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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Intelligence: News

Dallas Airmotive Adds Services at Portsmouth, England

Dallas Airmotive has expanded the services of its Portsmouth, England Regional Turbine Center (RTC) with the addition of repair, hot section inspection and field service on the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW500 series of engines. The PW500 powers a number of Cessna Citation jets including the Bravo, Encore, Excel and XLS. "We want our services to be located as close as practicable to operators," stated Dallas Airmotive President and CEO, Hugh E. McElroy. "We have established a PW500 full service network in the U.S. ranging from full overhaul to field service and RTCs based in Dallas, Texas and Millville, New Jersey. The addition of the PW500 at our Portsmouth RTC puts service accessibility within reach of operators in Europe, Africa and the Middle East."

The Portsmouth RTC will offer hot section inspection (HSI) and repair, gearbox repair and modification fan repair, and borescope inspection. The facility is CAA and EASA approved. Technicians are trained to Pratt & Whitney Canada standards and are fully equipped with factory tooling and spares.

Identity Assurance Partnership Targets Cyber Losses

Surprisingly, under the public disclosure radar are the billions of dollars in cyber losses suffered annually within the aerospace industry, including MRO providers. Such has been the cost of using the non-secured electronic realm of the Internet to exchange project data among multiple, international supply chain partners and their customers regarding design, production and maintenance details.

This security issue is particularly problematic for collaborating systems integrators and national defense agencies. The aggressive breach of data transmission through intercepted e-mail, for example, and the lack of a standard to provide assurance of online identities, create an expensive proposition for the 300,000+ aerospace vendors with which U.S. defense agencies interact.

A solution to this expensive problem (both in terms of actual dollars and effect on national security) is the first and only security collaboration government/industry partnership, just formed in May between the Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program (TSCP) and CertiPath. By year’s end, the partnership expects to have deployed specifications for secure e-mail between agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense and the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense and international OEMs that include Boeing, Airbus, BAE, Rolls-Royce, Lockheed Martin and others. CertiPath, a joint venture between ARINC, Exostar and SITA, will act as manager, R&D coordinator and advocate in developing these specifications.

CertiPath created the first commercially managed public key infrastructure (PKI) bridging mechanism for the U.S. aerospace and defense community in 2003. CertiPath ensures interoperability between participating companies for the transfer of secured and authenticated data. It will provide similar service within the partnership with TSCP, but on a larger scale.

Jeff Nigriny, president and COO of CertiPath and director of U.S. outreach for TSCP, comments that "the phrase, ‘complexity is the enemy of security’ has fewer better examples than multi-vendor defense contracts." The common scenario for these contracts involves vast differences in individual company identity and data security policies, throughout the supply chain. Within multi-vendor projects, trying to equate all the participants and the defense agency customer can result in "policy collisions" and ineffective security integrity, especially when employees leave their employers.

Nigriny goes on to suggest that "the proposed security specifications of this new partnership go well beyond authenticating a particular employee’s identity. Identity simply supports determining if valid access to a company’s MRO data exists such that a person may perform specific tasks on specific aircraft in a trustworthy manner. CertiPath will assess and verify for relying parties [customers such as national defense entities] that all service providers [OEMs, MROs and others] involved in a customer/vendor network have the new identity assurance standards in place."

Not that there won’t be "some heavy lifting" as Nigriny puts it, within the partnership to establish the operating rules. These rules involve appropriate security assurance technology (possibly a digital smart card and certificate for each employee of each partnership member company), policy (in the form of a framework for legal, financial and operating concurrence) and governance. While members pay to join TSCP, Nigriny points out that TSCP works like a non-profit co-op, and membership fees are applied to paying for the specifications development.

Starting in June, TSCP will meet with aerospace vendors to discuss off-the-shelf products that could help implement the new secure e-mail specification. "Beyond creating a common business language for data security, these specifications, ‘federated’ within an entire industry such as aerospace and defense, can greatly enhance collaborative trust," Nigriny asserts. "The ultimate business benefits of these specifications include 100 percent security accountability, IT controls beyond current industry requirements, and of course, the potential to reduce cyber losses significantly."

After secure e-mail, the partnership will pursue its first phase of specifications for general document-sharing supported by identity management; both specs are slated for completion this year. In 2008, specifications will be implemented for product design and real time "white boarding" collaboration.

Nigriny observes that considerable enthusiasm is already being shown by leading OEMs and government agencies for development of federated security assurance specifications. "This could indicate that they see the interoperability created by such a federation as offering a competitive advantage in reducing risk, cost and complexity." — By Vicki McConnell

Jet Aviation Opens New Hangar

Jet Aviation recently expanded its maintenance and completions facility. By adding a new hangar, the company’s Basel facility can now perform simultaneous work on Airbus or Boeing wide-body aircraft and Dassault Falcon jets. Jet Aviation celebrated the grand opening of the approximately $3.2 million hangar extension at its Basel facility in March. The 35,736-square-foot hangar can accommodate wide-body aircraft up to the size of an Airbus A330 or Boeing 767 together with smaller business jets. This brings the total hangar space up to 247,300 square feet. The latest extension was built in only six months from planning to finish. "This new hangar offers a significant increase of space to perform simultaneous completions work on Airbus or Boeing wide-body aircraft and Dassault Falcon jets," said Norbert Marx, senior vice president and general manager Jet Aviation Basel. "With the move of the completions lines to the new hangar we have now more space available for aircraft maintenance."

Jet Aviation is investing an additional $28 million into its Basel facility. It will add close to 377,000 square feet to the maintenance and completions center, including a new wide-body hangar of 102,000 square feet, large enough to accommodate an A380 and a Boeing 747-8 as well as extra shop and ramp space. The new wide-body hangar located at the south zone of the airport will be completed in the first half of 2008.

Jet Aviation’s Basel location, established in 1967, employs more than 1,200 professionals. The facility has in-house design and engineering departments, along with on-site cabinetry, upholstery, fiberglass and paint shops. The facility is capable of outfitting jets as large as an Airbus A380 or the Boeing 747-400 series and has already completed several Airbus 319ACJ, A320 and Boeing B737, B757, B767 and B747-400 aircraft. Jet Aviation Basel is a factory approved service center by Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Dassault, Gulfstream and Learjet. The location is also rated by the FAA and EASA.

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