Thursday, March 4, 2010

General Dynamics Announces Senior Leadership Changes

Defense News ~ FALLS CHURCH, Va., March 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- General Dynamics (NYSE:GD - News) announced today that Charles M. Hall, executive vice president and group executive of the company's Combat Systems group, will retire on May 1. Hall has been executive vice president since 2005, before which he was president of the company's General Dynamics Land Systems subsidiary. He will be succeeded by David K. Heebner, executive vice president and group executive of the company's Marine Systems group. Phebe N. Novakovic, senior vice president – planning and development, will succeed Heebner as executive vice president and group executive of the company's Marine Systems group. No successor has been named for Novakovic. Heebner and Novakovic will continue to report to Jay L. Johnson, president and chief executive officer. The appointments are effective May 1, 2010.

In announcing the changes, Johnson said, "Charlie Hall has been a visionary leader of the Combat Systems group for the past five years, and a dynamic player in the combat-vehicle business for nearly four decades. He has been instrumental in continually pushing to deliver new technologies to the U.S. military, and in creating product offerings for customers of our U.S. and foreign combat-systems businesses alike. Charlie's professionalism and dedication have made a tremendous difference for General Dynamics. He will be missed."

The company also announced that John W. Schwartz, who has been a vice president and the company's controller since 1998, will retire on April 1. He will be succeeded by Jason W. Aiken, who has been staff vice president of accounting since July 2006. The General Dynamics board of directors, at its March 3 meeting, elected Aiken and Ernest J. Babcock, deputy general counsel, to be vice presidents of the corporation.

Johnson added, "John Schwartz, as the company's chief accounting officer for the past 12 years, has played a substantial role in the transformation of General Dynamics into the global market leader that it is today. His counsel and dedication have been noteworthy and are greatly appreciated."

Charles M. Hall has been executive vice president of General Dynamics' Combat Systems group since 2005. Previously he was president of General Dynamics Land Systems, beginning in Sept. 1999. He had been vice president – production and delivery, where he was responsible for the performance of all of the company's production facilities. Hall joined Chrysler Corp.'s defense business in 1973 and served in a variety of increasingly responsible production- and manufacturing-management positions before becoming a vice president. General Dynamics acquired the Chrysler unit in 1984.

David K. Heebner became executive vice president and group executive for Marine Systems in Oct. 2008. He was president of General Dynamics Land Systems from July 2005 until 2008. Previously he had been senior vice president – planning and development, since March 2002, and vice president – strategic planning since joining the company in January 2000. Prior to joining General Dynamics, Heebner served 33 years in the U.S. Army, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant General.

Phebe N. Novakovic has been senior vice president – planning and development since May 2005. She joined General Dynamics in May 2001 as director of strategic planning and development, was named staff vice president – strategic planning in May 2002, and was elected to be a vice president of the corporation in Oct. 2002. Previously Novakovic was special assistant to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense, and had been a deputy associate director of the Office of Management and Budget.

John W. Schwartz became vice president and controller of General Dynamics in March 1998. He had been staff vice president and controller since November 1994. Schwartz joined the company in July 1992, as director of accounting. Prior to joining General Dynamics, Schwartz had served in various financial management positions with Ernst & Young, Crown Central Petroleum Corp., and MNC Financial Inc.

Jason W. Aiken, a CPA in the Commonwealth of Virginia, joined General Dynamics in June 2002 as a director of consolidation accounting. Prior to joining General Dynamics, Aiken was an audit manager with Arthur Andersen LLP in Washington, D.C., where he provided audit and consulting services for a variety of defense contractors, including General Dynamics.

Ernest J. Babcock has been deputy general counsel for General Dynamics since December 2009. Previously he was vice president and general counsel at General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, Mich., from July 2002. He joined General Dynamics in 2000 as vice president and general counsel of the company's Bath Iron Works subsidiary in Bath, Maine, following 27 years of private practice in which he represented clients on litigation, civil and commercial matters.

General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., employs approximately 92,000 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 the company is available online at

UPDATE 2-Spain in bid to move Airbus jobs from UK -sources

* Spain eyes A400M jobs if UK falters on Airbus project

* Written proposal would see key equipment moved from UK

* Move highlights tension over jobs ahead of UK election

* Partners to finalise A400M bailout after heavy losses (Adds analyst quote, background, paragraphs 17-21)

By Tim Hepher

Defense News ~ PARIS, March 4 (Reuters) - Spain and Britain are heading for a clash over the location of hundreds of aviation jobs as European governments complete a bailout for the delayed Airbus A400M military plane, people familiar with the matter said.

Spain is putting increasing pressure on the UK to surrender high-skilled production jobs if it fails to contribute its full share of a 3.5-billion-euro ($4.8 billion) aid package assembled by seven nations to rescue Europe's largest defence project.

In a written proposal, Spain has suggested relocating jobs, tools and machinery from Filton, near Bristol, to Spain if the UK weakens its commitment to the troop plane, the sources said.

Technical problems have pushed the heavy airlifter billions of euros over budget and delayed delivery by about four years.

The proposal was put forward as Britain wavered in recent weeks over its share of a top-up package of loans to Airbus parent EADS (EAD.PA), to be provided alongside international aid of 2 billion euros to combat cost overruns, the sources said.

Britain is expected to take part in a bailout which buyer nations agreed in principle last week, but it has yet to agree on what form the extra financial boost should take.

"The (Spanish) suggestion is as a result of the British not wanting to join in the same type of solution that other buyers have selected," a person familiar with the matter said.

The sources, who asked not to be identified, said Spain had aired options including shifting work on the plane's advanced composite wings to Spain if Britain blocked part of the deal.

Under the most sensitive option, Madrid would agree to pay for the cost of transferring the massive jigs, or cradles used to hold the wings in place during production, out of Britain.

Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) declined comment. An EADS spokesman said he was unaware of the proposal and declined further comment, as did a Spanish industry ministry spokesman.

A spokeswoman for Britain's Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, which oversees the aerospace industry, said: "Negotiations on the A400M are ongoing. We continue to work with colleagues in the MoD on the way forward."

Officials in the project will meet in Berlin on Friday.

The wrangle over jobs comes as Britain prepares for elections expected on May 6, with employment high on the list of voter concerns. The A400M wings plant employs 800 of 5,000 workers at Filton, which celebrates its centenary this year.

"I am advised (Spain) have put in a bid saying 'give it to us and we'll pick up the cost'," said a UK political source who had been briefed on discussions and asked not to be identified.

Asked about the bid, a senior European diplomat involved in A400M talks said he had "heard something in that direction."

Britain says it wants the A400M but not at any price. It has ordered 25 out of 180 bought by seven nations. Other buyers are Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Turkey.

Defence expert Howard Wheeldon, senior strategist at BGC Partners, called the manoeuvre "unprecedented" but said Britain had left the door open to intruders by neglecting its industry.

"Even if there is backtracking, the damage has been done and it lessens the chances of another (defence) partnership of this kind in Europe," said Wheeldon, a past critic of the A400M.

UK Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, a former European Union trade chief, announced a package of support for high-tech manufacturing including aviation last year and has spoken up for "industrial activism" -- while warning against protectionism.

Sensitivities over competition from European workers caused a strike at a French-owned refinery in Lincolnshire a year ago.

The new tussle emerged as President Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled a drive to halt a decline in French industry. [ID:nLDE6231HF]


Aviation experts say moving equipment on a large scale from Filton to Spain would only likely happen if Britain pulled out of the A400M completely -- something widely seen as unlikely.

But the seemingly audacious job grab highlights Spain's long-term ambitions to expand its high-tech aerospace industry as a magnet for investment. It is likely to face competition from Germany for any future re-allocation of composites work.

The A400M is the first Airbus plane with wings largely made from carbon fibre and has the largest composite wings designed for a military plane. Such technology is expected to be crucial for the next generation of civil jets in the next decade.

Aerospace is a strategic sector for the Spanish government as it looks for ways to curb the highest unemployment in the EU. Among proposals for jobs creation presented to parliament on March 1 is a bid to strengthen the supply chain over 2010-2014.

Spain and Britain helped found Airbus four decades ago along with France and Germany. Airbus is now fully owned by EADS, which is controlled by French, German and Spanish interests.

Airbus parts are made across Europe and assembled in one location, which in the case of the A400M is Seville, Spain.

Partners routinely haggle over their share of the industrial jigsaw in future projects. But the so-called "workshare" has never previously been reallocated once a project is underway. (Additional reporting by Julien Toyer and Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter and Tim Dobbyn)

Lockheed Martin and AFSA Announce Speaker Series on Innovative Diplomacy

Defense News ~ LAUREL, Md., March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT - News) and the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) are launching a new lecture series focusing on key issues confronting today's Foreign Service Officers and the skills needed to manage the challenging environments in which they work. The series, titled "Promoting Excellence and Deepening Impact - Resources and Skills for Diplomacy and Development in the Age of Smart Power," will begin next month.

"Lockheed Martin has a proud history of supporting the men and women of the Foreign Service," said Mike Dignam, President of Lockheed Martin Readiness and Stability Operations. "We hope these programs advance the discussion on how to best assist them in carrying out their vital diplomatic and development missions."

The inaugural event will feature Ambassador John Negroponte, former Deputy Secretary of State and Director of National Intelligence. Moderating the discussion will be Ambassador Edward Gnehm Jr., Professor of Middle East Studies at George Washington University and a former Director General of the Foreign Service. This first program will be held at 11:00 am on April 7 at AFSA headquarters at 2101 E Street NW, Washington, DC.

"We're pleased to partner with AFSA for this important initiative," Ambassador Dell Dailey, the head of Lockheed Martin's PAE subsidiary stated. "We are looking forward to discussing the evolving role of the Foreign Service in a time of rapid global change."

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2009 sales of $45.2 billion.

For additional information, visit our website:

UPDATE 2-Pentagon sees no erosion on F-35 total buy


* Pentagon plan not "blindly optimistic"--chief arms buyer

* F-35 builders committed to doing better--Lockheed chief

* Senate sets separate hearing on F-35 woes (Updates with Pentagon view, Stevens news conference)

By Andrea Shalal-Esa

Defense News ~ WASHINGTON, March 4 (Reuters) - The Pentagon's chief arms buyer on Thursday said he was not seeing signs that the U.S. military services or international partners would cut their planned purchases of Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jets, but acknowledged that was a risk for such a big program.

Defense Undersecretary Ashton Carter said a restructuring plan would put the $300 billion radar-evading new fighter on a more realistic footing for the future, and underscored the Pentagon's continued commitment to the program.

But he said officials would continue to work closely with Lockheed and its industry partners, offering incentives for improved performance against specific milestones.

"We now have a realistic program plan going forward for the Joint Strike Fighter -- not a blindly optimistic one, but not a fatalistic one either," Carter told reporters during a meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, with industry chief executives and top officials from the eight countries developing the new plane.

The chief Pentagon arms buyer said the restructuring plan would stretch the development phase by 13 months -- not the 30 months initially recommended by an independent review panel. The plan also added new aircraft to accelerate testing and called for appointment of a three-star military officer to oversee the program, he said.

But he emphasized that the program remained the core of the Pentagon's future fighter fleet, and said no fundamental technological or manufacturing problems had surfaced.

He also said he did not expect cuts in the overall number of 2,443 jets to be bought by the U.S. military services or international partners, but said the risk of a "death spiral" in which lower orders push the cost of each airplane higher, ultimately trimming affordability, was clearly driving Pentagon efforts to fix the program now.

"I have not been hearing that here at this meeting," Carter said. "Most of the partners have a real need for the Joint Strike Fighter as we do, and delay is not in their interest. They'd like to see the program stay as close to schedule as possible. They obviously want affordable aircraft as well."

"It's an all for one and one for all kind of thing."

Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale on Wednesday said any further cost growth in the F-35 program would result in cuts to the number of fighters the Pentagon is able to buy.

"I think we are to the point in our budgetary situation where, if there is unanticipated cost growth, we will have to accommodate it by reducing the buy," Hale was quoted as saying by Defense Daily, a trade publication.

In Washington, lawmakers on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday underscored mounting concerns about the program, and scheduled a separate hearing next week to dig deeper into projected cost overruns and schedule delays.

The committee's chairman, Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said the hearing was needed, given recent revelations of troubles with the system design and demonstration phase, the Pentagon's decision to fire the F-35 program manager, news of delayed fielding of the fighters, and expected cost overruns.

"There's a lot of questions that need to be answered," Senator John McCain, the top Republican on the committee, said, noting that just a month ago Defense Secretary Robert Gates had told lawmakers he did not expect the delays in when the service would start using the new fighters in combat.

McCain, who requested next week's hearing, said he remained concerned about the ability of the F-35 test program to detect and anticipate problems, how effectively software risk will be managed going forward, and the reliability of flight testing and production schedules.

Lockheed Chief Executive Robert Stevens said the restructuring plan was very clear, and the industry team was committed to improving its performance on the program.

He said the contract offered Lockheed the opportunity to win back some of $614 million in withheld award fees, and to add back in some of the 122 production aircraft trimmed from the Pentagon's five-year budget plan if it performed well.

"If that performance is better than the baseline plan, then we'll be able to offer the jets less expensively and more jets will be procured and in that way will be a countervailing pressure against that ... 'death spiral' that we are all quite familiar with," he said.

Lockheed built the F-22 fighter, where unit costs soared as the government trimmed its planned purchases from 750 to 187.

Levin said a date for the committee's F-35 hearing should be finalized later this week.

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told senators the program would likely breach congressional cost thresholds, but said officials were already taking all the actions required under the mandatory "live or die" review that would trigger.

Donley told reporters this week no "showstoppers" had emerged during the review that could lead to cancellation, and the Pentagon had no alternatives to the fighter. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Gary Hill)

Media Advisory - MDA's Fourth Quarter and Year End 2009 results conference call alert

Defense News ~ RICHMOND, BC, March 4 /CNW/ - MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (TSX: MDA - News), a provider of essential information solutions, plans to release its Fourth Quarter and Year End 2009 financial results at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time (1:30 p.m. Pacific Time) on Thursday, March 18, 2010.

MDA will host an earnings conference call, featuring remarks by Daniel Friedmann, president and CEO and Anil Wirasekara, executive vice-president and CFO, followed by a Q&A session.

The call is scheduled to begin promptly at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time (2:30 p.m. Pacific Time).

To participate, please call the conference line approximately five minutes prior to the commencement of the call:

Toll free - In Canada or the United States: 1-888-231-8191
OR 647-427-7450

The conference call will also be Webcast live and then archived at:

Telephone replay will be available until March 25, 2010 at the following

Toll free - International: 1-800-642-1687
In Toronto: 416-849-0833
Pass Code: 50482277

About MDA

MDA provides advanced information solutions that capture and process vast amounts of data, produce essential information, and improve the decision making and operational performance of business and government organizations worldwide.

Focused on markets and customers with strong repeat business potential, MDA delivers a broad spectrum of information solutions, ranging from complex operational systems, to tailored information services, to electronic information products.

The Company's common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol TSX:MDA.

     Related Websites:

Forward-Looking Statement


This earnings release and the associated earnings conference call and webcast contains certain forward-looking statements and information, which reflect the current view of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. ("MDA") with respect to future events and financial performance. Forward-looking statements generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "may", "will", "expect", "intend", "anticipate", "plan", "foresee", "believe" or "continue" or the negatives of such terms or variations of them or similar terminology. Any such forward-looking statements are based on MDA's current expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions made in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends. Any such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties and MDA's actual results of operations could differ materially from historical results or current expectations. You are referred to the risk factors described in MDA's most recent annual Management's Discussion and Analysis, Annual Information Form and other documents on file with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities, available online or The forward-looking statements and information contained in this earnings release and the associated earnings conference call and webcast represent MDA's views only as of today's date. MDA disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, other than as required by law, rule or regulation. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

The Toronto Stock Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved the form or content of this release.

For further information

Wendy Keyzer, MDA External Relations, (604) 231-2743,

Orbital to Host Conference Call on March 5 to Discuss Acquisition of General Dynamics' Spacecraft Business

-- 11:00 a.m. Conference Call with Financial Analysts and Investors to be Webcast on Company’s Internet Site -

Defense News ~ DULLES, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB - News) today announced that it will conduct a conference call with financial analysts and investors tomorrow morning, March 5, 2010, at 11:00 a.m. to discuss the company’s agreement to acquire the spacecraft development and manufacturing business of General Dynamics Corporation’s (NYSE: GD - News) GD Advanced Information Systems subsidiary, which was announced earlier today. Tomorrow’s conference call will be hosted by:
  • Mr. David W. Thompson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • Mr. Garrett E. Pierce, Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer
  • Michael A. Hamel, Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Development

To listen to the conference call, participants should dial (888) 541-8767 and use the conference ID number 61000462. A replay of the conference call will be available approximately two hours after the call and will remain active until Friday, March 12, 2010. For access to the replay of the conference call, dial (800) 642-1687. International callers accessing the replay should dial (706) 634-7258 and use the same conference ID number.

For webcast registration and information, please visit Orbital’s web site at The company advises participants to register at least 20 minutes prior to the call to download and install any necessary audio software.

About Orbital

Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers. The company’s primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary exploration spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also provides satellite subsystems and space-related technical services to U.S. Government agencies and laboratories.

More information about Orbital can be found at

Lockheed Martin C-5M Super Galaxy Honored for World Record

Defense News ~ MARIETTA, Ga., March 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The C-5M Super Galaxy was honored yesterday by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) for setting one of the most memorable aviation records of 2009.

The NAA, as the official record keeper for U.S. aviation, tracks dozens of world and national record attempts each year and annually selects the most memorable.

The record for greatest payload was set on September 13, 2009after loading a C-5M Super Galaxy with pallets totaling 176,450 pounds. This weight exceeds the capability of any other Air Force airlifter, yet represents only 62% of the C-5M's maximum payload capability. The Dover Air Force Base, Del., aircrew departed on a mission that set a total of 41 world records. This was the first of those records, and it beat the previous record of 161,023 pounds set in 1993.

"We are very thankful for the support from the U.S. Air Force and Team Dover for making these records possible," said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin C-5 program vice president. "The world record-breaking capabilities of C-5M are ensuring the warfighters receive the support they need to accomplish their mission."

The C-5M's demonstrated improvements in performance and efficiency validate the tremendous value to the taxpayer in modernizing proven and viable aircraft. The C-5 can carry twice the cargo of other strategic airlift systems and is the only strategic airlifter with the capability to carry 100 percent of certified air-transportable cargo.

The C-5M is a modernized version of the A, B and C models of the C-5 and has redefined strategic airlift with its unique capabilities and increased reliability. It is also the most cost-effective upgrade for the taxpayer. The modernization program literally pays for itself through operational and maintenance savings.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT - News) is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2009 sales of $45.2 billion.

For additional information, visit our Web site:

Related Headlines

UPDATE 2-Boeing to offer Air Force new 767-based tanker

* Boeing to use 787 flight deck

* Says will save $10 billion in fuel costs

* Touts creation of U.S. jobs

* Boeing shares up 1.6 pct on NYSE (Adds Boeing statement, details of promotional video, other background)

By Andrea Shalal-Esa

Defense News ~ WASHINGTON, March 4 (Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N) said on Thursday it would offer the U.S. Air Force an updated 767-based refueling plane in a competition worth up to $50 billion.

Boeing unveiled the "NewGen tanker" with an animated video on its website, saying it would upgrade its older 767 commercial jet with several "state-of-the-art" systems, including a new digital flight deck from its 787 Dreamliner and a new fly-by-wire refueling boom.

Boeing's 767 tanker lost out in the last tanker competition to the larger Airbus A330 offered by Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) and its European partner EADS (EAD.PA), but the Pentagon canceled the deal after government auditors upheld a Boeing protest.

Northrop and its supporters in Congress say the Air Force's final terms for this competition favor Boeing's smaller 767. The company is still weighing whether to submit a bid.

Boeing said its 767 "NewGen" tanker would meet the Air Force's 372 mandatory requirements and offered a low-risk manufacturing option, given existing Boeing plants in Kansas and Washington state, and longstanding relationships with suppliers around the country.

It said the aircraft would create "substantially more" U.S. jobs than Northrop's A330-based tanker, and would be more cost-effective to own and operate, since it burned 24 percent less fuel. That would save the military about $10 billion in fuel costs over 40 years, Boeing said in a news release.

Boeing said the tanker's upgraded flight deck would feature electronic displays on screens that were 75 percent larger than on a commercial Airbus A330 and would use a new-generation fly-by-wire boom with an increased fuel offload rate.

The tanker would also offer its air crew unrestricted access to the full flight envelope for threat avoidance, rather than allowing computer software to limit combat maneuverability.

Boeing's statement included remarks from its defense chief, Dennis Muilenburg, as well as his predecessor Jim Albaugh, who now runs the company's commercial operations, underscoring Boeing's unified approach to the competition.

Analysts said Boeing's commercial division was not fully committed to the last tanker bid, which resulted in higher pricing than the Pentagon had expected.

"The NewGen Tanker will draw on the experience and talents of an integrated U.S. tanker team, including the best of our Boeing defense and commercial businesses and our nationwide supplier network," said Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Virginia-based Lexington Institute, said the new 767-based tanker would be "considerably simpler" than the one it bid in the last competition, which had included parts of different 767 models and was downgraded as possibly risky by the Air Force.

He said Boeing's announcement would put pressure on Northrop and EADS to make a decision soon on whether to bid.

"Boeing is straining to prove that it is responsive and motivated," Thompson said.

Northrop said this week it was still evaluating the final terms for the competition, but was closer to a decision.

Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama where Northrop had planned to assemble its tankers, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that the Air Force's final rules for the competition still clearly appeared favor Boeing.

Sessions and the other Republican senator from Alabama are maintaining holds on several nominees for top Air Force and Pentagon jobs over the issue.

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Pentagon had worked hard to structure a fair competition, and said it would evaluate the costs and benefits of both a smaller and larger airplane.

"We believe this is a fair approach. It's balanced and it has favored no one," Donley said.

Shares of Boeing were up 1.6 percent to $65.50 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, following an upgrade to "neutral" from "sell" by UBS earlier in the day. Analyst David Strauss cited a strong near-term traffic outlook for the plane maker and an improved forecast for aircraft deliveries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa, additional reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Matthew Lewis)

EADS North America Delivers 100th UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter to the U.S. Army

Latest Milestone Marks Another Accomplishment for One of the Most Successful Acquisition Programs in U.S. Army Aviation History

Marketwire - EADS North America delivered its 100th UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter to the U.S. Army March 4, 2010, ...
EADS North America delivered its 100th UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter to the U.S. Army March 4, 2010,
Defense News ~ ARLINGTON, VA and COLUMBUS, MS--(Marketwire - 03/04/10) - EADS North America delivered its 100th UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter to the U.S. Army today, marking another on-time and on-budget achievement for a highly successful program that supports America's warfighters and contributes to the nation's homeland security.

"The UH-72A Lakota program has progressed on schedule and within budget constraints," said Col. L. Neil Thurgood, the U.S. Army's Project Manager of the Utility Helicopter office. "The aircraft has been well received by Army aircrews and we have maintained a remarkably high operational availability rate combined with an admirable safety record. We especially look forward to fielding even more of these capable aircraft to Army National Guard units throughout the United States," he added.

Delivery of the 100th Lakota occurred at American Eurocopter's production facility in Columbus, Miss. where the twin-engine helicopter is produced. The American Eurocopter facility was significantly expanded to accommodate production of the Lakota, which created and supports hundreds of high-value aerospace jobs throughout the United States.

"Delivering on our commitments to the U.S. Army has been the industry team's number one priority since being selected for the Lakota program in June 2006," said Sean O'Keefe, EADS North America's CEO. "Our performance of 100 percent on-time deliveries reflects an unwavering commitment to fully support our customers' current and future needs."

The 100th Lakota aircraft will be deployed to Germany with the U.S. Army's Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) -- becoming part of this unit's Combat Training Center and further expanding the Lakota's mission applications.

"When EADS North America and American Eurocopter decided to invest in Mississippi several years ago -- Mississippians made a commitment to help these companies succeed. When the Army chose EADS North America to supply the UH-72A Lakota, EADS made a commitment to help the warfighter succeed. Today the 100th Lakota helicopter is evidence of that commitment," said Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. "I'm extremely proud of the work they do to support America's men and women in uniform."

The U.S. Army plans to acquire 345 Lakotas through 2016, and the service has ordered 182 of the helicopters so far, along with five H-72A versions for the U.S. Navy. Aircraft already delivered to the Army are used in missions that include medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), search and rescue, drug interdiction, VIP transport and support -- with the in-service UH-72A fleet logging more than 25,000 flight hours to date at an operational readiness rate of more than 90 percent. The Navy's five H-72A versions are utilized by the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., for the training of test pilots from the U.S. military and allied countries.

"The UH-72A Lakota program is crucial to modernizing the U.S. Army's aviation assets, and the delivery of the 100th Lakota helicopter to the Army is a significant accomplishment for the Mississippians who build these capable aircraft in the Golden Triangle," commented Sen. Thad Cochran, the ranking member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. "This achievement proves that off-the-shelf commercial air frames can be successfully adapted for military applications at a lower cost to the taxpayer. It also reflects well on our state's industrial capabilities and our ability to support the Armed Forces."

The UH-72A is a Defense Acquisition Category (ACAT) I major defense acquisition program for the U.S. Defense Department, and the Lakota's service entry in 2007 marked one of the most rapid introductions of a new aircraft in the U.S. Army's history. Deliveries of the aircraft to National Guard units allow aging OH-58 and UH-1 rotary-wing aircraft to be retired, while UH-72As assigned to the active component of the U.S. Army free up UH-60 Black Hawks for assignment to warfighting missions.

"Time and again, Mississippi workers have answered the call and produced the tools our military needs to keep our country safe," commented Sen. Roger Wicker. "The Lakota has made a substantial contribution to this important effort. The Lakota program has been delivered on time and on budget. This is a testament to the men and women who build these helicopters, as well as to the Army and EADS North America."

The Lakotas' current basing across the continental United States and in Puerto Rico will be expanded during the coming months -- along with the missions they perform -- as Lakotas are deployed to Germany and the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific.

"It's a privilege to represent the workforce that has successfully built and delivered 100 Lakota helicopters to the U.S. Army on schedule and on budget," said Mississippi Rep. Travis Childers. "This program represents the hard work and dedication of hundreds of Mississippians, and I commend EADS for its commitment to our national security."

For their service in Germany at the Joint Multinational Training Command, the helicopters will be used to train pilots in combat engagements, and are to carry equipment that includes a Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), a SMart On-Board Data Interface Module (SMODIM), and an electronic data manager.

When deployed to the Pacific Ocean's Kwajalein Atoll, the UH-72As will perform transport and support duties. They are to be painted in a high-visibility orange color scheme and outfitted with skid-mounted floats, a life raft and jettisonable cockpit doors for rapid egress.

Production of the UH-72A averages three to four helicopters per month at the Columbus, Miss. production site, which is operated by EADS North America's American Eurocopter business unit. The 220,000 square foot facility, located adjacent to the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, is capable of producing up to five aircraft a month. The company continues to meet its goal of creating new job opportunities in the region, with total employment reaching 250 employees as the UH-72A program attains full rate production.

For additional information on the UH-72A Lakota, see the dedicated website at:

About EADS North America (
EADS North America is the North American operation of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services. As a leader in all sectors of defense and homeland security, EADS North America and its parent company, EADS, contribute over $11 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 200,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers and services. Operating in 17 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.

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Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
EADS North America
Tel: 571-296-5319
E-mail: Email Contact