Boeing avoids labour strike at three US defence plants

by Marc Selinger

Boeing is developing the MQ-25 Stingray unmanned tanker for the US Navy. The company has averted a labour strike at three US factories that build military aircraft, including the MQ-25. (Boeing)

Unionised workers at three Boeing military aircraft factories in and near St Louis, Missouri, have approved a new three-year contract, averting a looming labour strike, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) announced on 3 August.

Boeing welcomed the news. “We're pleased with the outcome of the vote and we look forward to our future here in the St Louis area,” the company said in a statement.

The IAM said that Boeing's latest contract offer contained better retirement benefits compared with the one its members rejected on 24 July. About 2,500 union members were scheduled to go on strike on 1 August, but postponed the walkout after receiving the new offer.

“The newly ratified modified offer features critical improvements to the company's previous offer for retirement plans, including a USD8,000 lump sum payment that can be deferred to an employee's 401(k), and continuing the 4% company contribution and 75% match on the first 8% of an employee's 401(k) contribution,” the union said.


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USAF reveals B-21 Raider stealth bomber following years of secret development

by Zach Rosenberg

The B-21 Raider was unveiled to the public during a 2 December 2022 ceremony in Palmdale, California. Few details have been revealed about the two-engine bomber. (Northrop Grumman)

The US Air Force (USAF) unveiled the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider stealth bomber on 2 December at the company's factory at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, where the aircraft was built. At least five B-21s (not including the completed example unveiled) are in various stages of production.

“If you want to talk about integrated deterrence in action, well, just look at this aircraft,” said Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin II, introducing the aircraft. “The B-21 looks imposing, but what's under the frame and space-age coatings is even more impressive.” Austin went on to praise the B-21's range, stealth, maintainability, and adaptability – but nearly all specifications were withheld and only the aircraft's front was displayed, presumably to hide the engine outlets from public view.


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French Senate submits budget request for national future fighter effort

by Gareth Jennings

A model of the NGF manned fighter at the core of the FCAS/SCAF project. The French Senate has issued a budget amendment request to fund a feasibility study to develop a wholly national alternative should the project with Germany and Spain fail. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

French lawmakers have submitted a request to develop a wholly national future combat aircraft, with a Finance Bill for 2023 amendment posted in late November.

The budget request by the French Senate is to fund a EUR10 million (USD10.5 million) feasibility study to develop a future replacement for the country's Dassault Rafale. It came after repeated references by that company's CEO, Éric Trappier, to a “Plan B” should industrial agreements not be reached on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de combat aérien du futur (SCAF) project with Airbus of Germany and Indra of Spain.


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Partners sign FCAS/SCAF demonstrator deal

by Gareth Jennings

Phase 1B of the New Generation Fighter that sits at the core of FCAS/SCAF project will now go ahead, with Dassault as the lead partner. (Dassault)

The industrial partners heading up the trinational Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien du Futur (SCAF) have agreed to the demonstrator phase of the project.

Dassault announced the milestone on 1 December, saying that an agreement on Phase 1B of the New Generation Fighter (NGF) element of the FCAS/SCAF project had been reached with Airbus and Indra.

“Yes, today it is done. We have an agreement with Airbus,” Dassault CEO Éric Trappier said in an interview given to Le Figaro . “We'll now be able to move into the next phase of studies, known as [Phase] 1B, to prepare for the development of a demonstrator, which should fly around 2029… We have been confirmed in our role as prime contractor and architect of the aircraft, and we have obtained protection for our industrial know-how and technologies.”


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Unionised workers at three Boeing military aircraft factories in and near St Louis, Missouri, have a...

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