Boeing will upgrade additional F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet fighters for the Navy and Marine Corps through a recently awarded $238 million contract extension.

The work at the company’s Cecil Field facility in Jacksonville, Florida, includes high flight-hour inspections, periodic maintenance inspections, in-service repair and modifications, upgrades, and engineering.

According to Boeing F/A-18 Sustainment program director Travis McBurnett, Boeing’s Cecil Field team has returned 880 modified or repaired F/A-18s to the Navy and Marines since 1999.

Study reveals barriers to phasing out cadmium

In recent years, there has been speculation that the U.S. aerospace industry will phase out cadmium by 2023, however a new survey from global selective plating company, SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts (ASC) found that only 23% of respondents think they will actually be cadmium free by then. Just less than half of respondents performing corrosion protection touch-ups and repairs do not feel that they have the necessary resources to make an informed decision on a cadmium alternative. When asked why, 100% cite “lack of credible resources and documentation.”

SIFCO ASC provides Cadmium LHE and Zinc-Nickel LHE touch-up kits to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and maintenance repair, and overhaul (MRO) companies and works to find suitable alternatives for the future. Although decades of research indicate that zinc-nickel can be a reliable alternative to cadmium in aerospace applications, two-thirds of respondents who plate cadmium cite aerospace specifications and the primes’ requirements as their biggest barriers to phasing it out.

More than 50% of respondents who plate cadmium believe they have no other option for corrosion protection, as one states, “We are dependent upon what the OEM specifies when it comes to corrosion resistant plating. Until the manufacturer allows alternatives, our hands are tied.”

Scott Peterson, training manager at SIFCO ASC who is involved in a cadmium alternative for OEM and MRO markets, says, “There is much hesitation across the industry on this topic. The majority of respondents who don’t think the deadline will be met say the reason is a lack of alternatives, but we believe that this highlights a need for more knowledge sharing and collaboration to provide the level of confidence needed to make the change.”

Peterson adds that zinc-nickel can outperform cadmium in some instances, and when used with the proper conversion coating, zinc-nickel corrosion protection is even better.

SIFCO ASC has created an online Cadmium Knowledge Hub where its technical experts will share content on the topic such as manufacturer testing reports and academic research papers. The site also encourages any other professionals in the industry to submit their own findings to help the industry move forward on this issue.

FEAM to provide 787 Dreamliner line maintenance support

F&E Aircraft Maintenance (FEAM) Maintenance/Engineering will expand its GoldCare agreement with Boeing to provide full handling line maintenance support to GoldCare customers at Seattle International Airport and Denver International Airport. The GoldCare agreement increases FEAM’s support to five line maintenance locations and adds the 787 Dreamliner along with the 737 MAX. FEAM technicians recently concluded Boeing-led 737 MAX systems training and the company is in the final stages of opening three new GoldCare line maintenance bases in New England.

FEAM already provides comprehensive line maintenance services up to A-Check level support to more than 10 international and domestic airline operators at Denver and Seattle.

Satair Group and Safran Nacelles sign lifetime contract for supply chain services for A340-500/600 engine nacelle spare parts and components

Satair Group has signed its first major contract with Safran Nacelles, covering global lifetime supply chain services for engine nacelle parts and components used on Airbus A340-500/600 jetliners.

Under the terms of the agreement, Satair Group has now assumed responsibility over Safran Nacelles’ entire supply chain for the A340 nacelle elements, carrying out support duties through the lifetimes of the four-engine aircraft. There are currently 90 A340-500/600s in operation, and Satair Group estimates the aircraft type will remain in service beyond 2030.

A physical transfer of Safran Nacelles’ A340 nacelle parts inventory has been made from the company’s Paris support center to Satair Group’s Copenhagen facility. Safran Nacelles will continue a direct working relationship with its A340 customers for overall customer support, nacelle maintenance and repair (MRO) services – as well as engineering support.;

Socomore acquires Elixair, licenses sealant cleaning tools

Vannes, France-based Socomore has agreed to buy U.K.-based Elixair Int’l Ltd. and license composite plastic scraper technology that removes adhesives and cured sealant residues. The license covers Elixair SkyScrapers for the application of sealant and removal of sealant and adhesive tape residues; SkyMill Revolution, a sharpening tool to clean and extend SkyScrapers’ life; and SkyEdgit, a portable grinding device for SkyScrapers. The products are approved by major aeronautical manufacturers.

Along with Skywipes, the Skyscrapers line of products are complementary to Socomore pre-saturated wipes for cleaning adhesive tapes, adhesives, and uncured sealants residues.

Socomore will market these products with the support of 3M, the historical distributor, for the remainder of 2017, when Socomore will assume worldwide distribution.

Elixair SkyScrapers are approved composite plastic scrapers used in the removal of cured sealant and adhesives.;