Boeing estimates the cost of 737 MAX grounding at $1 billion


While presenting its financial results for the first quarter of 2019, Boeing estimated the price of the 737 MAX grounding since mid-March at $1 billion. This number only takes into account an increase in production costs for the aircraft. Possible compensations for the victims’ family and the airlines are left out for now.

Net profit fell 13% to $2.1 billion compared to the same period last year, while revenues are at $ 22.9 billion, down 1.98%, the aircraft manufacturer said in a statement. The Boeing backlog remains substantial with over 5,600 airplanes valued at $399 billion.

Impacted by the grounding of the 737 MAX, which led to an interruption of deliveries, Boeing decided to suspend the annual goals that were issued earlier this year. After reporting the best financial results in its history in 2018, the manufacturer had forecasted a 20% increase in operating income for the next year. Boeing says that new guidance should be issued at a future date.

"Across the company, we are focused on safety, returning the 737 MAX to service, and earning and re-earning the trust and confidence of customers, regulators and the flying public," said Boeing Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg.

After the production of the Boeing 737 MAX was reduced from 52 to 42 aircraft per month, deliveries of all civil aircraft fell to 149 units, a 19% decrease compared to the same quarter of the previous year.

Contrary to what some expected, no date was given for the submission of the 737 MAX update to the Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR), the committee composed of nine aviation regulators that will review the changes of the aircraft’s automated flight control system.

But the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX is not the only setback that the manufacturer faced lately. In fact, it has now has accumulated quite a few.

The most recent one surrounds the 787 Dreamliner. On April 20, 2019, an investigation carried out by the New York Times reported that several employees doubted of the aircraft’s safety. The research was based on internal e-mails, administrative documents, and interviews of several employees

The newspaper points at the group's state-of-the-art factory opened in 2009 near the city of Charleston, South Carolina. After shortcomings in its capacity to meet delivery deadlines, the company allegedly pushed its employees to speed up the production output. This led to metal debris being found in the wiring of some aircraft, and even a ladder and work lights near the gears of a horizontal stabilizer.

According to the New York Times, Qatar Airways stopped accepting planes from this specific factory after manufacturing accidents that damaged jets and delayed deliveries. The airline did not confirm this information.

As for Boeing, it denied all the allegations of the investigation in a corporate letter. In fact, Brad Zaback, Vice President and general manager of the 787 Program states that “our quality metrics show that we are performing at all-time high levels as well”.

It is not the first time that Boeing is faced with a production problem lately. The United States Air Force interrupted the deliveries of the KC-46 Pegasus tanker aircraft twice, on February 28, 2019, and on March 23, 2019, after foreign object debris (FOD) and loose tools were found in the tankers they received. Here again, these quality discrepancies could be attributed to a deliberate will to speed up production, as the KC-46 deliveries are already running late by several years.


AI breakthroughs could predict aviation engine component degradation

 Breakthrough artificial intelligence (AI) technologies developed in Queensland can be very beneficial to both the health and aviation sectors.

 According to a recent press release, the AI technologies can help improve insulin dosing for diabetics as well as transform the way an aeroplane engine wear-and-tear is monitored.

 An alumnus of the University of Queensland, in Australia, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) as well as a PhD in in Applied Mathematics, developed the technology and worked with others from the University to build real-world applications.

 One application they built made it to the top 10 of a global challenge for AI applications to solve humanity’s most pressing challenges. They were able to build a machine-intelligent artificial pancreas.

 Additionally, the health sector will gain from what the team is working on.

 They are using machine-learning technology in order to data mine the medical histories of diabetics and recommend insulin dosages.

 The technology can recommend the best insulin dosage to keep each individual patient’s blood glucose levels under control with unprecedented stability and safety.

 This will, thereby, allow for a better and more accurate treatment.

 Coming from the success of this project, the expertise of the University’s Mechanical Engineer and his research team is called to apply the same artificial intelligence to aviation turbine engines and their related systems.

 With the use of the breakthrough AI technology, the team was able to predict aviation engine component degradation, which allowed them to plan for services that will improve performance.

 It permits them to evolve the computational models of aviation engines as if they were organisms that the AI can explicitly explain, particularly with what it thinks is happening inside the engine.

 The University alumnus explained that the AI system learns by forcing mathematical models to evolve, which they do quite literally by using simulated chromosomes, to fit known information.

 To commercialize the engine work, a spin-off company was formed. The company graduated from the University’s start-up program that supports the early stages of start-up development.

 The Germinate program belongs to the University’s Ventures suite of entrepreneurial initiatives.

 This project, moreover, has allowed a PhD student as well as Engineering students to gain experience from a multi-disciplinary project with the industry.

 The team has already submitted the AI breakthrough to a competition and has already knocked out more than 600 teams from around the globe.

 This competition will be culminating with three finalists that are participating in the grand prize competition wherein the prize pool is a whopping $ 7.1 million.

Why outer space could revolutionize travel


Starship rocket is designed to exit and re-enter the earth’s atmosphere, with a passenger pod traveling to its final destination at maximum speeds of 27,000 km per hour.

Ultra-fast spacecraft could one day soon see passengers travelling between Dubai and London in just 29 minutes, according to a new report from UBS.

 The UBS report said high-speed travel through outer space will represent an approximately $20 million market in ten years and will compete with long-haul airlines, which would be considerably slower alternatives.

 “While space tourism is still at a nascent phase, we think that as technology becomes proven, and the cost falls due to technology and competition, space tourism will become more mainstream,” said UBS analysts Jarrod Castle and Myles Walton. “Space tourism could be the stepping stone for the development of long-haul travel on earth serviced by space.”


 As an example of the possibilities, UBS pointed to Elon Musk’s California-based SpaceX, which has said that its ‘Starship’ rocket will eventually be able to transport 100 people around the world in minutes.

 The Starship rocket is designed to exit and re-enter the earth’s atmosphere, with a passenger pod traveling to its final destination at maximum speeds of 27,000 km per hour.

 According to SpaceX estimates, this speed means that a trip between Dubai and London could be accomplished in 29 minutes. Currently, a conventional flight between the two locations takes 8 hours.

 The company says that the flights – which would encounter no wind resistance – would be able to cut virtually every trip possible on earth to under an hour, with most flights taking less than half an hour. New York to Shanghai, for example, would take 39 minutes, as opposed to the current 15 hours.

 In its report, UBS estimated that approximately 150 million people travel on flights of over 10 hours, with 527,000 routes averaging 309 seats each.

 “If we assume that 5 percent of these flights in the future are serviced by space at $2,500 per trip, the revenue opportunity as of today would be more than $20 billion per year as of today…there is a large market,” the report said.

 UBS noted that although Starship’s rockets will be unlikely to transport more than 100 people for the foreseeable future, increasingly frequent rocket flights will be able to eventually transport the same volume of passengers.

 “Given the length of long-haul commercial travel and the rules around crewing and take-off and landing time slot restrictions at airports, we think a re-usable rocket…would have materially better utilisation rates than a commercial plane,” UBS added.

 The UBS report estimated that the wider space industry will be worth $805 billion by 2030, compared to $5400 billion today.




New pan-Arab satellite named after Al Mamun’s reign


Recently, a first pan-Arab space group was formed in Abu Dhabi.

 Its first project, a satellite that will monitor climate change, was announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai said it would be named 813, a reference to the year that marked the beginning of prosperity for the House of Wisdom in Baghdad during Al Mamun’s reign.

 He said the year was a symbol of Arab and Islamic excellence in science and astronomy – but what exactly happened that year?

 Abu Al Abbas Al MamunibnHarun Al Rashid was simply known as Al Mamun. He was the seventh caliph of the Abbasid Empire, succeeding to the title aged 27.

 It was the year 813 and Baghdad was the at the heart of the Abbasid empire, a dynasty descended from Prophet Mohammed’s uncle, not just politically and militarily but also intellectually.

 The caliph ruled over a vast area of territory than extended from Persia to present-day Tunisia. It included the Arabian Peninsula, all of the Levant, along with Egypt, and the island of Crete.

 This was the dawn of the golden age of Islam, an explosion of science, culture and learning that would last 600 centuries and draw knowledge from all over the world.

 There were no challengers. Europe, in those years, was struggling out of the dark ages, its most powerful ruler, the Frankish king Charles, also known as Charlemagne, on his deathbed.

 Baghdad was at the heart of the empire and there, Al Mamun’s father, Harun, the fifth caliph, had created a large private library that became known as Khizanat Al Hikma, or the Library of Wisdom.

 Harun died in 809. His son, Al Amin, whose reign as caliph lasted less than four years, succeeded him. His early death was the result of war fought with his half-brother Al Mamun. The two siblings had never liked each other, resulting in a civil war and Al Amin’s execution on the battlefield.

 Conflict gave way to peace. Almost his first act as caliph was an order from Al Mamun to expand the Library of Wisdom that was close to overflowing.

 The new institution drew scholars from across the Islamic world, meeting under one roof to debate and discuss. Many produced their own notable works. Among them was the brilliant Persian mathematician, Muhammad Al Khwarizmi, whose great work Kitab Al Jaber gives us the word algebra.

 Al Khwarizmi was also responsible for importing the Hindu system of numbers, first to the Arab world and then into Europe.

 Al Mamun also reached out to the Christian world to expand the House of Wisdom. He acquired the entire book collection of the king of Sicily and asked permission from the Byzantine emperor to translate notable scientific works in his library.

 Another collection of hand-written manuscripts was said to require 100 camels to transport it to Baghdad.

 Now its memory will live again, as the 813 satellite project, whose members include many modern countries that once formed the Abbasid empire, monitors those lands and provides valuable scientific information on the environment and climate. In spirit, as well as name, it reflects the House of Wisdom.

UAE, Virgin Galactic sign agreement for space tourism flights

 The UAE Space Agency and Virgin Galactic have signed an agreement to open up the possibility of space tourism flights.

Under the agreement, the parties intend to plan for a SpaceShipTwo and carrier aircraft vehicle pair that would be operated from the UAE, collaborate to develop a ‘center of excellence’ for microgravity research in the UAE and develop spaceship operational plans for UAE’s Al Ain airport.

 The space vehicle will be used by customers in the UAE and the region as a science platform for high-frequency space research, as well as private individuals to experience space.

 Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, director general of the UAE Space Agency, and George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company (TSC), signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that outlines cooperation across a range of areas.

 These include plans to bring Virgin Galactic spaceflights to the UAE for education, science and technology research, as well as potential space tourism flights in the future.

 The agreement, coming shortly after Virgin Galactic’s historic commercial space flights in December 2018 and February 2019, marks an important step as the company progresses toward commercial operations, state news agency WAM reported on Monday.

 It added that the UAE is well positioned to cater to such an important potential activity following significant advances in the UAE space regulatory and investment environment.

 The agreement also builds upon the longtime UAE investment in Virgin Galactic and TSC, held by Mubadala Investment Company.

 Ahbabi said, "This significant agreement builds on our longstanding relationship with the Virgin Group, with whom the Mubadala Investment Company jointly owns Virgin Galactic. It also reflects the advanced stage of the UAE’s space sector and our rapidly developing capabilities which, together with our partners at Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company, can enable the UAE to contribute to the manufacturing of space vehicles and commence spaceport operations within the next few years."


Intelak promotes women's participation in travel industry


Intelak, the UAE's aviation, travel, and tourism-focused incubator, held an ideation workshop and mentoring session to dive into the history of, and activate the participation of GCC women in the region's travel industry. This was the first time Intelak hosted an ideation workshop that targeted the growth of GCC female-led businesses and ideas in the travel sector.

 Women and men from more than ten countries participated in the event, with dozens of ideas evolving from the interactive session. These ideas can later be submitted for consideration to participate in the sixth edition of the Intelak Incubator program. Intelak is led by the Emirates Group, GE and Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. The three principal partners provide seed funding and expert support and training for young innovators to convert their aviation, travel and tourism-related ideas into tangible businesses.

 Stakeholders from across the startup ecosystem; female and male employees from all three entities; and students from various universities in the UAE took part. The ideation session was titled 'The Evolution of the GCC Female Traveller' and was aimed at opening a dialogue on the history and needs of GCC female travellers, as well as the start-up business opportunities that exist in the industry.

 Rehab Mansoor, New Ventures Manager at dnata, opened the session with a discussion around the research on the evolution of the GCC female traveler and what new business opportunities exist to support their growth. The talk was followed by a workshop and ideation session on new business opportunities that are focused on and/or led by GCC female travelers.

 One of the key findings to come out of the session was that over the last 10 years, there has been a dynamic shift in how GCC women travel. Their needs, as well as the opportunities that exist to make travel safer, more comfortable and inclusive, have evolved significantly. The findings also draw on the recent trend of women serving as the key decision makers for family holiday bookings, according to the Amadeus Consumer Travel Report 2018, which further states that women lead in the GCC nationals' group, with 63% serving as the sole decision makers.

 Further underlining the role of women in travel, the session highlighted the emerging trend of Gulf families displaying a greater tendency to travel in smaller groups rather than in multi-generational large family groups, which was traditionally their preferred travel pattern. The motivation for such travel is the desire to de-stress, relax and enjoy quality time with immediate family, as found in the 2018 European Travel Commission Report.

 The ideas proposed at the workshop took into consideration key travel trends from across the GCC. According to the 2018 European Travel Commission Report, over two-thirds of GCC nationals traveled to Europe with family members and another 7% traveled with family and friends. Nearly a fifth (19 percent) went to Europe with friends while 5 percent travelled alone.

 Founded in 2016, Intelak brings together entrepreneurs and students from across the UAE to participate in an aviation, travel and tourism-focused Incubator program. Meaning 'taking off' in Arabic, Intelak supports young entrepreneurs to become part of the innovative ecosystem in the UAE. Since 2016, Intelak has garnered over 1,000 applications; more than 80 teams have participated in the pre-incubation bootcamp; and twenty teams have received thousands of hours of mentoring from the Principal Partners and ecosystem leaders. -

Arab women striving to become part of the aviation industry

 As commercial aviation witnesses a boom across the world, more and more women are passionately striving to become a part of the industry.

Women in airspace have transitioned from being employed as flight attendants to premier cockpit controllers. Today, a fifth of students enrolling for a commercial flying license in India, the world’s second-most populous country, are women, which is way higher than other countries.

 Compared with other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the UAE has more women pilots, captains, aircraft engineers, mechanics, aircraft maintenance and air traffic controllers, among others.

 Emirates Airlines and Group currently employs nearly 27,000 women, making up 42 percent of the group’s workforce, including women pilots who includes the youngest Emirati female pilot operating the world’s biggest aircraft, A380. Over 60 of more than 4000 pilots employed by it are females.

 More than a third of the 3,770 employees at flydubai, Middle East’s fastest-growing LCC, are female with more than 1,000 female Cabin Crew members and more than 30 female Captains and First Officers. Etihad Airways currently employs over 2,850 Emirati women, including 50 female pilots and also the first Emirati woman registered as a specialist in aviation medicine.  Air Arabia’s women employees include the first female Emirati holder of a multi-crew pilots (MPL) license.

 The 4th Women in Aviation (WIA) Middle East General Assembly will be held in Dubai on 1 May alongside the 19th edition of Airport Show. The event will focus on the growing contribution of women in aviation globally and share best practices from around the world for over 400 attendees expected at the Dubai event.

 Key sessions will focus on initiatives that can help women succeed in the aviation workplace and help organizations meet ICAO’s gender parity goals, the influence of social media in the changing workplace and work-life balance issues with respect to female employment, as well as a systematic guide on how to enhance gender equality in the aviation workplace. The conference will also look at the role women are playing in the development of the region’s ambitious space programs, especially in the United Arab Emirates.

 Mervat Sultan, one of the first Arab women to obtain a flight dispatcher’s license and a Co-Founder and President of the Middle East chapter of Women in Aviation (WIA) International, said, “Just over five percent of the commercial pilots flying worldwide are females. The Middle East’s share has not been encouraging, but things are changing. Being a woman in the aviation industry shouldn’t be about gender, but only about hard work and ability.  The barriers are disappearing as women have been successfully destroying the stereotypes.”

 “Today, we can see an increasing number of women in aviation and aerospace, but still they are vastly under-represented. The opportunities are greater now than the past.  Without any doubts, women in the coming time would be scripting a different success story altogether. It’s somewhat a slow and steady process. Debates will help us in taking crucial decisions towards this end,” said Merwat who will also be addressing the WIA General Assembly.

 Women account for 12.4 percent of India’s pilots, with 1,092 of the total 8,797 pilots in schedule domestic airlines being women.  India has among the highest ratio of female pilots working for schedule airlines globally. Though the number might seem small, it is significantly higher than the global average of 5.4 percent and surpasses the countries like France, Japan and the US at 7.6, 5.6 and 5.1 percent, respectively.

 Estimates from the International Society of Women Airline Pilots show there are 7,409 women pilots across the world accounting for 5.2 per cent of total pilot workforce. Women make up about five per cent of the 53,000 members of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the world’s largest pilot union. It estimates that between three and six per cent of pilots at the world’s largest commercial airlines are women. Representation of women on the ICAO Council is seven out of 36 members. The organisation is committed to a 50-50-gender parity by 2030. According data by the ICAO, only 5.18 percent of pilots are female.

Electric airplanes to take to UAE skies this year


The Academy of Technical Training (ATT) has just confirmed that private individuals, as young as 14 years old, can start securing a license to fly an electric-powered plane in October.

 However, the permit will be issued only after flight training or course is completed at the Flight Club in Ghantoot, officials at the ATT told state news agency WAM.

 During the training, students will be able to operate an eco-friendly flying machine called Alpha Electro. The Dh400, 000 plane has an airframe made in Slovenia but it is assembled in the UAE.

 It can fly over 13,000 feet for an hour and 30 minutes, and reach a cruising speed of 180 kilometers per hour, using two lithium batteries.

 “The aircraft, including the batteries and engines, is entirely assembled in the UAE by Emirati hands,” said LahejSaif Al Falasi, chairman of ATT.

 Al Falasi said the aircraft is “completely safe,” citing that it is already licensed internationally. It has undergone flight tests in the UAE, United States and Germany.

 “The aircraft is completely safe, with zero [carbon dioxide] emissions and minimum noise,” he said. “It is really a source of pride to see creative Emiratis contributing to the service of humanity by bringing what was once perceived as science fiction into reality,” he added.

 “It is really a source of pride to see creative Emiratis contributing to the service of humanity by bringing what was once perceived as science fiction into reality,” he added.

 One of the batteries used in the aircraft is capable of providing additional power for 30 minutes, which can be used in case of emergency.

Emirates to hold cabin crew recruitment program in Lebanon

 Emirates, is looking for Lebanese candidates to join its cabin crew team.

The Dubai-based airline is holding two cabin crew recruitment open days at Beirut and Jounieh.

 The Beirut event will be held at Mövenpick Hotel Beirut, while the open day at Jounieh will be held on April 29 at Hotel Burj on Bay.

 The airline said it is looking for ‘open-minded, helpful, friendly and service-oriented candidates. They can walk in with up-to-date curriculum vitae in English, and a recent photograph. Prior online registration is not required.

 Cabin crew are offered an employment package, which includes a variety of benefits such as a tax-free income, free high standard shared accommodation in Dubai, free transport to/from work, medical and dental cover as well as exclusive discounts on shopping and leisure activities in Dubai.


CAE extends the use CAE Rise™ training system for AirAsia’s A330 long-haul pilots

 CAE announced the signing of a new five-year training agreement for AirAsia’s long-haul pilots. The agreement extends the use of the CAE Rise™ training system to AirAsia’s long-haul affiliate, AirAsia X, on the Airbus A330 platform. CAE is providing initial training for the airline’s pilots and will soon undertake recurrent training at CAE’s training centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, starting in July 2019.

 “The extension of the CAE Rise™ system to the Airbus A330 platform recognises our commitment to providing world-class training for our pilots,” said Captain Desmond Voo, AirAsia X’s Chief Pilot Training and Standards.  “We’ve embarked on a mission to digitise every aspect of our business, and by implementing CAE Rise™ we’re able to better train and develop our pilots using real-life scenarios and data. This will ensure we can continue to provide the highest training standards to our pilots.”

 “AirAsia and CAE share a longstanding partnership that spans over 15 years, and we are thrilled to extend the CAE Rise™ training system to the Airbus A330 platform,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE’s Group President Civil Aviation Training Solutions. “Our CAE Rise™ Training System will give instructors a new approach to objectively assess pilot competencies using live data during training sessions. It will provide real-time insights and standardized evaluations in accordance with the airlines Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).”

 CAE and AirAsia share a long-standing relationship of more than 15 years, with the provision of training equipment and training centre operation services. The partnership further evolved into the launch of an innovative Multi-Crew Pilot Licence (MPL) cadet training program to the complete outsourcing of AirAsia's training needs, and most recently, the launch of the CAE Rise™ training system.


FL Technics to setup maintenance station at Dubai International Airport


FL Technics, the Lithuania-headquartered MRO provider, will set up a new line maintenance station at Dubai International Airport.

 The station is EASA certified and upon opening from next month, will initially provide services for Airbus A320 family aircraft and Boeing 737 classic and NG variants. From the second half of 2019, the station will add further capabilities to include the A320neo and A330, along with 777 and 787 aircraft types.

 FL Technics says the station will provide services to both UAE-based and overseas airlines with work scopes of up to DY/WY check and defect rectification at the world’s third largest airport.

 The new Dubai location adds to the existing 35 line maintenance stations FL Technics operates around the world. In the past two years, it has added new line stations across the world, including locations in Georgia and Russia.

 It also has plans to expand its base maintenance capabilities, with new facilities set for China and Thailand.

 ZilvinasLapinskas, CEO at FL Technics, which his part of the Avia Solutions Group, says the Middle East region’s growth and Dubai’s location as an aviation hub makes it important for the company to establish a presence there.

 In addition to line and base maintenance, FL Technics also holds capabilities for spare parts and component support, engine repairs, APU and LG management, full aircraft engineering and technical training.

Etihad Airways Engineering expands its capabilities


Etihad Airways Engineering, the largest independent maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) service provider in the Middle East, has announced the addition of Airbus A350 maintenance capabilities to its inhouse portfolio.

 Etihad Airways Engineering is part of the Airbus MRO Alliance and has emerged as a centre of excellence for the Airbus A380, having supported the A380 fleets of Etihad Airways and third-party customers in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Australia.

 The company said it continues to extend its coverage of major commercial aircraft types and has now received approval for Airbus A350 maintenance, awarded by the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

 The first A350 aircraft to arrive for maintenance in Abu Dhabi comes from the company’s long-term client, Latam Airlines group, based in Latin America.

 The aircraft will undergo a heavy maintenance check and modifications as part of its routine maintenance program. Full stripping and painting of the aircraft in Latam’s livery will follow the C-check. The airline group is due to send additional A350 aircraft for scheduled maintenance in Abu Dhabi during the year.

 Etihad Airways Engineering CEO Abdul KhaliqSaeed said, “Building on our position as a centre of excellence for the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A380, we are now ready to support the A350 fleets of our customers from around the world.

 "Our A350 capability demonstrates our commitment to providing comprehensive aircraft maintenance and engineering solutions for all major aircraft types under one roof.

 “Our investment in developing A350 maintenance capability recognises the growing global demand for service on this aircraft type forecast over the coming years,” he added.

 Etihad Airways Engineering’s facility is the largest independent commercial MRO facility in the Middle East, located adjacent to Abu Dhabi International Airport. Aircraft hangars can accommodate up to three Airbus A380 aircraft simultaneously.

Magnetic MRO completes 100th C-check on A320 aircraft


Magnetic MRO, a global provider of Total Technical Care for aircraft operators and lessors, has completed the 100th C-check on an Airbus 320 aircraft – an anniversary that took the company more than 6 years to reach.

 Magnetic MRO celebrated an important milestone on March 10th as the company’s Base Maintenance team delivered the 100th A320-Family aircraft from C-check to the customer. The 100th aircraft that went through the check was SAS’s A320-Neo, project B581.

 To thank SAS for their trust and fruitful partnership, our Base Maintenance Director Sergei Shkolnik gifted the airline’s technical representative Freddy Bigun a unique trophy that was made of A320 engine blades.

 It took Magnetic MRO’s Base Maintenance 6 years and 3 months to complete 100 C-checks on A320.

Lockheed Martin begins construction on navy's newest multi-mission warship


In a ceremony that formally marks the beginning of a ship's construction, Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine laid the keel on Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 25, the future USS Marinette. During the ceremony, the ship's sponsor Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan, had her initials welded into the ship's keel plate.

 Unique among combat ships, LCS is designed to serve a variety of missions today, and is easily adapted to serve future and evolving missions tomorrow.

 It is flexible — with 40 percent of the hull easily reconfigurable, LCS is designed to serve today's missions and can be outfitted with additional and evolved capabilities, including over-the-horizon missiles, and advanced electronic warfare systems and radars.

It is lethal — standard equipped with Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) and a Mark 110 gun, capable of firing 220 rounds per minute.

It is fast — capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots.

It is automated — with the most efficient staffing of any combat ship.

"LCS brings something really special to the Navy. There is no other class of ship that delivers this level of flexibility for future missions," said Joe DePietro, vice president and general manager of Small Combatants and Ship Systems. "LCS is minimally manned, so the U.S. Navy can efficiently project presence around the world. It really is a remarkable ship, and our team is so proud to begin construction on the future USS Marinette for the Navy."

 LCS 25 will be the first US Navy ship to bear the name Marinette, and is named to recognize the town's significant contributions to Navy shipbuilding. Fincantieri Marinette Marine began operations in 1942 to provide US ships for World War II. Marinette is the birthplace of Lockheed Martin's Freedom-variant LCS, which Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine have partnered to produce for more than 16 years. Each day, more than 1,500 residents of Marinette, Wisconsin and Menominee, Michigan, enter the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard to build LCS.

 "We are thrilled to build the future USS Marinette. As shipbuilders, we transform flat panels of steel into warships, and feel so much pride in the craftsmanship required to do this important work. It is an honor to be able to do that for the ship named after our hometown," said Jan Allman, president and CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine. "The Navy selected an incredible woman to sponsor our ship. Governor Jennifer Granholm represents a large number of our workforce coming from Michigan, and she has been an avid supporter of the LCS program since its inception."

 LCS 25 will be the 13th Freedom-variant LCS, and will join a class of more than 30 ships. She is one of seven ships in various stages of construction and test at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard.


Facebook removes ‘fake’ accounts linked to Pakistani military


Facebook is removing 103 pages, groups and accounts linked to the media wing of Pakistan’s military, the social media giant announced recently, calling them ‘fake’ accounts created to manipulate people.

 The statement by Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, shines a rare light on efforts by Pakistan’s shadowy military establishment to use social media as a propaganda tool.

 “Today we removed 103 Pages, Groups and accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook and Instagram as part of a network that originated in Pakistan,” Gleichner said in the statement.

 “Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found that it was linked to employees of the ISPR (Inter-Service Public Relations) of the Pakistani military,” he said.

 Gleichner said ISPR employees were operating military fan pages, as well as pages on Kashmir, “general Pakistani interest”, and local and political news including on topics such as arch-rival India’s army and politicians.

 Some 2.8 million accounts followed one or more of the pages, he said.

 Examples included a post from a page called “Pakistan Army – the BEST”, with an image purporting to show a crashed Indian fighter jet with text reading: “Indian airforce has become a consistent failure which is evident from current embarrassment for India”.

 Others praised Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan for promoting peace, or propagated unverified claims a Pakistani pilot had shot down five Indian planes.

 “We are constantly working to detect and stop coordinated inauthentic behavior because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people,” Gleichner said.

 Facebook also said it was removing 687 pages and accounts engaged in similarly ‘inauthentic’ behavior that were linked to India’s opposition Congress party.

 Congress reacted cautiously, with spokesperson Manish Tewari saying the party “will need to verify the veracity of these reports”.

 A recent standoff between India and Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir saw a deluge of ‘fake news’ hit social media, raising concerns over misinformation in the upcoming election in the world’s largest democracy.

US military delivers food to cyclone affected areas in Mozambique


The US military has delivered 125 tons of food to areas of Mozambique struggling to recover from Cyclone Idai, part of an international response that is ‘just the beginning’ of the relief efforts, US Africa Command officials said recently.

 About 90 troops from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa are involved in direct relief operations and have performed 30 humanitarian sorties since March, Air Force Brig. Gen. Randy Huston, US Africa Command deputy director of operations, said during a press call with reporters.

 The service members are transporting World Food Program provisions from staging areas in Pisa, Italy and Dubai to Maputo, Mozambique's capital. There, they are transferred from C-17 Globemasters to C-130 Hercules aircraft and shuttled to devastated areas for distribution.

 Cyclone Idai made landfall near the port city of Beira, Mozambique, on March 14 as a Category 3 storm, with winds of 125 miles per hour and a 16-foot storm surge. It then moved inland, burying villages and farmland in torrential rains and mud before moving through the neighboring countries of Malawi and Zimbabwe.

 The storm killed at least 748 people and affected 1.8 million residents, leaving them without electricity or water.

 More than two weeks after the storm, a second disaster is unfolding; the BBC reported at least 500 cases of cholera in Beira with at least one death. More cases of cholera are expected, given overcrowded conditions at shelters, poor sanitation and the need for clean water.

 According to US Africa Command officials, the Department of Defense has authorized expenditures of up to $15 million to support DoD operations in the region through April 15.

 As of March, US Agency for International Development had provided $6.2 million in humanitarian assistance to Mozambique. The operations remain challenging, Huston said, because of the disaster's scope, affecting an area nearly the size of the country of Luxembourg.

 About 160 US federal civilian employees are also present in Mozambique helping direct US response. Representatives from the US State Department, USAID and elsewhere are providing assistance at the request of the country's government. In addition, personnel in Washington, D.C., at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and across the federal government are working full-time to support the response, officials said.

 The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is providing mapping data to help US Africa Command with its logistics planning, but the agency also has launched a public safety page to help international responders plan their relief efforts, providing information on water and sanitation availability, population distribution and points of entry.

 Units participating in the US military operation include CTJF-HOA, the Air Force 435th Contingency Response Group and elements of U.S. European Command, defense officials said.

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