As part of the US economic slowdown, many have observed the sharp drop in demand for heavy trucking, coupled with the steep dropoff in train and intermodal traffic. Now, a third major red flag has emerged in the sky, where the slowdown in sales and new orders for airplanes is now so acute that US plane giatn, Boeing, announced on Monday it would refrain from increasing jetliner prices for the coming year, the first time it has held prices steady since 2009. Continue reading »
Now that Yellen has taken us back to square one where the worse the news, the better for assets, the latest announcement by Boeing, which overnight announced it will eliminate about 4,000 jobs in its commercial airplanes division by the middle of this year and another roughly 550 jobs in a division that conducts flight and lab tests, should help push the iconic ExIm bank-supported company’s shares to new 2016 highs.
According to Reuters, the planemaker will reduce 1,600 positions in the commercial airplanes division through voluntary layoffs, while the rest of the cuts are expected to be completed by leaving open positions unfilled, spokesman Doug Alder said. Continue reading »
Ten days ago, Delta CEO Richard Anderson sent shockwaves through the aviation industry when he announced he had just purchased a used Boeing 777 for the paltry price of $7.7 million. Here is the punchline: Boeing’s list price for a new 777-200ER is $277.3 million, meaning Delta is buying a used 777 at a price 97.2% lower than the value of a new 777.
The Republic of China Army Aviation (RoCAA; Taiwan) has extreme difficulties keeping its 29 new AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters airborne. Part of the problem is a discovered material failure due to faulty production by Boeing.
– Peak Crony Capitalism: First Citi Writes US Financial Laws, Now Boeing Tells Ex-Im Bank What To Do (ZeroHedge, March 13, 2015):
Today’s most under the radar news, just as Citigroup was to Congress, and the swaps push out language, so Boeing, that primary recipients of the generosity of America’s Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, has been caught red-handed drafting the rules of none other than the Ex-Im bank itself! According to the WSJ: “when the Export-Import Bank sought to respond to critics with tighter rules for aircraft sales, it reached out to a company with a vested interest in the outcome: Boeing Co., the biggest beneficiary of the bank’s assistance.” Or nothing more than a criminal conflict of interest, which, once again, is at the expense of America’s infinite bailout piggybank: it’s taxpayers.
– Army’s New Laser Cannon Blasts Drones Out of the Sky, Even in Fog (Wired, Sep 5, 2014):
Boeing is building a laser cannon for the U.S. Army, and the new weapon has now proved it will be as capable at sea as on land. The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD)—basically a high-energy laser mounted on top of a big truck—was successfully used to blast some UAV drones and 60mm mortars out of the Florida sky earlier this year, Boeing announced Thursday. Continue reading »
– Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes in production found with ‘hairline cracks’ on wings says US firm (Independent, March 8, 2014):
Plane manufacturers Boeing said on Friday that “hairline cracks” had been discovered in the wings of about 40 787 Dreamliners that are currently in production.
The cracks are the latest trouble for the Dreamliner, a high-tech jet largely made of carbon-fiber composite that has been beset with so-called “teething issues” since entering service in 2011, three years behind schedule.
YouTube Added: Feb 25, 2014
Abby Martin remarks on a recent report by GoodJobsFirst.org which exposes the absurd amount of taxpayer money used to provide some of the wealthiest companies in the US with corporate welfare.
– “This Is Really A Symbol Of What’s Going On In This Whole Country. We’re Losing Middle-Class Jobs” (ZeroHedge, Nov 21,2013):
We wish we could say we didn’t warn Boeing’s machinists about the key trend taking place in the US economy under the Obama “recovery” but unfortunately we did. Three years ago, to be specific, when we wrote: “Charting America’s Transformation To A Part-Time Worker Society” and followed it up with “A “Quality Assessment” Of US Jobs Reveals The Ugliest Picture Yet” in which we explained that while the propaganda machine was fixated on numeric, quantitative, job additions every month, what has subversively going on, was the constant deterioration in the quality of jobs – and specifically the declining wages – available to those Americans who had not rotated outside of the labor force permanently (currently at a record 91.5 million). We say “alas” because it once again took several years before our cautions to be felt by the broader population, in this case the Boeing machinist union struggling to extract a wage increase from its employer: Boeing, whose stock keeps hitting new record highs with every passing day.
– Empty F-16 jet tested by Boeing and US Air Force (BBC News, Sep 24, 2013):
Boeing has revealed that it has retrofitted retired fighter jets to turn them into drones.
It said that one of the Lockheed Martin F-16 made a first flight with an empty cockpit last week.
Two US Air Force pilots controlled the plane from the ground as it flew from a Florida base to the Gulf of Mexico.
– Boeing Craters On Another Burning Dreamliner; Deadly Train Crash In Paris (ZeroHedge, July 12, 2013)
– Boeing Subsidiary Spectrolab Sets World Record for Solar Cell Efficiency (Boeing, April 9, 2013):
- Highest ever energy conversion efficiency without solar concentration
- Increased efficiency for ground-based applications
SYLMAR, Calif., April 9, 2013 — A Spectrolab solar cell recently set a world record by converting more energy from the sun into electricity than any other ground-based solar cell without solar concentration.
The Boeing [NYSE: BA] subsidiary’s achievement in ground-based solar cell efficiency was verified by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo.
The cell converted 37.8 percent of solar energy using a new class of high-efficiency multi-junction solar cell, created from two or more materials and leveraging Boeing technology that makes semiconductor materials more reliable. The record was set without concentration, the common practice of having lenses or mirrors focus solar rays on the cells.
– Dreamliner fix: ‘It’s not easy’ (CNN, Jan 18, 2013):
Whatever the reason for its recent spate of problems, Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner won’t fly again until regulators are satisfied the plane is airworthy.
Reports of fire and smoke have put the focus on the plane’s cutting-edge lithium ion battery systems and grounded the fleet worldwide.
Only 50 Dreamliners are in service so far, but the airlines that bought these multimillion dollar aircraft are losing money while they sit on the ground. Big questions remain: How long will it take to get the Dreamliner back in the air? Will travelers feel safe enough to board them?
It’s going to be “a big mess, cost Boeing a lot of money” and embarrass carriers that fly the 787, said aviation historian David T. Courtwright, a professor at the University of North Florida. Continue reading »
– The Dream Is Over As FAA Grounds Nightmareliner (ZeroHedge, Jan 16, 2013):
The pain for Boeing never stops. Just out from Reuters:
- U.S. FAA says requiring airlines to temporarily stop flying Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. #BREAKING
- FAA: Battery failures on Boeing 787s could damage critical systems and structures, spark fire, if not corrected
- FAA: Will work with Boeing, airlines to develop corrective action plan to resume 787 operations as “quickly and safely as possible”
- FAA: Decision to ground Boeing 787s prompted by second incident involving lithium ion battery failure
- FAA: Will also examine Boeing 787 batteries as part of comprehensive review announced last week
So, will Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (i.e., the US government) perhaps reassess his conclusion from last week that the Dreamliner is “safe” or perhaps this too is just more teething problems… Or merely an ultra aggressive case of industrial sabotage from EADS? In other news, perhaps it is time to find a more appropriate name for the Dreamliner? Continue reading »
– Boeing Announces Big Layoffs in Defense Division (NBC/Reuters, Nov 7, 2012):
Boeing announced a major restructuring of its defense division on Wednesday that will cut 30 percent of management jobs from 2010 levels, close facilities in California and consolidate several business units to cut costs.
The company told employees about the changes on Wednesday, in a memo obtained by Reuters and confirmed by Boeing. Continue reading »
– CHAMP – lights out (Boeing, Oct 22, 2012):
Cruising fast over the Western Utah Desert, a lone missile makes history at the Utah Test and Training Range. The missile, known as CHAMP, or Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project may one day change modern warfare, by defeating electronic targets with little or no collateral damage.
On Oct. 16th at 10:32 a.m. MST a Boeing Phantom Works team along with members from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate team, and Raytheon Ktech, suppliers of the High Power Microwave source, huddled in a conference room at Hill Air Force Base and watched the history making test unfold on a television monitor.Power is cut to a room of computers after being hit by a high-powered microwave pulse from a Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project.
CHAMP approached its first target and fired a burst of High Power Microwaves at a two story building built on the test range. Inside rows of personal computers and electrical systems were turned on to gauge the effects of the powerful radio waves. Continue reading »
Tags: Air Force, Boeing, CHAMP, Counter-Electronics High-Powered Advanced Missile Project, Electromagnetic Weapons, Global News, Government, Microwave, Military, Politics, Raytheon, Science, Technology, U.S., Weapons
– FedEx and Pepsi Are Top Defense Contractors? 5 Corporate Brands Making a Killing on America’s Wars (AlterNet, September 3, 2011):
Chances are, if you’ve ever sent a package overnight, bought a PC or a can of soda, you’ve paid your hard-earned money to a major Pentagon contractor. While large defense corporations that make fighter jets and armored vehicles garner the most attention, tens of thousands of “civilian” companies, from multi-national corporations hawking toothpaste and shampoo to big oil behemoths and even local restaurants scattered across the United States, all supply the Pentagon with the necessities used to carry on day-to-day operations and wage America’s wars. And they’ve made a killing doing it since 9/11.
In 2001, the massive arms dealers Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman ranked one, two and five among Department of Defense contractors, raking in $14.7 billion, $13.3 billion and $5.2 billion, respectively, in contracts. Last year, Lockheed’s contract dollars were almost double their pre-9/11 level, clocking in at $28 billion, while Boeing’s had jumped to almost $19 billion and Northrop Grumman, still in the five spot, had more than doubled its 2001 take, with $12.8 billion in contracts.
– Charting 60 Years Of Defense Spending, And Why The Mean Reversion Will Cost Millions Of Jobs (ZeroHedge, July 18, 2011):
Moody’s is out with a comprehensive chart of defense spending since 1946 which shows that while over the years the average yearly amount spent on defense by the US government has been around $400 billion, in the past decade this amount has surged to an all time high of just under $750 billion. And while one can debate the reasons for why America spends 20% of annual revenues on military (and debate even more why this number has continued to surge under a Nobel Peace Prize winning president), one thing is rather certain: this number will decline in the coming months and years as Washington has no choice but to cut the defense budget. And while this will likely be a multi-year process, it will have substantial implications for not only the defense companies identified, but for their respectively supply-chains, resulting in hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of layoffs over the next decade as government-sourced revenue plummets and yet another layer of overhead will have to be trimmed.
Last week’s escalating political rhetoric and ongoing debate about the US statutory debt ceiling and deficit spending lead us to expect deeper-than-anticipated budget cuts that will negatively affect defense contractors doing business with the US government.
At almost $700 billion and about 20% of total annual domestic outlays (and more than half of discretionary expenditures), the world’s largest defense budget by a factor of 6x (China ranks second) remains politically vulnerable to becoming at least a partial solution to the longstanding deficit problem. Whether or not a satisfactory solution to the growing deficit problem is reached near term and the debt ceiling is raised, there is little doubt that pressure to trim excessive spending will persist.
Continue reading »
– Pentagon weapons buyer quietly visits California to discuss bomber planes (Los Angeles Times, May 22, 2011):
Deep in the Mojave Desert, surrounded by tiers of barbed-wire fence, the nation’s largest defense contractors work in secrecy designing and building the latest military aircraft at Air Force Plant 42.
The military’s top weapons buyer quietly visited the Palmdale facility this month to talk with leading aerospace executives about plans to build a fleet of radar-evading bombers that the military hopes to have ready for action by the mid-2020s.
The plane would be the first long-range bomber built in the U.S. since the last of the 21 bat-winged B-2 stealth bombers by Northrop Grumman Corp. rolled off the assembly lines at Plant 42 more than a decade ago. The Air Force owns the 5,800-acre industrial park and leases space to aerospace contractors.
Now on the Pentagon wish list is a proposed fleet of 80 to 100 nuclear-capable bombers that could operate with or without a pilot in the cockpit.
Pentagon weapons acquisition chief Ashton Carter met separately with representatives of Northrop, Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said. These companies are expected to vie for the estimated $55-billion contract that is expected to provide jobs and decades of work for Southern California’s aerospace industry.
The demo, sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory, was a test of the Mobile Active Targeting Resource for Integrated eXperiments (MATRIX), an experimental system developed by Boeing Directed Energy Systems. According to a company news release, the test showed the ability to take down a hostile unmanned aircraft with a “relatively low laser power” weapon. According to AFRL, MATRIX uses a two and a half kilowatt-class high energy laser.
While ballistic missile defense may get all of the press, some homeland-security experts worry about a more low-tech threat: drone technology. Bill Baker, chief scientist of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Directed Energy Directorate, said in a statement that the shootdowns “validate the use of directed energy to negate potential hostile threats against the homeland.”
It’s not clear, exactly, how the lasers shot down the drones: Whether they disrupted the aircraft controls, or burned a big hole in them. (An AFRL news release said the drones were “acquired, tracked and negated at significant ranges” but offered few additional details.)
Huge news for real-life ray guns: Electric lasers have hit battlefield strength for the first time — paving the way for energy weapons to go to war.
In recent test-blasts, Pentagon-researchers at Northrop Grumman managed to get its 105 kilowatts of power out of their laser — past the “100kW threshold [that] has been viewed traditionally as a proof of principle for ‘weapons grade’ power levels for high-energy lasers,” Northrop’s vice president of directed energy systems, Dan Wildt, said in a statement.
That much power won’t get you a Star Wars-style blaster. But it should be more than enough to zap the mortars and rockets that insurgents have used to pound American bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The battlefield-strength breakthrough is just one part in a larger military push to finally make laser weapons a reality, after decades of unfulfilled promises. The Army recently gave Boeing a $36 million contract to build a laser-equipped truck. Raytheon is set to start test-firing a mortar-zapper of its own. Darpa is funding a 150 kilowatt laser project that is meant to be fitted onto “tactical aircraft.”
Exploding pension fund shortfalls are blowing billion-dollar holes in the balance sheets of some of the Chicago area’s biggest companies, forcing them to make huge contributions to retirement plans at a time when cash flow and credit are already under stress.
Boeing Co.’s shareholder equity is now $1.2 billion in the hole thanks to an $8.4-billion gap between its pension assets and the projected cost of its obligations for 2008. At the end of 2007, Boeing had a $4.7-billion pension surplus. If its investments don’t turn around, the Chicago-based aerospace giant will have to quadruple annual contributions to its plan to about $2 billion by 2011.
Stock market losses also pounded pension funds at Abbott Laboratories Inc., Caterpillar Inc. and Exelon Corp., with others sure to emerge as companies file their annual financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission in coming weeks.
The pension gaps underscore a growing conundrum. Unfunded pension liabilities have to be subtracted from shareholder equity, weakening balance sheets at a time when it’s already tough to borrow money. Barring a reprieve from Congress, companies may be forced to make more layoffs or curb capital investments to divert cash to shore up pensions.
“There are companies out there faced with paying their pension plan or staying in business,” says Mark Ugoretz, president and CEO of the ERISA Industry Committee, a Washington, D.C., lobbying group. ERISA refers to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, which sets standards to ensure pension plans are sufficiently funded.
The Chicago companies are symptomatic of nationwide woes. Last year, the 100 largest corporate pension funds in the U.S. saw their net assets decline by 21%, while liabilities increased 1.2%. Applying those averages to any of the region’s top funds puts almost all of them into the red by at least $1 billion.
The first Boeing Co. 787 airplane is assembled at the company’s manufacturing plant in Everett, Washington on May 19, 2008. Photographer: Kevin P. Casey/Bloomberg News
Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) — Boeing Co. said it plans to cut 10,000 jobs, or about 6 percent of its workforce, after a strike and program delays led to a fourth-quarter loss and a global recession began to erode demand for aircraft.
The job reductions, disclosed on a conference call today, include 4,500 that were previously announced in the commercial- plane half of Boeing’s business. Earlier the Chicago-based company reported a net loss of $56 million, or 8 cents a share, after a year-ago profit.
Boeing faces a potential increase in canceled or deferred orders this year as airlines cope with a drop in travel demand and tight credit. Almost a third of the world’s carriers are likely to defer deliveries this year, up from 8 percent three months ago, a survey released last week by UBS Investment Research showed.
The planemaker also must carry development costs on the delayed 787 Dreamliner, which is now due to reach the first customer in early 2010, about two years later than planned. An eight-week machinists strike that ended Nov. 2 added to the delays and stripped $1.8 billion from full-year earnings.
The company delivered 50 aircraft in the quarter, 70 fewer than planned, hurting revenue by $4.3 billion and setting it further behind rival Airbus SAS, the only larger commercial-plane maker. Boeing is also the second-largest defense contractor.
There’s still a lot of blue sky in Boeing’s plans for directed-energy weapons like the Laser Avenger. (Credit: Boeing)
Updated 2:40 p.m. with details on how the laser damaged the UAV and on the Laser Avenger’s targeting system.
Boeing is seeing a glimmer of progress in its work toward fielding laser weapons.
The defense industry giant on Monday said tests of its Laser Avenger system in December marked “the first time a combat vehicle has used a laser to shoot down a UAV,” or unmanned aerial vehicle. In the testing, the Humvee-mounted Laser Avenger located and tracked three small UAVs in flight over the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and knocked one of the drone aircraft out of the sky.
Boeing didn’t go into much detail about the shoot-down. In response to a query by CNET News, it did say this much about the strike by the the kilowatt-class laser: “A hole was burned in a critical flight control element of the UAV, rendering the aircraft unflyable.”
While decades of Hollywood imagery may conjure up a vision of a target disintegrating in a sparkle of light, the actual workings of the laser beam are probably more prosaic. For instance, the beam from Boeing’s much, much larger Airborne Laser, which is intended to disable long-range missiles in flight, uses heat to create a weak spot on the skin of the missile, causing it to rupture in flight. Boeing hopes to conduct the first aerial shoot-down test with the much-delayed 747-based Airborne Laser later this year.
Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) — Airbus SAS and Boeing Co. may end up with as many as 200 new planes without buyers next year because airlines are unable to obtain funds to pay for them amid a global credit squeeze, a consultant said.
“There’s a funding gap and we don’t really know where the money is coming from,” Eddy Pieniazek, a director of aviation adviser Ascend, said at a conference in Hong Kong yesterday. “If the money doesn’t arrive, you can quite easily see 200 new aircraft, or whitetails, parked in a desert.”
Airbus and Boeing, the world’s two-biggest airplane makers, will probably deliver about $65 billion of large commercial aircraft next year, according to a report by JPMorgan Securities Inc. Leasing companies and banks, which will account for about 60 percent of the aircraft financing market in 2008, are likely to “pull back substantially,” creating a funding gap as wide as $20 billion, the report said.
“Nobody is getting out of this alive,” said Bill Cumberlidge, director of aviation asset finance at Allco Finance Group, which on Nov. 4 handed over operations to outside managers after warning it may default on its debt. “The debt market is dead.”