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In 1958, Willi Messerschmitt returned to the production of aircraft, building a small Italian fighter plane under license. His company later produced an advanced American fighter, the Lockheed F-104. After 1960, the West German aviation industry consolidated into fewer but stronger companies that could compete effectively in the international market. In 1969 this led to the formation of a large combined corporation, Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm. Willi Messerschmitt was named honorary chairman, holding this position until his death in 1978.

By the late 1990s three foreign manufacturers were dominant in the manufacture of helicopters. They were Aerospatiale of France, Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB) of Germany, and Agusta of Italy. Aerospatiale was far larger than the other two and sold many times number of the aircraft as MBB and Agusta combined. The Messerschmitt-Blkow-Blohm BO-105 of the late 1960s marked a significant transition from the Sikorsky-type articulated rotor to a high-performance hingeless rotor system. Marketed by MBB Helicopter, Inc., the MBB BO-105 CBS light helicopter is imported from Germany. The BO-105 is a twin turbine-powered aircraft with a useful load of 2,300 pounds. It can lift 2,000 pounds with its external hoist. The range (300 miles) and speed (150 mph) are about the sameas other light twin, turbine-powered helicopters. In addition to being used as an executive aircraft, the BO-105 is popular for use in supply of offshore oilrigs

A variant of the work staggering approach, called "gliding work hours" (Gleitende Arbeitseit), was tried in Germany in the early 1970s to provide congestion relief. This was essentially a "self-staggering" approach, with no fixed work schedule modifications. Rather, employees choose their work hours within an established time frame. Major German firms which have shifted include Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm with 7,000 employees in Munich.

From 1967 to 1984, Manfred Rotsch, Head of the Planning Department of the aviation firm Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB), passed information to the KGB on the "Tornado" aircraft produced by the European Panavia consortium.

West Germany provided 53.3 percent of Spacelab's cost and fulfilled 52.6 percent of all Spacelab work contracts. The industrial firm ERNO VFW Fokker, after submitting the winning design, became the prime contractor for Spacelab. At that time the company was owned by both West German and Dutch interests. Later ERNO was taken over by the West German firm Messerschmitt Bolkow Blohm. The ERNO plant in Bremen continued as the headquarters for Spacelab design, production management, component testing, and assembly.

The Challenger's second flight began at 7:33 a.m. EST, June 18, 1983, with an on-time liftoff. The mission also carried the first Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS-l) built by Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm, a West German aerospace firm. SPAS-l was unique in that it was designed to operate in the payload bay or be deployed by the RMS as a free-flying satellite. It carried 10 experiments to study formation of metal alloys in microgravity, the operation of heat pipes, instruments for remote sensing observations, and a mass spectrometer to identify various gases in the payload bay. It was deployed by the RMS and flew alongside and over Challenger for several hours while a U.S.-supplied camera took pictures from the SPAS-1 of the orbiter performing various maneuvers. The RMS later grappled the pallet and returned it to the payload bay.

The X-31 aircraft was developed jointly by Rockwell International's North American Aircraft Division and Daimler-Benz Aerospace (formerly Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm), under sponsorship by the U.S. Department of Defense and the German Federal Ministry of Defense. The program has been operating under the auspices of the X-31 International Test Organization (ITO) from the NASA-Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. The ITO is comprised of participants from the DoD's Advanced Research Projects Agency, NASA, the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, the German Government, German Air Force, and the two prime contractors, Rockwell International and Daimler-Benz.

German, British and Italian air forces fly the Tornado air-to-ground and air defense fighter. PANAVIA in Munich, Germany, is contracted to all three governments to manufacture and deliver the aircraft. While PANAVIA ensures management and control of the total weapons system program, the production and engineering facilities employed for the development, testing and manufacture of the Tornados are partner companies: Messerschmitt-Blkow-Blohm, in Germany; Aeritalia, in Italy; and British Aerospace, in Great Britain.

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Page last modified: 22-08-2016 18:34:14 ZULU