Friday, December 11, 2009

New Gulfstream G250 Takes Flight

Large-Cabin, Mid-Range Business Jet Performs Flawlessly During Three-Hour Mission
SAVANNAH, Ga., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Gulfstream Aerospace, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD - News), today announced that its newest business jet, the large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G250, has successfully completed its first flight. Gulfstream designed and built the super mid-size business jet in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in Tel Aviv, Israel. Flown by IAI chief test pilot Ronen Shapira, the G250 took off from Ben Gurion International Airport today at 8:16 a.m. local time. During the flight, which lasted 3 hours and 21 minutes, the pilots tested the business jet's flight-handling qualities and characteristics, and performed initial checks of several aircraft systems.
The aircraft was flown to 32,000 feet and achieved a maximum speed of 253 knots. Pilot Shapira commented that the flight was "extremely smooth with no issues." IAI's Flight Telemetry System enabled IAI and Gulfstream flight-test engineers on the ground to monitor the G250 aircraft systems in real time during the flight, as well as record the data from the first flight test point.
"The G250 performed extremely well, just as we expected," said Pres Henne, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. "We're looking forward to 2011 when we'll begin delivering this aircraft to the customers who had tremendous input in its design."
Itzhak Nissan, president and CEO, IAI, said, "The successful first flight of the G250 large-cabin, mid-range jet represents the achievements of Gulfstream and IAI as the designers, integrators and manufacturers of this advanced business jet. IAI continues to benefit from its world-leading, strategic partnership with Gulfstream."
The G250 rolled out of the IAI manufacturing facility in Tel Aviv under its own power on Oct. 6, 2009. It remains on schedule for type certification by 2011, followed by entry-into-service the same year.
The G250 offers the largest cabin and the longest range at the fastest speed in its class. The cockpit features the new PlaneView 250(TM) system based on Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics. Powered by twin Honeywell HTF7250G engines, the business jet is capable of traveling 3,400 nautical miles at Mach 0.80 and has a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.85. With an initial cruise altitude of 41,000 feet, the G250 can climb to a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet.
It features an all-new, advanced transonic wing design that has been optimized for high-speed cruise and improved takeoff performance. At maximum takeoff weight, the G250 can depart from a 5,000-foot runway. Its 3,400-nautical-mile range means the G250 can fly nonstop from New York to London or from London to Dubai.
In terms of passenger comfort, the G250 features the largest cabin in its class, with 17 percent to 35 percent more floor area than any other large-cabin, mid-range business jet. The additional space provides for a larger lavatory, an improved galley and increased storage. The aircraft also features 19 panoramic windows, industry-leading sound levels, a vacuum toilet system and in-flight access to 120 cubic feet of usable volume in the baggage compartment.
The G250 will be completed at the Gulfstream Center for Mid-Cabin Excellence in Dallas.
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD - News), designs, develops, manufactures, markets, services and supports the world's most technologically advanced business-jet aircraft. Gulfstream has produced some 1,800 aircraft for customers around the world since 1958. To meet the diverse transportation needs of the future, Gulfstream offers a comprehensive fleet of aircraft, comprising the wide-cabin, high-speed Gulfstream G150®; the large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G200®; the new large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G250®; the large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G350®; the large-cabin, long-range G450®; the large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G500®; the large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G550® and the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range G650®. Gulfstream also offers aircraft ownership services via Gulfstream Financial Services Division and Gulfstream Pre-Owned Aircraft Sales®. The company employs more than 9,700 people at seven major locations. We invite you to visit our Web site for more information and photos of Gulfstream aircraft at
General Dynamics (NYSE: GD - News), headquartered in Falls Church, Va., employs approximately 92,300 people worldwide. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies. More information about General Dynamics is available online at
Israel Aerospace Industries is Israel's leading technological-industrial company, with approximately 16,400 employees. IAI has gained worldwide recognition as a leading developer of aviation and aerospace technology in both military and civilian markets. IAI provides the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and its foreign customers with unique, high-quality technological solutions that meet a wide range of needs on the ground, in the sea, in the air, in space and in the field of homeland security. IAI is a world leader in a wide range of advanced technologies, including the development, production, renovation, upgrading, repair and maintenance of aircraft, missiles, launchers, communications satellites, observation satellites and ground services, electronic systems, avionics systems, advanced radar, precision-guided munitions, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Germany sticking to order for 60 A400M planes-official

SEVILLE, Spain, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Germany is sticking to its order for 60 Airbus A400M military transporters, a German government official said on Friday, despite widespread doubts about the delayed and over-budget project. However, Germany will not make any written financial concessions to Airbus's parent EADS (EAD.PA) and is keeping its right to cancel its contract until March 31.
Ruediger Wolf, a German state secretary, added that buyers of the A400M had reached an agreement on the way ahead for the 20 billion euro project, and EADS had until the end of the year to offer an official response to the agreement.
Earlier on Friday, the A400M made its first test flight. [ID:nGEE5B92LV] (Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Writing by Sarah Marsh)

CORRECTED-Obama eyes arms sales to Taiwan, official says

(Corrects year Bush cleared sales to 2001 in paragraph 15)
* Black Hawk helicopters and diesel submarine design work
* Administration also weighing more PAC-3 missiles
* China opposes arms sales to Taiwan

By Jim Wolf
WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - The Obama administration is moving toward possible new arms sales to Taiwan, including design work on diesel-electric submarines, a U.S. State Department official told Reuters on Wednesday. China strongly opposes arms sales to Taiwan, which Beijing sees as a renegade province, as interference in its domestic affairs. New submarines could help challenge any Chinese seaborne assault on the self-governing island, which Beijing reserves the right to take by force.
Also progressing toward notification to the U.S. Congress is the sale to Taiwan of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, said Robert Kovac, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for defense trade.
In addition, the Obama administration is weighing more sales to Taiwan of Patriot "Advanced Capability" missiles known as PAC-3 as well as an operations deal for the "Po Sheng" (Broad Victory) command and control program, Kovac said.
"All of those things are going on," he said during a break in testimony to a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on U.S. aerospace exports.
Asked whether "going on" meant advancing toward notification to Congress as a prelude to any sale, Kovac said: "In some cases, yes," including the Black Hawks and the submarines. On supplying more PAC-3 missiles, he said this was "in discussions."
China suspended military-to-military contacts with the United States after then President George W. Bush notified Congress in October 2008 of plans to sell Taiwan a long-delayed arms package valued at up to $6.4 billion.
The United States does not build deisel-electric submarines.
The design work, estimated at $360 million, would require a U.S. company to show it had the ability to build them or had found a foreign partner that would do so, said Ed Ross, director of operations at the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency from 1994 to 2007.
The cost of building eight diesel-electric submarines had been estimated at $10.2 billion and would take 10 to 15 years, he added in a telephone interview.
"It's a very significant event if they go forward with these sales," said Ross, now a defense consultant specializing in East Asia. "They are desperately needed for Taiwan's defense and deterrence to maintain the relative military balance in the Taiwan Strait."
The Black Hawk, a tactical transport helicopter, is built by Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp (UTX.N).
The PAC-3 missile is built by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) and Raytheon Co (RTN.N) is the system integrator. Lockheed was the prime contractor for the original Po Sheng program, designed to integrate Taiwan's air, marine, ground and command and control assets in a single network.
Taiwan long has sought 60 Black Hawks and the submarines.
Bush had cleared both for sale in April 2001 but he omitted them when he finally sent Congress his 2008 arms package after much debate in Taiwan's legislative Yuan.
Included were up to 330 PAC-3 missiles and related gear valued at up to $3.1 billion, about half the amount Taiwan had sought for its defense against missiles and aircraft.
"We decided that trying to make up for the delays in the arms sale package in one fell swoop was potentially destabilizing to the improvements in cross-strait relations that occurred during the first year" of President Ma Ying-jeou's administration, Dennis Wilder, senior director for East Asian affairs on Bush's National Security Council staff, told Reuters in March.
"We also clearly told Taiwan that nothing had been taken off the table," Wilder said. "We wanted to leave the door open for the next U.S. administration to do its own review in consultation with Taiwan to decide on future arms sales."
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a Sept. 16 speech that China's investments in anti-ship weaponry "could threaten America's primary way to project power and help allies in the Pacific -- in particular our forward air bases and carrier strike groups." (Editing by John O'Callaghan)

EADS says not fooling about tanker boycott threat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) Friday December 11, 2009 - Airbus parent EADS (Paris:EAD.PA - News) is sticking to plans to boycott a potential $50 billion competition to build a U.S. Air Force refueling fleet absent major changes in the way the winner would be picked.
"This is not a negotiating ploy," Sean O'Keefe, chief executive of EADS' North America unit, told reporters at a briefing on Friday.
EADS has joined Northrop Grumman Corp (NYSE:NOC - News) to compete against Boeing Co (NYSE:BA - News) for a rematch to build an initial 179 aircraft that refuel others in flight.
Northrop, which would be the team's prime contractor, said on December 1 it had concluded that a draft request for proposals (RFP) issued by the Air Force favored a smaller tanker of a type Boeing could offer based on its 767 wide-body model.
Northrop Chief Executive Ron Sugar denied the company was trying to dictate requirements for the Air Force, as some Boeing supporters have suggested, but said there should be no mistaking the team's resolve.
"Nobody should make a mistake. We cannot bid based on this current RFP," Sugar told Reuters in a telephone interview.
He said there was "constructive engagement" on the part of the Air Force with Northrop, and its concerns, but he declined to predict if the Air Force would make sufficient changes that would allow the companies to compete after all.
Guy Hicks, an EADS North America spokesman, said: "The value of added capability offered above the minimum requirement -- including greater range, fuel offload and transport capacity -- must be included and fairly weighted in the final request for proposal."
The Northrop-EADS is offering an Airbus A330-200 wide-body derivative.
The contract could be worth $25 billion to $50 billion over time, a senior U.S. military officer said in relaunching the competition September 24.
The contract is due to be awarded by the end of June.
The potential bidders met separately on Tuesday at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, with government officials weighing possible changes to draft bidding rules released in late September.
"We're heartened" by the discussions under way, O'Keefe said. "We couldn't ask for a more thoughtful and forward-leaning response."
He said he understood the government was now aiming to release a final request for proposal in the middle of next month.
A Boeing spokesman, William Barksdale, said the Boeing team met Air Force officials for several hours "to voice both observations and concerns" about how tanker proposals would be judged.
"We were also told our input would be shared with senior Air Force leadership as they move forward to releasing the final RFP in January 2010," Barksdale said in a blog posting.
The government is weighing comments received during the review process, said Cheryl Irwin, a Defense Department spokeswoman.
"When those deliberations are complete regarding both the comments received and what RFP changes will be made, it will issue the final RFP," she said in an emailed statement.
The Northrop-EADs team won a contract to build 179 tankers for the Air Force in February 2008, only to have it scrapped after U.S. auditors upheld a Boeing protest tied to Air Force missteps in evaluating the bids.
Air Force General Duncan McNabb, head of the U.S. Transportation Command, told reporters on Wednesday that he was satisfied with the draft RFP.
"From the requirements standpoint, I feel very good about it," he said. "My take is that everything we need in the new tanker is reflected" in the draft issued in September.
The new aircraft would replace KC-135 tankers with an average age of about 50 years.
The plan calls for delivery of the new tankers to start in 2015, with the first ones to be operational in 2017.
Two successive competitions would take place in decades to come to complete a fleet renewal expected to cost more than $100 billion for up to 600 new tankers. (Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Ted Kerr)

WEEKAHEAD-The view from Reuters editors in the Americas

NEW YORK, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Following is the view from Reuters editors in the Americas on the news likely to matter most in the week starting Dec. 13.
MARKETS: Recovery puts focus on Fed
BERNANKE: Committee to vote on chairman's second term
CLIMATE: Obama goes to Copenhagen
DEALS: A look at the hot sectors
MARKETS - Even though some of the major players are already calling it quits for 2009, there's still enough going on to make next week an interesting one for U.S. financial markets. A flurry of economic data suggesting improvement in consumer demand and sentiment -- and steadily improving business outlooks -- has toned down talk of a double dip and given more credence to those who think the Fed will boost rates sooner rather than later. Any change in the Fed's statement on Wednesday (see below) could throw a wrench into the crowded sell-dollar-buy-everything-else trade. Dollar strength on the back of stronger data could still hold back stocks. Strong data could also force bond yields higher, and not just long-term, but ultra-low short-term yields, after the spread between the two-year and 30-year hit a record in the past week.
BERNANKE AND HIS BAND - The Federal Reserve's policy-setting panel meets on Tuesday and Wednesday and will need to nod to signs the economy's recovery is gathering strength in the statement it releases around 2:15 p.m. (1915 GMT) on Wednesday. But don't expect the Fed to ditch its long-standing vow to hold interest rates at exceptionally low levels for "an extended period." The following day, the Senate Banking Committee meets to vote on Ben Bernanke's nomination to serve a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. While his confirmation hearing was contentious, most senators seem ready to give him their backing, which would send the nomination to the full Senate for a final vote at a future date.
U.S. ECONOMY - U.S. November industrial output data and December regional manufacturing data for New York state on Tuesday and the Mid-Atlantic states from Philadelphia Fed on Thursday should confirm the U.S. economic recovery, while inflation is not expected to be a threat in November consumer and producer price data, which come out on Tuesday and Wednesday.
M&A PACKAGE - Dealmaking is on the rebound. We'll look at the hot sectors, the deal structures, how the IPO market is shaping up, where private equity players are placing their bets, who the movers and shakers are and the outlook for distressed assets and bonuses. We'll also identify the biggest value creators and destroyers among deals in the past decade. All with the latest league tables from Thomson Reuters. The package runs on Friday.
FINANCIAL REGULATION - Commissioner Bart Chilton told us last month that the CFTC would like to issue its proposal on how to tame excessive speculation in commodity markets by the end of the year, which could mean this week, given the holiday interlude. While some slippage could be expected, we are alert for possible news on position limits -- and possible end-user and hedger exemption.
ENERGY INVENTORIES - After a year in which natural gas dramatically underperformed oil, the two fuels now appear to be moving toward a more typical balance after an unexpectedly big drop in gas inventories boosted gas prices to their highest since last winter, while rising oil stocks at the Cushing hub have helped pull crude back to $70 for the first time since October. The issue now: regional winter weather. More cold in the U.S. Northeast -- as widely forecast -- should lift both, and may help reopen an arbitrage for LNG; some frigid Midwest temperatures would benefit gas, but not oil.
CLIMATE CHANGE - U.S. President Barack Obama goes to the global Copenhagen climate change summit late in the week, buoyed by a bipartisan framework for a Congressional bill drafted by three U.S. senators. It remains to be seen whether this is the compromise needed to push a long-troubled bill through as early as next year. Democrat John Kerry, Republican Lindsey Graham and independent Joe Lieberman have been working for several weeks to craft legislation that will attract enough votes to pass the Senate. By offering incentives for nuclear power, offshore drilling and clean coal, they hope to win over detractors. The senators said a target to cut U.S. greenhouse emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, with the help of a cap-and-trade system, was "achievable and reasonable" and in keeping with the proposal Obama is expected to put forward in Copenhagen. A climate bill passed narrowly in the House of Representatives in June.

Punitive contracts could harm U.S.-Northrop

December 11, 2009 ~ Boeing Co. Northrop Grumman Corporation
By Andrea Shalal-Esa
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Industry, Congress and the Pentagon must jointly tackle cost overruns and schedule delays in weapons procurement because simply imposing punitive contract terms is not the right answer, Northrop Grumman Corp (NYSE:NOC - News) Chief Executive Ron Sugar told Reuters on Friday.
Sugar said he was particularly concerned about the Pentagon's move to use fixed-price type contracts for development of new weapons, saying such contracts were better once a weapon was finalized and in production.
"The inappropriate contract type at the wrong point in the contract can create a lose-lose situation," Sugar said in a telephone interview ahead of the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington next week.
Northrop told the Pentagon earlier this month it would not bid against Boeing Co (NYSE:BA - News) to build new refueling aircraft, barring significant changes in draft terms for the competition, which also called for a fixed-price development contract.
The defense industry, military planners and Congressional lawmakers eager to protect local jobs share some of the blame for existing problems in Pentagon procurement, he said. But cost overruns and schedule delays result from a complex set of factors.
Some of Northrop's best contracts had fixed-price terms, but they were for weapons already in production, Sugar said.
For example, the Navy successfully used fixed-price contracts to buy F/A-18 fighters built by Boeing Co (NYSE:BA - News). Northrop is a key subcontractor on that program.
But applying strict, fixed-price terms to development programs was not a good idea because of unanticipated issues that can arise while new technologies are being tested, he said.
In at least two cases -- the A12 combat aircraft and the Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missile (TSSAM) -- the programs were ultimately abandoned, Sugar said. The C-17 transport plane built by Boeing also saw major cost increases, despite the fixed price terms of its development contract.
Sugar, who retires at the end of the year, said the industry was experiencing more "headwinds" than in recent years and the significant growth of recent years was probably over.
"We're now looking at a time when resources for the (Pentagon's weapons) investment accounts are going to be challenged," Sugar said, although he stopped short of predicting declines in defense spending.
Still, he said the big challenge for the Defense Department in coming years would be to adequately fund the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while continuing to invest in new technologies and future weapons.
At the same time, weapons makers would have to focus on delivering weapons on time and on budget, while providing adequate returns on investment for shareholders.
He cautioned against subjecting contractors to highly punitive procurement measures as a reaction to cost overruns on some programs. Such a short term pendulum swing could have negative consequences for the overall economy and employment in the sector, he said.
Moreover, shareholders would not allow companies to accept undue amounts of risk.
"People in industry have to be able to demonstrate an acceptable return on investments," he added.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; editing by Andre Grenon)
(For summit blog:

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Powered X-51A Hypersonic Vehicle Completes First Captive Carry Flight

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Air Force X-51A WaveRider vehicle yesterday successfully made its first captive carry flight under the wing of a B-52 carry aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The X-51A is powered by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company. The X-51A is expected to demonstrate hypersonic flight up to six times the speed of sound in test flights beginning early next year. The X-51A program is a collaborative effort of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), The Boeing Company and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.
A captive carry flight, in which a test vehicle is attached to and carried by another aircraft, is a common approach for testing a new type of aircraft before it flies on its own.
"The successful captive carry flight keeps the X-51A team on track for a major breakthrough in propulsion technology and the realization of scramjet powered flight," said George Thum, X-51A program manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.
"This was a great day for the program," said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager, Air Force Research Laboratory. "The early look is we successfully captured all of our test points without any anomalies. I'm really proud of the AFRL, Air Force Flight Test Center and the Boeing/Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne teams' efforts to move us toward the big event."
During test flight, the B-52 took off heading north, climbed to 50,000 feet and performed gentle maneuvering.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc., a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines.
Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and commercial building industries.

Photo Release -- Northrop Grumman Celebrates Grand Opening of New Center for Advanced Technology Research and Development

LINTHICUM, Md., Dec. 11, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Officials of Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC - News) Electronic Systems sector today celebrated the grand opening of the new Northrop Grumman Innovation Institute in Linthicum, which will serve as the focal point for the sector's advanced technology development activities.
Photos accompanying this release are available at:
The five-story, 156,000 square foot leased office building is located on West Nursery Road in the West*Quest Technology Park where Northrop Grumman already maintains the headquarters for its Electronic Systems sector. The new facility is home to more than 450 current engineers, scientists and support personnel who had previously been housed in several nearby leased and company-owned buildings.
Highlighting the ribbon cutting event were remarks from James F. Pitts, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector, and Charles J. Brinkman, sector vice president and general manager of the company's Advanced Concepts & Technologies Division.
"From the ground up, this new facility -- with its modular office concepts, and innovative program strategy and planning areas -- was designed to help foster a collaborative employee work environment conducive to the timely development of innovative global defense electronics technologies," said Pitts. "We're confident the end result of the corporation's investment in this new facility will be the generation of a myriad of exciting new technologies and solutions for our defense and commercial customers."
From design and development through proof-of-concept and production readiness, engineers and scientists at the company create the groundbreaking electronic technologies that will eventually transition into full-scale production programs within other divisions of the Electronic Systems sector.
"Our focus is on capturing and managing research and development technology programs addressing needs for advanced military operational and national security capabilities," said Brinkman. "That's why we're delighted to now have together under one roof the largest segment of our research and development organization, which should result in greatly improved operational efficiency and effectiveness."
The new office facility features several uniquely-configured collaboration areas where small to medium-size teams of employees can work together on various advanced technology development projects, a 175-seat conference center, an employee fitness center, and an Internet Cafe, where employees can gather together in an informal setting to discuss particular projects and activities.
Designed to be energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly, the building has received the nationally-recognized Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED(TM)) certification. The new facility, which is situated on a 9.5 acre parcel on West Nursery Road, is owned by Columbia, Md.-based Corporate Office Properties Trust. Construction was managed by Manekin Construction LLC also of Columbia.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.
Jack Martin, Jr.

Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
(410) 765-4441

Pro-Dex, Inc. Announces Results of Annual Shareholder Meeting, an Update Regarding Major Customer's Product Development Plans

Pro-Dex, Inc. Announces Results of Annual Shareholder Meeting, an Update Regarding Major Customer's Product Development Plans, and Receipt of $1.5 Million and $3.0 Million Purchase Orders, Inc. Announces Results of Annual Shareholder Meeting, an Update Regarding Major Customer's Product Development Plans, and Receipt of $1.5 Million and $3.0 Million Purchase Orders

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- PRO-DEX, INC. (Nasdaq: PDEX - News; the "Company") today announced the results of its 2009 Annual Shareholders Meeting held on December 4, 2009. At the Meeting, the Company's shareholders (i) elected George Isaac, Michael Berthelot, William Healey, David Holder and Mark Murphy as directors; (ii) approved the authority for the Board of Directors to effect a reverse stock split if it should elect to do so at any time between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010; and (iii) ratified the appointment of Moss Adams, LLP as the Company's independent auditors for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010.
The Company also announced today that one of its largest customers (the "Customer") is in the process of developing, and plans to eventually manufacture its own surgical hand pieces which are functionally comparable to the two products currently provided by the Company. Aggregate sales of these two products to this Customer during the 12-month period ending November 30, 2009 were $7.5 million, representing 35% of the Company's revenues during the same period. Pro-Dex has been the exclusive manufacturer of these products since they were developed. The Customer's 5-year commitment to exclusivity with the Company will conclude on January 6, 2010.
The Customer has not provided firm transition dates or volumes due to the inherent uncertainty in the design, testing, and qualification process. The Customer advised that it expects to maintain its current level of purchases at least through August of 2010 for one product (which represents 45% of its total purchases from the Company during the 12-month period ended November 30, 2009), and at least through December of 2010 for the second product (which represents 43% of its total purchases from the Company during the 12-month period ended November 30, 2009).
On December 4, 2009, the Customer placed a $1.5 million purchase order with the Company for delivery of the second product at historical monthly quantities through September, 2010. The Customer also stated that it expects to continue to buy some volume of these products from the Company beyond those dates as its initial success is not assured, certain markets may not adopt the Customer's design, and regulatory registration in certain markets is a lengthy process. Further, the Customer indicated that it will continue to rely on the Company for the repair of Company manufactured units in the field. Such repairs represented 12% (approximately $914,000) of its total purchases for the 12-month period ended November 30, 2009.
The design and production of these products is quite technologically challenging, as such devices are exposed to extremely harsh surgical and sterilization conditions. A different large customer of the Company pursued a similar course of action several years ago and ultimately canceled its in-sourcing project, continuing its purchases from Pro-Dex. The Customer currently pursuing this course has indicated a high commitment to proceeding cautiously. Accordingly, the actual occurrence of, and certainly the specific timing of any transition is very difficult to estimate.
The Company intends to find additional business and reduce its operating costs as necessary to minimize the impact of a potential revenue reduction. In the event that the Customer's future purchases are reduced beyond the additional business won and the cost savings realized, the Company is likely to experience a material and adverse impact on its business.
The Company has no commitment from the Customer that it will update the Company with the status of its product development efforts and the Customer has no obligation to do so. Accordingly, the Company is unable to know or predict the status of the Customer's initiative on an ongoing basis. The name of the Customer is protected by a confidentiality agreement.
Lastly, the Company reported that, on December 10, 2009, it received a $3.0 million purchase order from a different existing customer for a single product that the Company released last quarter. The order is for product to be delivered between May of 2010 (when existing open orders are fulfilled) and September of 2011. The previously-mentioned $1.5 million order and this purchase order together increase the Company's backlog to $12.7 million as of December 10, 2009.
Pro-Dex, Inc., with operations in Irvine, California, Beaverton, Oregon and Carson City, Nevada, specializes in bringing speed to market in the development and manufacture of technology-based solutions that incorporate miniature rotary drive systems, embedded motion control and fractional horsepower DC motors, serving the medical, dental, semi-conductor, scientific research and aerospace markets. Pro-Dex's products are found in hospitals, dental offices, medical engineering labs, commercial and military aircraft, scientific research facilities and high tech manufacturing operations around the world.
For more information, visit the Company's website at
Statements herein concerning the Company's plans, growth and strategies may include 'forward-looking statements' within the context of the federal securities laws. Statements regarding the Company's future events, developments and future performance, as well as management's expectations, beliefs, plans, estimates or projections relating to the future, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of these laws. The Company's actual results may differ materially from those suggested as a result of various factors. Interested parties should refer to the disclosure concerning the operational and business concerns of the Company set forth in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange

Defense Information Technology Contracting Office Awards TeleCommunication Systems $6 Million Managed Bandwidth Contract

TCS Supports U.S. Army Central Command Requirements in Afghanistan
ANNAPOLIS, MD--(Marketwire - 12/11/09) - TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. (TCS) (NASDAQ:TSYS - News), a leading provider of mission-critical wireless communications, today announced that it has received a three-year, $5.9 Million contract incrementally funded at $2 million from the Defense Information Technology Contracting Office (DITCO) to provide the U.S. Army Central Command (CENTCOM) with space segment for its Afghanistan operations. This is a three-year contract if all options are exercised. CENTCOM is funding this procurement through GSA's SATCOM II contract vehicle.

"TCS is pre-positioned to make this managed bandwidth available to CENTCOM in support of its military objectives," said Jay Icard, vice president of TCS' government solutions group. "We look forward to fulfilling CENTCOM's future managed bandwidth needs as well as the broader SATCOM needs of the other U.S. military branches."
Through TCS' Government Solutions Group, the company offers end-to-end managed services for converged (IP-based) voice, video and data solutions to organizations that require seamless, secure connectivity between fixed sites and remote operations. TCS Managed Satellite Services solutions include private, shared and outsourced network management through its global network, owned and operated satellite teleport infrastructure, 24 x 7 SwiftLink(R) Operation Center and global field service force. TCS is also a leading provider of fixed and deployable remote satellite communications terminals. TCS' SwiftLink(R) VSAT systems provide multimedia communications capabilities which convey encrypted voice, video and data. TCS SwiftLink products are highly transportable and ruggedized, with a graphical user interface that facilitates easy set-up and operation. The modularity and "plug and play" interfaces among all SwiftLink RF and Baseband configurations enable easy specification of communication solutions tailored to the end-user's specific needs.
TCS has established a proven track record over the past decade of providing cost effective, highly reliable end-to-end managed network solutions to the Department of Defense, Special Operations and intelligence communities, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State.
For more information on TCS Managed Satellite Services solutions visit:
About TeleCommunication Systems, Inc.TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. (TCS) (NASDAQ:TSYS - News) engineers and delivers highly reliable wireless communications technology. TCS is a leader in wireless text messaging and location-based technology, including E9-1-1 services and commercial applications like navigation that use the precise location of a wireless device, and secure satellite-based communications systems and services. Customers include leading wireless and VoIP carriers around the world, cable MSOs, automotive telematics vendors, and agencies of the U.S. Departments of Defense, State, and Homeland Security. TCS is one of six primary vendors on a $5 billion Army Worldwide Satellite Systems Contract vehicle. For more information, visit
Except for the historical information contained herein, this news release contains forward-looking statements as defined within Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties and are based upon TCS' current expectations and assumptions that if incorrect would cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. Risks include without limitation the possibility that the contract will not be fully funded, and those detailed from time to time in the Company's SEC reports, including the report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008, and Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2009.
Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise the information in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances, or otherwise.
Company Contact:
TeleCommunication Systems, Inc.
Meredith Allen
Media Contact:
Welz & Weisel
Evan Weisel
Investor Relations:
Communications Liolios Group, Inc.
Scott Liolios

HEICO Corporation Announces Regular Quarterly Conference Call

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. and MIAMI, Dec. 11, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On December 17, 2009, after the NYSE closing, HEICO Corporation (NYSE:HEI-A - News) (NYSE:HEI - News) will release its financial results for the fourth quarter ended October 31, 2009. The earnings release will be available through the Internet on the Company's web site at In order to assist interested parties in scheduling their participation in HEICO teleconferences, the Company issues advance notices of conference calls.
HEICO will hold a conference call on Friday, December 18, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time to discuss its fourth quarter results. Individuals wishing to participate in the conference call should dial: U.S. (888) 299-4099, Canada (800) 796-9248, and International (302) 709-8352, wait for the conference operator and provide the operator with the "Verbal" Passcode/Conference ID VM62337 (or "8662337"). A digital replay will be available two hours after the completion of the conference for 14 days. To access, dial: (402) 220-2946, and enter the Playback Passcode/Conference ID 62337#.
The Company has two classes of common stock traded on the NYSE. Both classes, the Class A Common Stock (HEI.A) and the Common Stock (HEI), are virtually identical in all economic respects. The only difference between the share classes is the voting rights. The Class A Common Stock (HEI.A) receives 1/10 vote per share and the Common Stock (HEI) receives one vote per share. The stock symbols for HEICO's two classes of common stock on most web sites are HEI.A and HEI. However, some web sites change HEICO's Class A Common Stock stock symbol (HEI.A) to HEI/A or HEIa.
HEICO Corporation is engaged primarily in certain niche segments of the aviation, defense, space and electronics industries through its Hollywood, FL-based HEICO Aerospace Holdings Corp. subsidiary and its Miami, FL-based HEICO Electronic Technologies Corp. subsidiary. HEICO's customers include a majority of the world's airlines and airmotives as well as numerous defense and space contractors and military agencies worldwide in addition to medical, telecommunication and electronic equipment manufacturers. For more information about HEICO, please visit our web site at
HEICO Corporation

Thomas S. Irwin
(954) 987-4000 ext. 7560
Victor H. Mendelso
(305) 374-1745 ext. 7590

Crane Co. Announces Date for Fourth Quarter 2009 Earnings Release and Teleconference

Crane Co. ~ December 11, 2009
STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Crane Co. (NYSE: CR - News) announces the following schedule and teleconference information for its fourth quarter 2009 earnings release:
*Earnings Release: January 25, 2010 after close of market by public distribution and the Crane Co. website at
*Teleconference: January 26, 2010 at 10:00 AM (Eastern) hosted by Eric C. Fast, President & CEO, Timothy J. MacCarrick, Vice President & CFO, and Richard E. Koch, Director of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. The webcast will be in a listen-only mode via the Company’s website
*Web Replay: Will be available on the Company’s website shortly after completion of the live call.
Crane Co. is a diversified manufacturer of highly engineered industrial products. Founded in 1855, Crane provides products and solutions to customers in the aerospace, electronics, hydrocarbon processing, petrochemical, chemical, power generation, automated merchandising, transportation and other markets. The Company has five business segments: Aerospace & Electronics, Fluid Handling, Engineered Materials, Merchandising Systems and Controls. Crane has approximately 11,000 employees in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Crane Co. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:CR - News). For more information, visit
Crane Co.

Richard E. Koch
Director, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Market Blazes Ahead Due to Ongoing War Operations, Finds Frost & Sullivan

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Defense companies that wish to claim a stake in the intensely competitive unmanned aircraft system (UAS) market will find the task challenging. Mature technologies, coupled with increasing consolidation, are making the UAS market a difficult space to enter. These challenges are not likely to hold back the market, especially with the Department of Defense's (DoD's) demand for UAS at an all-time high due to the ongoing war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although the troop withdrawal in Iraq and lower defense budgets could have a long-term negative impact on the UAS market space, the market is expected to increase between 2009 and 2013.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (, U.S. Unmanned Aircraft Systems Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $3.16 billion in 2008 and estimates this to reach $3.81 billion in 2013.
If you are interested in more information on this research, then send an e-mail to Sarah Saatzer, Corporate Communications, at, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company e-mail address, company website, city, state and country.
"By focusing on UAS subsystems, the U.S. defense industry will still be able to take advantage of a market space that is rapidly changing both technologically and competitively," says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Lindsay Voss. "Six years after the onset of rapid UAS procurement, the U.S. DoD is still demanding more persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets in the air. This ensures growth in the UAS space while many other areas of aerospace and defense are contracting."
Apart from the benefits of lower costs of purchase and operation, unmanned aircraft eliminate the need for an onboard crew, making it easier for the military to tackle more advanced missions. Warfighters are demanding more full-motion video and since unmanned aircraft are the foundation for this vital resource, they are emerging as critical assets in the battlefield.
"From nano and small systems weighing less than 2 pounds to the 10,000 pound Global Hawk, UAS is changing the dynamics of the military aviation market space," notes Voss. "Companies that have traditionally provided manned assets to their military customers can no longer ignore the trend, and many are embracing unmanned aviation."
The overwhelming demand for constant ISR from warfighters has kicked the UAS market into overdrive, stimulating dramatic growth for key UAS companies.
New participants are not likely to find the going as easy as the entrenched competitors. Companies that could provide an 80 percent UAS solution ten years ago dominate the market today across all key platform categories. Market domination by well-established companies has already driven some participants out of the market and forced others to diversify their product and/or service offerings.
"Diversification is proving to be an important strategy as new market participants seek to be profitable in the UAS space," observes Voss. "Companies that are able to offer value to their military customers through current product offerings while expanding into key UAS market sub-segments are improving their competitive positions."
The emergence of vital growth sub-segments such as UAS services and subsystems are creating numerous opportunities for participants, especially with UAS continuing to proliferate in the battle space. Companies will have to make the most of the opportunities in these diversified areas if they wish to solidify their positions in the market.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Market is part of the Defense Growth Partnership Services program, which also includes research in the following markets: U.S. DoD 2010 budget, U.S. military software defined radio markets, U.S. C4ISR services market, Middle East land ISR radar market assessment, European air ISR sensors, and maritime security assessment - EU. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best in class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined research and best practice models to drive the generation, evaluation, and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from 40 offices on six continents. To join our Growth Partnership, please visit
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Market
Sarah Saatzer
Corporate Communications - North America
P: 210. 477.8427

Embraer signs $2.2 bln loan deal with Chinese bank

SAO PAULO, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Brazil's Embraer (EMBR3.SA) (ERJ.N), the world's third largest aircraft maker, has signed an agreement with CDB Leasing Co worth $2.2 billion over three years to help finance the sale of regional jets in Asia.
CDB Leasing, a unit of state-owned China Development Bank (CDB), will provide funding to airlines in China and Asia and may also buy jets directly from Embraer, the Brazilian company said on Thursday.
"The deal is designed to enhance financing opportunities for acquiring Embraer aircraft in the People's Republic of China and abroad, focusing on developing regional aviation in China," Embraer said in a statement.
CDB Leasing has helped fund the purchase of more than 40 aircraft, Embraer said. (Reporting by Elzio Barreto; Editing by Dan Lalor)

Delayed European troop plane in maiden flight

By Tim Hepher and Sabine Siebold
SEVILLE, Spain (Reuters) Friday December 11, 2009 - Europe's new military transport plane, the Airbus A400M, made its first test flight on Friday as buyers resumed talks on how to keep the delayed 20 billion euro ($29.5 billion) project airborne.
The A400M was commissioned by seven European NATO countries to support combat operations in rugged zones like Afghanistan or to assist in humanitarian relief operations.
But an estimated 5 billion euro cost overrun has placed Europe's biggest defense project in doubt, forcing Airbus to hold negotiations with buyers over who should pick up the tab for delays.
The flight was two years behind schedule but delays will be extended to 3-4 years to allow time for production to stabilize, with first deliveries not seen before late 2012.
Airbus has sold 180 aircraft to Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Turkey. An extra four are earmarked for Malaysia, but South Africa has canceled an order.
A proposed compromise backed by several buyers could translate at least part of the cost overshoot into a higher price per plane by allowing Airbus to deliver fewer planes, officials said.
The remaining 40 planes would need new funds but not for another decade or so, skirting round the financial crisis.
Airbus Military Chief Executive Domingo Urena said EADS was ready to pay remaining development costs if buyers absorbed the excess production costs by adjusting price escalation clauses.
He confirmed in a joint French and German newspaper interview that buyers faced a choice of taking the same number of planes at higher cost or fewer planes for the same cost, adding only Turkey had hiked its total spending
The discussion confirms the emergence of a possible price compromise detailed by Reuters last month.
But the largest buyer Germany opposes the plan and wants EADS to absorb "most of the pain itself" because it wants guarantees on getting all its planes and believes a price hike would reward failure, according to a person close to the talks.
Analysts have said a successful first flight would boost the chances that politicians will strike a deal on the A400M.
EADS has provisioned 2.4 billion euros for losses so far and a spokesman said it had nothing to add pending the talks.
Urena said Airbus would need to export another 180 planes on top of the core European contract to make money on the A400M, nicknamed "grizzly" for its sturdy design.
Airbus sees a market for 300-500 such aircraft.
The A400M had marked a European bid to get away from chronic cost overruns in defense by locking Airbus into a fixed deal. EADS now says this is the wrong way to go about complex military deals where national priorities can play an unpredictable part.
It blames the delays on engine problems but has admitted under-estimating the complexity of building the transporter at a time when it was preoccupied with the A380 superjumbo, the world's largest airliner which was also late and over-budget.
For a related graphic, please go to (Editing by David Cowell)

Universal Detection Technology Files White Paper for Bioterrorism Detection Research Funding From the Department of Homeland Security

UNDT Plans to Adapt Technology Licensed From NASA's JPL for Non-Immunological Method of Identifying Bacterial Biothreat Agents

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - 12/11/09) - Universal Detection Technology ( (OTC.BB:UNDT - News), a developer of early-warning monitoring technologies to protect people from bioterrorism and other infectious health threats and provider of counter-terrorism consulting and training services, reported today that it has responded to the Department of Homeland Security's request for a research proposal aimed at detecting and containing harmful bioagents, such as anthrax used as bioterrorism weapons.

The Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) from the Department of Homeland Security is seeking research and development proposals in multiple Technical Focus Areas (TFAs) of bacterial biothreat antigen detection and identification. Universal Detection Technlogy will seek funding to adapt technology licensed from NASA's JPL for Non-immunological Method of Identifying Bacterial Biothreat Agents.
The threat of terrorist or criminal use of pathogenic organisms and their toxins remains of great concern in the United States. In order to address capability gaps in this area and support the Surveillance and Detection Pillar of the National Biomonitoring Architecture (NBMA), the development of rapid and specific detection methods are needed to provide reliable analysis on a variety of bacterial biothreat agents. As part of the effort to deter biological terrorism and strengthen the capabilities of the biodefense and public health laboratory response, it is important to explore both classic and alternative methods and approaches to address the critical need to rapidly detect bacterial biothreat agent antigens and toxins of interest.
Specifically, for the purposes of recovering, extracting, and preserving the antigenic signature of the agents from their associated samples; and detecting and identifying the presence of bacterial biothreat agents present in these samples using non-immunological methods of detection to analyze samples for bacterial biothreat agent antigenic material.
The Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-296) states that DHS S&T will "support basic and applied homeland security research to promote revolutionary changes in technologies; advance the development, testing and evaluation, and deployment of critical homeland security technologies; and accelerate the prototyping and deployment of technologies that would address homeland security vulnerabilities." Pursuant to this mission, the Chemical Biological Division (CBD) seeks technologies to prevent, detect, and defend against a biological attack. The focus of this BAA is in the area of bacterial biothreat agent detection, surveillance and identification research.
The BAA calls for proposals on research aimed at recovering, extracting, and preserving the antigenic signature of the bioagents from their associated samples; and detecting and identifying the presence of bacterial biothreat agents present in these samples using non-immunological methods of detection to analyze samples for bacterial biothreat agent antigenic material.
UNDT's technology uses a molecule unique to bacterial spores, Dipicolinic acid (DPA) which is combined with terbium ions. Exciting the combined terbium ion and DPA generates a luminescence characteristic. This is achieved by radiating the complex with ultraviolet light. This method will allow for the detection of bacterial spores using a non-immunological method.
The Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism, headed up by former senators Bob Graham and Jim Talent ominously warned that, "A recent study from the intelligence community projected that a one-to-two kilogram release of anthrax spores from a crop duster plane could kill more Americans than died in World War II (over 400,000)." As a follow-up to this sobering news, they reported: "Clean-up and other economic costs could exceed $1.8 trillion."
"The report by former senators Graham and Talent demonstrates the alarming prospect of a biological weapon attack to the nation," said Jacques Tizabi, UNDT's CEO. "We plan to work with the DHS and other government agencies in providing the best products and technologies to combat this threat," he added.
For more information, please visit or email
About Universal Detection Technology
Universal Detection Technology is a developer of monitoring technologies, including bioterrorism detection devices. The Company on its own and with development partners is positioned to capitalize on opportunities related to Homeland Security. For example, the Company, in cooperation with NASA, has developed a bacterial spore detector that detects certain biohazard substances. The Company is also a reseller of handheld assays used for detection of five bioterrorism agents, radiation detection systems, and antimicrobial products. For more information, please visit
Forward-Looking Statements
Except for historical information contained herein, the statements in this news release are forward-looking statements that involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which may cause the Company's actual results, performance and achievement in the future to differ materially from forecasted results, performance, and achievement. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly release the result of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes in the Company's plans or expectations.

Media Contact(s):

Stefan Pollack/Jonathan Younger
The Pollack PR Marketing Group
Email Contact
Email Contact
Company Contact:
Jacques Tizabi
Email Contact

Airbus A400M starts long-awaited maiden flight

SEVILLE, Spain, Dec 11 (Reuters) - A new European military transport plane, the Airbus A400M, took to the skies on Friday in a boost to a 20 billion euro ($29.5 billion) project threatened by soaring costs after a two-year development delay.
British test pilot Ed Strongman and crew donned parachutes over red overalls to power up the propellor plane -- dubbed "grizzly" by test engineers after its burly appearance.
The A400M was commissioned by seven European NATO countries to support combat operations in rugged zones like Afghanistan or to assist in humanitarian relief operations.
The plane carries aloft its designers' hopes that the three-hour maiden flight will help to save Europe's biggest defence project from being grounded.
But an estimated 5 billion euro cost overrun has placed the plane's future in doubt, forcing Airbus to hold negotiations with buyers on the sidelines of the inaugural flight. (Reporting by Tim Hepher, Sabine Siebold; Editing by Tracy Rucinski)

Boeing says Dreamliner could fly on Dec 15

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Boeing Co (NYSE:BA - News) said on Thursday December 10, 2009 it has opened the flight-test window for its 787 Dreamliner starting December 15, allaying concerns that the hotly anticipated aircraft -- already two years behind schedule -- will miss its latest target of taking to the skies before year end. A test-flight date marks a huge step in the development of the revolutionary airplane, whose promise of increased fuel efficiency and comfort has attracted a record number of orders for a plane still in development.
"Following the successful completion of static testing to validate the side-of-body modification, we have been working through a number of key preflight tests, " Boeing said in a letter late on Thursday. "With high-speed taxi testing scheduled in the coming days, we're on track for first flight soon thereafter."
The company said the date depends on "final internal reviews, taxi test, and receiving the final experimental ticket from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration."
In the last two years, Boeing has announced five embarrassing test-flight delays that resulted in delays to the delivery schedule as well.
The program suffered problems with suppliers, a 2008 labor strike and structural issues. In June, Boeing announced a test flight delay after it discovered a design flaw that required a side-of-body repair.
The flight from Paine Field to Boeing Field -- both in the Seattle area -- will take about three hours. The company has not disclosed who will be on hand to witness the event.
The Dreamliner concept is based on the use of composite materials, which make up 50 percent of the primary structure. The materials are much lighter than aluminum, which makes the skin of traditional commercial airplanes.
The lighter structure allows the plane to consume 20 percent less fuel than comparable aircraft. Fuel efficiency has great appeal to airlines, which have been battered in recent years by the volatile expense.
Additionally, composite materials do not fatigue and therefore require fewer maintenance checks, Boeing says. The company claims that a 787 costs 30 percent less to maintain than competing aircraft.
There are three versions of the plane with varying capacities and ranges in the Dreamliner family: the 787-8, 787-9, and the 787-3. The planes, which have been in development since the first part of the decade, have list prices between $105 million and $205.5 million.