A400m

t68

Well-Known Member
An opinion piece from Flight Global on the A400’s future.

OPINION: Can contract revision rescue A400M?
I believe this is the make or break deal for Airbus, the product on paper ticks all the boxes that even a future USAF even desire. But there appears to be systematic problems within Airbus hierarchy in the defence & space division, I just cant put my finger on if it under estimation of the time needed or funds needed within R&D and an expectation the customers will pick up the slack or a combination of all three and a rush for production sales without a fully tested product across a majority of aircraft programs.

I believe the A400M is a good product overall just not a very well managed one
 

ngatimozart

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Airbus have been fined €81.25 million by a Munich prosecutor over irregular payments to business partners. This doesn't end their legal problems because both the UK and French regulators are running separate investigations into allegations of irregular payments to business partners, plus there could be a US investigation as well.

Munich prosecutor fines Airbus to conclude bribery investigation
 

t68

Well-Known Member
Airbus have been fined €81.25 million by a Munich prosecutor over irregular payments to business partners. This doesn't end their legal problems because both the UK and French regulators are running separate investigations into allegations of irregular payments to business partners, plus there could be a US investigation as well.

Munich prosecutor fines Airbus to conclude bribery investigation
With all these problems you can NZ can kiss goodbye to the A400M and say hello to C130J
 

ngatimozart

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With all A400M the engine related problems that they have had, I wonder if Airbus has looked at replacing the four Europrop turboprops with two General Electric CF 6-80E, Pratt & Whitney PW 4000, or Rolls-Royce Trent 700 turbofans. These power the A330-200 and such a variant may possibly be attractive to the market. I think that in the long term such a variant may reduce the perceived risk that the Europrop TP engines appear to be engendering at the moment.
 

ngatimozart

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With all these problems you can NZ can kiss goodbye to the A400M and say hello to C130J
I would think that the C-2 would have more of a chance with the C-130-30J undertaking the tactical role. With the signing of the new TTP (sans USA), the NZG may just see a C-2 acquisition being advantageous for NZ - Japan relations.
 

Rob c

Active Member
I would think that the C-2 would have more of a chance with the C-130-30J undertaking the tactical role. With the signing of the new TTP (sans USA), the NZG may just see a C-2 acquisition being advantageous for NZ - Japan relations.
The C 2 would be a good choice and it is significant that in the Asia Pacific defence article on the FAMC there was talk of passenger pods. I would not discount the KC 390 either and while some talk of the risk factor, I think that this is very low. from a technology point of view it is simply a fat airliner with a rear door. It is not a cutting edge combat aircraft with cutting edge technology that needs careful development, but rather its structure , systems and aerodynamics are common technology that is well understood and is widely used by major companies in the airline industry, of which Embraer is one.
There is also a risk with the C 130 J, that being a very old basic design it will become obsolete well before our government is prepared to replace it. We must also keep in mined that the RAAF C 130's are about half way through there time in the service and by the time we would get ours probability 2/3's, so that any common operating ability would be short lived.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #27
The C-130 is a 50 year plus design but it seems to find new missions and the upgrades keep coming. Unless a tactical cargo plane comes along with either vertical take off and landing, stealth, or increased load capacity or a combination of these features, I don’t see the Hercules going away anytime soon. The KC390 is faster but is that enough to justify it? In 5-10 years, when it is proven, maybe. In 30 years perhaps a revolutionary alternative will be developed.
 

ASSAIL

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I can't help but get the feeling that A400 is yet another euro design touted as fully developed but yet again proves not to be just that.
Armed forces keep on getting burned, it reminds me of the Monty Python Knights combat scene as the armless and legless Knight cries out "its only a flesh wound". A perfect summary of some euro kit including A400
A basic tenet of financial reporting for a public company is to never over report and under deliver, maybe Airbus has forgotten this.
 
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ngatimozart

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I can't help but get the feeling that A400 is yet another euro design touted as fully developed but yet again proves to be just that.
Armed forces keep on getting burned, it reminds me of the Monty Python Knights combat scene as the armless and legless Knight cries out "its only a flesh wound". A perfect summary of some euro kit including A400
That's fair comment, a great analogy and is how I see the A400M.

 

Rob c

Active Member
The C-130 is a 50 year plus design but it seems to find new missions and the upgrades keep coming. Unless a tactical cargo plane comes along with either vertical take off and landing, stealth, or increased load capacity or a combination of these features, I don’t see the Hercules going away anytime soon. The KC390 is faster but is that enough to justify it? In 5-10 years, when it is proven, maybe. In 30 years perhaps a revolutionary alternative will be developed.
The KC 390 has far more performance advantages over the C 130, than just speed, and they have already been discussed at length. To the layman 5 to 10 years may seem a good idea, but the reality is that the extensive modern fight test programs and computer simulations covers this very well and this type of aircraft based on commercial practices, that successfully complete these programs go into service with great success and few problems. Embraer as a company have been consistently good at achieving good results. In NZ an expected military equipment life of 30 years can easily extend out to 40 or 50 years.
 
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ngatimozart

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This is text from an Aviation Week mail out. Apparently they are having trouble with their website at the moment, hence the mail out. It's dated 13/2/2018

"Enders: Partner-Nation Deal Should ‘Reduce the Bleeding’ on A400M

Tony Osborne

The A400M partner nations have thrown Airbus another lifeline as the company continues its struggle to bring theairlifter’s tactical capabilities online.
The new deal, agreed through a Feb. 7 declaration of intent expected to be signed in the coming months, will rebaseline the program and “further mitigate risks remaining on the A400M program,” Airbus CEO Tom Enders says.

Airbus has so far delivered nearly 60 A400Ms to six of the eight customer nations, but the program has accrued more than €6 billion ($7.4 billion) in losses over the last eight years, with a €2.2 billion charge in 2016 alone because of penalties for the late delivery of aircraft, tactical capabilities and engine problems.

And the company has warned there may be more financial pain to come as it prepares to announce its 2017 results on Feb. 15.

Enders says the company remains committed to the A400M, but the program has suffered from “operational issues” as well as what he called a “flawed contractual setup and insufficientbudget.”

The new deal will provide “a good chance to stop or at least reduce the bleeding now and deliver the capabilities our customers need,” he says.

The 2016 charges were the prompt for Enders to restart negotiations with the A400M partner nations—Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the UK—in an attempt to reduce the financial burden on Airbus. Enders has previously said the company had taken on a “lopsided share” of the risk on the program including—unusually—issues related to the Europrop International TP400 engine.



Some customers will draw out their deliveries for the A400M airlifter. Credit: Airbus

The contract amendment—agreed by Airbus, the partner nations and the European defense materiel agency, OCCAR—includes a new delivery plan and road map for the aircraft’s tactical capabilities.

Airbus confirmed in January that the production rate for the airlifter will be slowed starting this year. The company plans to deliver 15 aircraft during 2018 and 11 aircraft in 2019, having delivered 19 in 2017. The adjustments will provide a “sustainable future” for the A400M, Airbus says, and should allow more time to find export customers. So far, the only export order has come from Malaysia, whose four aircraft have now all been delivered.

However, last year Airbus did bid the A400M for several competitions, including in New Zealand (AW&ST Feb. 12-25, p. 37).. The status of a long-rumored but unconfirmed order from Egypt is unclear.

The new delivery plan will mean that Belgium, which had planned to take delivery of its first aircraft in 2019, will now receive it in 2020. Belgium and Luxembourg are the only two partner nations that have yet to take delivery of aircraft.

The production slowdown should also suit several of the partner nations that have attempted to offload some of their orders due to budgetary issues. France officially has 50 A400Ms on order but plans for just 25 to be in service by the end of 2025, according to its recently published military program law.

Issues with the delivery of military capabilities have been a frustration for several nations. Germany has criticized the program strongly as it is having to retain several of its elderly C-160 Transall transports in service because of concerns about the integration of defensive aids on the A400M. France and Germany are also planning to purchase tanker versions of the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules because of difficulties in developing the A400M’s helicopter-refueling capability.

Airbus Defense and Space CEO Dirk Hoke told Aviation Week at the Dubai Airshow last November that the company has made “good progress” in the development of tactical capabilities in key areas such as dropping supplies and troops, self-defense and helicopter air-to-air refueling.

The company is working with Cobham on the development of a modified refueling pod and hose that can extend farther from the A400M, allowing helicopters to refuel in cleaner, less turbulent air away from the airlifter to reduce the risk of potential collision between tanker and receiver.

The French Air Force has reportedly said aircraft availability stands at 35-40%, although this is largely caused by issues with the TP400 engine that led to an inflight shutdown of an engine in early 2016. Problems with the engine’s power gearbox are being solved more slowly than hoped. The fix, known as Pack 2, addresses problems with the input pinion plug, which was found to be prone to cracking. Europrop International is in the process of completing development of the Pack 2 fix, which is due to be certified during the first quarter of 2018, and engines will be retrofitted during engine shop visits, the engine consortium told Aviation Week."

It looks like that Airbus is going to take a big hit again. The production rate is currently slow and this slowing down will make some potential export customers even more wary.
 

ASSAIL

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Th
This is text from an Aviation Week mail out. Apparently they are having trouble with their website at the moment, hence the mail out. It's dated 13/2/2018

"Enders: Partner-Nation Deal Should ‘Reduce the Bleeding’ on A400M

Tony Osborne

The A400M partner nations have thrown Airbus another lifeline as the company continues its struggle to bring theairlifter’s tactical capabilities online.
The new deal, agreed through a Feb. 7 declaration of intent expected to be signed in the coming months, will rebaseline the program and “further mitigate risks remaining on the A400M program,” Airbus CEO Tom Enders says.

Airbus has so far delivered nearly 60 A400Ms to six of the eight customer nations, but the program has accrued more than €6 billion ($7.4 billion) in losses over the last eight years, with a €2.2 billion charge in 2016 alone because of penalties for the late delivery of aircraft, tactical capabilities and engine problems.

And the company has warned there may be more financial pain to come as it prepares to announce its 2017 results on Feb. 15.

Enders says the company remains committed to the A400M, but the program has suffered from “operational issues” as well as what he called a “flawed contractual setup and insufficientbudget.”

The new deal will provide “a good chance to stop or at least reduce the bleeding now and deliver the capabilities our customers need,” he says.

The 2016 charges were the prompt for Enders to restart negotiations with the A400M partner nations—Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the UK—in an attempt to reduce the financial burden on Airbus. Enders has previously said the company had taken on a “lopsided share” of the risk on the program including—unusually—issues related to the Europrop International TP400 engine.



Some customers will draw out their deliveries for the A400M airlifter. Credit: Airbus

The contract amendment—agreed by Airbus, the partner nations and the European defense materiel agency, OCCAR—includes a new delivery plan and road map for the aircraft’s tactical capabilities.

Airbus confirmed in January that the production rate for the airlifter will be slowed starting this year. The company plans to deliver 15 aircraft during 2018 and 11 aircraft in 2019, having delivered 19 in 2017. The adjustments will provide a “sustainable future” for the A400M, Airbus says, and should allow more time to find export customers. So far, the only export order has come from Malaysia, whose four aircraft have now all been delivered.

However, last year Airbus did bid the A400M for several competitions, including in New Zealand (AW&ST Feb. 12-25, p. 37).. The status of a long-rumored but unconfirmed order from Egypt is unclear.

The new delivery plan will mean that Belgium, which had planned to take delivery of its first aircraft in 2019, will now receive it in 2020. Belgium and Luxembourg are the only two partner nations that have yet to take delivery of aircraft.

The production slowdown should also suit several of the partner nations that have attempted to offload some of their orders due to budgetary issues. France officially has 50 A400Ms on order but plans for just 25 to be in service by the end of 2025, according to its recently published military program law.

Issues with the delivery of military capabilities have been a frustration for several nations. Germany has criticized the program strongly as it is having to retain several of its elderly C-160 Transall transports in service because of concerns about the integration of defensive aids on the A400M. France and Germany are also planning to purchase tanker versions of the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules because of difficulties in developing the A400M’s helicopter-refueling capability.

Airbus Defense and Space CEO Dirk Hoke told Aviation Week at the Dubai Airshow last November that the company has made “good progress” in the development of tactical capabilities in key areas such as dropping supplies and troops, self-defense and helicopter air-to-air refueling.

The company is working with Cobham on the development of a modified refueling pod and hose that can extend farther from the A400M, allowing helicopters to refuel in cleaner, less turbulent air away from the airlifter to reduce the risk of potential collision between tanker and receiver.

The French Air Force has reportedly said aircraft availability stands at 35-40%, although this is largely caused by issues with the TP400 engine that led to an inflight shutdown of an engine in early 2016. Problems with the engine’s power gearbox are being solved more slowly than hoped. The fix, known as Pack 2, addresses problems with the input pinion plug, which was found to be prone to cracking. Europrop International is in the process of completing development of the Pack 2 fix, which is due to be certified during the first quarter of 2018, and engines will be retrofitted during engine shop visits, the engine consortium told Aviation Week."

It looks like that Airbus is going to take a big hit again. The production rate is currently slow and this slowing down will make some potential export customers even more wary.
The simple question for NZ is, why bother. There are alternatives which don't have this degree of risk and it's a dog deal if a much used airlifter can only maintain under 40% availability, that is unless you buy double the number.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #34
The KC 390 has far more performance advantages over the C 130, than just speed, and they have already been discussed at length. To the layman 5 to 10 years may seem a good idea, but the reality is that the extensive modern fight test programs and computer simulations covers this very well and this type of aircraft based on commercial practices, that successfully complete these programs go into service with great success and few problems. Embraer as a company have been consistently good at achieving good results. In NZ an expected military equipment life of 30 years can easily extend out to 40 or 50 years.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #35
Sorry, I just don’t see the somewhat larger capacity and speed as off setting the risk of the KC390 versus the C-130J. In any event, the C-2 seems like a better choice, especially in view of the reasons NG suggested, TTP and strengthening NZ’s relationship with Japan.
 

Rob c

Active Member
Sorry, I just don’t see the somewhat larger capacity and speed as off setting the risk of the KC390 versus the C-130J. In any event, the C-2 seems like a better choice, especially in view of the reasons NG suggested, TTP and strengthening NZ’s relationship with Japan.
I certainly would agree that the C 2 would IMO be the best of the current crop of possibilities, possibly a bit expensive for NZ tastes ( it is my favorite ). In the C 130 V KC 390, don't forget the KC 390's better range/payload easy change A.A.R. , modern control systems making updating a lot easier to achieve updating in the future and claimed lower lifecycle costs.
As I have indicated previously I think the risk factor has been significantly over stated and in reality it is minimal. I am of the opinion that no risk means no progress and there is an element of risk in all progress, but managed correctly, this will ensure that there are no long term problems.
 
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swerve

Super Moderator
The C-130 is a 50 year plus design but it seems to find new missions and the upgrades keep coming. Unless a tactical cargo plane comes along with either vertical take off and landing, stealth, or increased load capacity or a combination of these features, I don’t see the Hercules going away anytime soon. The KC390 is faster but is that enough to justify it?
Faster, heavier payload, wider & higher cargo box so can carry larger single items, more payload to distance, every aircraft capable of AAR with a plug-in kit . . . So, not just faster.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #38
I will concede the KC390 offers additional capability over the C-130J but still there is more risk. In any event, the C-2 offers more capability still, perhaps less risk and would strengthen NZ’s defence relationship with Japan. There could be TTP advantage as well.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
I will concede the KC390 offers additional capability over the C-130J but still there is more risk. In any event, the C-2 offers more capability still, perhaps less risk and would strengthen NZ’s defence relationship with Japan. There could be TTP advantage as well.
With a payload of around 20 t, the KC390 can reach 2600 km, the A400M 6400 km and the C-2 even 7600 km. So for a country like NZ, an A400M or a C-2 would indeed be a better choice i think...
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
The RMAF has taken delivery of a number of Cobham refueling pods for use with its A400Ms. Word is out that the RMAF will deploying a couple of A400Ms for this year's Pitch Black in Australia.
 

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