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Monday, November 6, 2006

Quick Takes

New Financing Venture

China Aviation Supplies Import and Export Group Corporation (CASGC), AerCap and Calyon Airfinance launched a new joint venture to invest in new aircraft operating leases in China. The venture includes Dragon Aviation Leasing Company in Beijing and AerDragon Aviation Partners, based in Ireland. Forecasts indicate the Chinese market will require up to 2,600 additional aircraft through 2026. Each partner will contribute its own expertise in developing the program, CASGC through its position in the Chinese aviation market, AerCap through the management of aircraft and Calyon in the aviation financing market.

Freight IDs

Unisys Corporation (UIS) selected Fidelica Microsystems and Abeo Corporation to deliver a biometric RFID badge to positively identify cargo drivers for the Wireless Personal Identification Credential project. Part of the Transportation Security Administration's Airport Access Control Pilot Program, the new technology will be evaluted at Washington Dulles International Airport. The contract is to evaluate technologies that could mitigate security vulnerabilities at airports.

Anti-Missile Program

With shoulder-fired missiles having already killed more than 640 passengers in 35 attacks on civilian jets, the Department of Homeland Security is launching an 18-month program evaluating technologies to protect commercial fleets. The technologies include airport based equipment, mitigating the need for equiping the fleet. It awarded $7.5 million in contracts to Raytheon, Northrop Grumman Space Technology and L-3 Communications AVISYS.

It will also work with the Department of Defense, evaluating technologies and its application in the civilian market. The Government Accountability Office said over 20 terrorist groups are known to have shoulder-launched missiles.

Congress allocated $35 million in fiscal 2007 for such an assessment. Raytheon plans on using Vigilant Eagle Airport Protection System. Deployed around an airport, the system uses passive infrared trackers scanning for missile exhaust. It steers a beam of electromagnetic energy to divert the threat from the aircraft. It is ground-based and thus does not have to be fitted to the aircraft. Northrop is using an infrared anti-missile system designed to divert missiles, which is being put on FAA aircraft.

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