Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A400M: Just in case our ace defence reporters miss this

The French miltary expect a year's delay:
European aerospace manufacturer EADS is expected to decide soon on a delay of several months for the delivery of its military transport plane the A400M, sources said on Tuesday.

The new delay comes after Airbus said in July that the first flight of the A400M would be later than expected.

Sources familiar with the matter said delivery of the first A400Ms to the French airforce could be moved back from October 2009 to mid-2010.

At the end of September, the specialist magazine Air et Cosmos said the French defence ministry was expecting a delay of a year in deliveries.

Airbus has already been battered by delays in its superjumbo A380 plane, which was finally delivered to its first customer, Singapore Airlines, on Monday.

Industrial sources said the delay to the A400M was due to "slower than expected" development of the TP400 turboprop engines by the European engine company EPI, made up of France's Snecma, Germany's MTU, Britain's Rolls-Royce and Spain's ITP.

EADS officials acknowledged at the beginning of the year that there were delays on the assembly line and on the date of the first flight...
H/t to Norman's Spectator.


Blogger Chris Taylor said...

This story just gets better and better. And yet the NATO launch customers (Germany, France, Spain, UK, Turkey, Belgium and Luxembourg) plus South Africa and Malaysia are still firmed up for 192 orders.

I suppose at this point the Euro aerospace industry is so dependent on its launch that if EADS said the A400M would be a non-flying 5t utility truck, they'd still be lined up to buy some.

5:23 p.m., October 16, 2007  
Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

I suppose at this point the Euro aerospace industry is so dependent on its launch that if EADS said the A400M would be a non-flying 5t utility truck, they'd still be lined up to buy some.

Bingo, Chris. As would those within the Canadian chattering class who would have us buy anywhere but from the Americans, quality of goods, price, and timeliness be damned.

6:33 p.m., October 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

upgrading it to a five ton utility truck is generous . . . it is more akin to an Iltis.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

How many of our 17's will be on the ramp in Trenton by next July ??

6:45 p.m., October 16, 2007  
Blogger Chris Taylor said...

By next July? All four, unless Boeing has a production delay. The second C-17 is due up here before the end of this month, and the remaining two are slotted for Q2 2008. So next summer we'll have the whole fleet -- although I'm sure not all of them will be on the ramp at home field at the same time.

8:28 p.m., October 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all four delivered and operational before the competition gets airborne.

Or we could have waited years for the A400M "Bratwurst" to be delivered.

'nuff said.

8:42 a.m., October 17, 2007  
Blogger Gilles said...

From this Flug Review Article

On June 9 2000, Germany and France declared their intention during a summit meeting at Mainz. This came after long deliberations in the German defence ministry, where studies by the military had found the Antonov An-7X as a superior and cheaper solution. But on the political level, a commitment to Europe was preferred.

The engine selection, originally due in the spring of 1999, was continually delayed. At first two different European consortia – Rolls Royce and Turboprop International – were offering competing designs. Political pressure then led to the signature of a memorandum of agreement for collaboration on a three-shaft turboprop on 28 August 2000. Not surprisingly, this design (TP400) was then chosen by Airbus Military on 30 November 2000, thus satisfying UK demands to include Rolls Royce and bringing all relevant European power plant houses together.

On 30 April 2003, Airbus chief executive Noel Forgeard declared that the Pratt & Whitney Canada engine offer was around 20 per cent cheaper than its European rival, and would be chosen now if there was no "political dimension” to the decision.

On 6 May 2003, Airbus declared that it had chosen the TP400-D6 as the engine for the A400M. This was after EPI had made substantial last minute price and contractual concessions. Also, heavy political pressure from France probably played its part in tilting the balance towards the European solution. The decision was approved by the EADS Board of Directors under Manfred Bischoff and Arnaud Lagardère.

1) The German Military, the main buyers for the FLA that became the A400M, wanted the Antonov 70 but political pressure imposed the A400M on them.
2) Proven and established engine manufacturers were rejected in favour of a politically acceptable consortium of several European Engine Manufacturer.
3) The cheaper, and safer Pratt and Whitney Canada engine proposal was also rejected because of political interference.

The result: a 47 tonne payload, far superior, 3 times cheaper, nearly certified and flying An-70 is rotting in Kiev in favour of a 35 tonne payload aircraft that does not exist. The Official reason? Unreliable supply of parts on the long term from a politically unstable country too close to Russia. The real reason: the same reason why they rejected the Pratt and Whitney Canada engine proposal.

Mistake number one was not going with the Antonov. Mistake number two was not going with established engine manufacturers.

And all you great Canadian Patriots, instead of perhaps suggesting that things would be better had Airbus accepted the Canadian engine, and Canada ordered some 20 A400Ms with PWC engines, can only gloat about the American product that Canada chose to purchase instead.

What exactly are we proud about in this case, I fail so see.

10:43 a.m., October 17, 2007  
Blogger Chris Taylor said...

I'm surprised this even has to be mentioned out loud.

Airbus can order 80 PWC Canada engines or 8,000 of them. The important thing is not a matter of which nation gets the manufacturing revenue or who companies were overlooked in any bidding process.

The important thing is the rapid, reliable fielding of the operational capability. Whether it is Canadian-made or Russian-made or squirrel-made is beside the point.

The An-70 may be tested and certified, but it's also racked up one hull loss and zero launch customers. Whereas there are 160+ C-17s flying now for four countries, they have racked up over 100,000 hours flown (thus considered a "mature" weapon system now), and they've seen over ten years' service with zero hull losses.

That is a sizeable and statistically significant difference.

11:22 p.m., October 17, 2007  

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