final modifications there (similar to how KC-46A tankers move from final assembly to the Everett Modification Center for installation of military equipment). However, no agreement has been reached yet.
Nov. 5, 2018, © Leeham News: A UK defense publication reported late today (US time) that Boeing agreed to final assembly of the 737-based Wedgetail radar and surveillance airplane in the UK.
This marks the first time a 7-Series commercial-based airplane will be assembled outside the US.
The 737 finishing center in China, which opens this year, installs interiors and paints the airplane of finished 737s.
If the report is confirmed by Boeing, this marks a huge strategic and psychological step in how Boeing Commercial Airplanes approaches final assembly in the future.
By Bjorn Fehrm
November 1, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we looked at how a Boeing NMA would function as a medium range airliner in the Asia-Pacific.
We now continue with flying the two aircraft variants from Middle East locations, exploring how large an area in Asia, Europe and Africa the aircraft would cover.
By Bjorn Fehrm
October 18, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we started an article series which analyzes how useful a Boeing NMA will be for medium to long-haul flights in different markets.
We first went through all the factors which will change the OEM’s nominal range to an operational range. Now we fly the NMA in one of its main markets and look how it fairs.
Oct. 15, 2018, © Leeham News: “With your help, we will develop actionable plans to develop the supply chain.”
This was the leading message from the 5th Annual South Carolina Aerospace Conference and Expo, held Tuesday and Wednesday last week in Columbia (SC).
Conference officials also said they are “exploring a national aerospace coalition.”
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The South Carolina Council on Competitive/SC Aerospace already have a Letter of Intent with Washington State’s Aerospace Futures Alliance “for the purpose of advancing the aerospace industry across the US. The LOI will serve as the platform for exploring the creation of a national aerospace Coalition (Coalition) with the objective of strengthening and growing commercial aviation, space, and unmanned aerial systems in the US through a variety of activities.”
By Bjorn Fehrm
October 11, 2018, © Leeham News.: The Boeing NMA is by now reasonably well defined. The passenger capacity is set at 225 seats for the smaller version and 265 seats for the larger. The nominal range is 5,000nm for the smaller version and 4,750nm for the larger NMA.
This is all nominal data. In practice, there will be different operational realities which will decrease these figures. How much and how useful will the final operational NMA be? What will be the economic advantage over the direct competition?
To find out, we will pit the NMA against its direct competition in a series of articles.
Oct. 8, 2018, © Leeham News: As Boeing moves toward more automation, digital twins and 3D printing to streamline manufacturing and reduce costs, behind the scenes another major initiative has been underway for more than a year.
It’s the shift from its decades-old Enterprise Resource Planning system to a new, expanded one called Systems Applications Projects.
ERP manages parts and inventory. SAP is an evolution of ERP, important as Boeing plans to up production of the 737 and 787 and nears a decision whether to launch the New Midmarket Aircraft (NMA).
The transition is complex and will take years to fully accomplish.
Synergizing scores of old processes covering a billion parts, requiring meticulous data entry, is a daunting task. In fact, after running into problems in June, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ transition has been delayed, reports the aerospace analyst for Cowen & Co.
A glitch in the system can have ramifications that interrupt production and create traveled work that can delay airplane deliveries to customers.
A system that works as it should streamlines delivery of parts and reduces costs for Boeing—and, theoretically, also its suppliers.
It’s a delicate balance where one misidentified entry into the computer can create problems.
Oct. 4, 2018, © Leeham News: A consensus appears to have developed among aerospace analysts that the business model for the prospective Boeing New Midmarket Aircraft is about much more than the profit-and-loss case for a stand-alone airplane program.
It’s something that Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has alluded to many times on earnings calls and elsewhere.
But now, as Boeing moves toward a decision to launch the NMA program next year, the business model has fundamentally become defined.
Note that I say, “toward a decision,” not “if the program will be launched.” I’m convinced Boeing will greenlight the NMA.
Oct. 1, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The Choose Washington NMA task force said last week it will release this month recommendations for improving aerospace workforce activities in Washington.
It’s about time.
The task force was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to come up with a plan to persuade Boeing to choose Washington as the assembly site for its prospective New Midmarket Airplane, the NMA.
Two studies, one by the Teal Group and the other by Price Waterhouse Cooper, conclude Washington is the best aerospace cluster and location to build the NMA. The conclusions are unsurprising, given the maturity, size and scope of the cluster in Puget Sound (the greater Seattle area). No other place in the country has this level of aerospace activity.
But the reports failed to adequately address the top priority that Boeing has: the need for skilled workers and engineers.
At long last, the NMA council is getting there.
By Bjorn Fehrm
October 1, 2018, © Leeham News.: Boeing and its partner SAAB Thursday won a $9.2bn U.S. Air Force T-X Pilot Training contract. It was a win for its Defense, Space & Security division, yet it will have major implications for Boeing’s Commercial Airplane (BCA) division and the NMA.
The NMA will change the way Boeing develops, produces and supports airliners. The T-X is the pilot for this change.