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JSF and A400M at risk?

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JSF and A400M at risk?

Old 14th Jan 2009, 20:49
  #261 (permalink)  
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How about the ones parked up at DM, surely they would be fine?
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Old 16th Jan 2009, 07:42
  #262 (permalink)  
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Putting on the Pressure

EADS making some interesting comments in the USA. I assume the currency coming up as a dot is the Euro.

A400M contract 'Mission Impossible'
Date:15th Jan 2009
Source: Army Technology
Link: Army Technology

NORTH AMERICA - The head of planemaker Airbus called the way the delayed A400M airlifter project was conceived a 'recipe for disaster' and said the •20bn ($26.3bn) fixed contract would make rivals weep.

Parent EADS last week called for changes in the way Europe's largest single military procurement deal is carried out and requested more time to carry out plane tests. The move followed delays which EADS blames on a group of engine makers.

"We want to continue the programme, but we want to continue it in a way that ensures success for the customers and success for the industry," Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said on Thursday. "With the current contractual and organisational set-up we will not get there; this is a recipe for disaster".

He added: "It is mission impossible."

Enders suggested the project designed to renew transport capacity for seven Nato countries needed a significant overhaul. It is two years late, but EADS wants to add another year to stabilise the project and says it was unfairly saddled with all the risk.

"It would be irresponsible to continue on the current track, so our task is not to put the programme back on track but to put it on a new, solid and realistic footing in terms of the schedule, the organisation and finance," Enders said.

Britain this week said a three to four-year delay was unacceptable.

EADS faces steep penalties under the contract. It was drawn up initially on purely commercial terms, which is considered unusual for a military deal.

EADS chief executive Louis Gallois said on Tuesday the company had made an error by accepting the A400M deal in 2003.

Critics of the project say it was distorted by political meddling, particularly in the choice of a European engine consortium, but Germany has pressured EADS to honour the deal.

Enders said US rivals, many of whom get paid on guaranteed cost-plus contracts, would be appalled at the deal.

"Our American colleagues would run away crying if they were obliged to step up into the A400M contract," he said.

So far at least, one US contractor seems to be celebrating.

Lockheed Martin expects to sell more of its competing C-130J transport planes as a result of the A400M delays, a senior company executive told Reuters earlier this month.

EADS has taken •1.7bn in charges on the A400M and is expected to add more once negotiations over the programme's future with member countries have provided firm direction.


Last edited by John Blakeley; 16th Jan 2009 at 10:08.
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Old 16th Jan 2009, 09:34
  #263 (permalink)  
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"Lockheed Martin expects to sell more of its competing C-130J transport planes as a result of the A400M delays, a senior company executive told Reuters earlier this month."

Yes please Mr
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Old 16th Jan 2009, 10:46
  #264 (permalink)  
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The C-130J is too small for FRES or FCS and even the Stryker has to be stripped of it's armour. That's why AJACS is being looked at. So the only real currently available replacement is the C-17, and how much are they each?
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Old 16th Jan 2009, 14:57
  #265 (permalink)  
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pretty cheap as it goes. 1/4 of a billion US.

Well, cheap when you consider how much is going on bank bailouts that is!!
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Old 16th Jan 2009, 16:47
  #266 (permalink)  
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The C-130J is too small for FRES

Quite right, and this is too often ignored. The limitations imposed by the C130 payload capability mean that to design FRES around C130 would significantly reduce its survivability in some roles.

The normal way of expressing such requirements in a URD is the ability to deploy a platform (e.g. FRES) and its associated manpower and equipment a given distance in a single lift. I seem to recall this was deemed to be around 2000nm (Akrotiri?). Similarly, the requirement to deploy a FRES battlegroup is what determines the numbers of these aircraft we need.

A C130-only fleet is non-compliant with these deployment requirements and consequently a major dependency of the FRES programme is that we have the proper mix of C130, A400, C17 and access to the US C17 fleet. I believe the baseline originally used by FRES was the Strategic Defence Review aircraft numbers, which is now quite dated. Any reduction immediately compromises FRES.

The understanding of these interdependencies is crucial, and any slippage or changes in one programme requires immediate revalidation of the other(s). One could be cynical and say there are probably quite a few in MoD corridors of power who don’t care if A400 is delayed, because is provides a ready made excuse to realign (i.e. slip) dependent programmes, like FRES. This is common practice (it happened on AH) and is one of the many causes of cost overruns and delays which can’t be pinned on procurers. This works both ways – it can be used to hide undeclared slippage in other programmes!
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Old 16th Jan 2009, 17:52
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UK reveals 'contingency plans' following fresh A400M delay

Contingency plans afoot.

I mentioned this before in jest: Would it not be more prudent and risk-mitigating if the A400M were reconsidered as supplementing and then replacing the prematurely knackered J's at the end of the next decade. C-17's clearly the sensible choice to take the strain. Seems almost pragmatic given the schedule sliding shambles that (unsurprisingly) the A400 programme has become.

Nothing against the concept, Airbus just seem to have woefully underestimated the complexity of the mil airlifter and its engine.
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Old 16th Jan 2009, 22:46
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It is not like Airbus and the rest of the EADS consortium do this for a living!! or B.

With the current round of savings that have to be made, surely this is one project that could be scrapped and have the money 'invested' in the operationally proven platforms J/C-17.

I understand each J is approx £50m, and would therefore expect the C17 to be £1-150M, again even after buying ourselves out of this white elephant we could procure a substantial number of other airframes.
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Old 17th Jan 2009, 09:14
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Unfortunately the C-130 is now no longer big enough to carry modern equipment.

Most vehicles are now too large or heavy to be carried by C-130s.

We need a mixed fleet, hub and spoke, to enable full force projection.

Doesn't have to be A400M - more C17s - 'Fat' C-130s?
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Old 17th Jan 2009, 09:31
  #270 (permalink)  
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The USAF A-400M equivalent, AJACS/AM-X, won't hit the street till 2020 at the earliest. So it's wait for the A-400M or buy more C-17s.

I would suggest that we could do worse than also looking at the C-27J as a tactical/SF aircraft at the low end; it can't lift FRES, but neither can the C-130J, but has many tactical advantages and is cheaper. The money saved on buying a couple of C-27J instead of a C-130J at one end of the spectrum would provide the funds for a C-17 instead of a couple of C-130Js at the other.

Yes, we would end up with a 3 type fleet, but we'll end up with that with C-130J, A-400M and C-17 anyway.......
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Old 17th Jan 2009, 19:43
  #271 (permalink)  
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No cigar

Read on a defence blog that one EADS top brass and at least one country participating in the program are considering binning the whole thing...
As a govt, I suppose you have to balance what you've spent against what you have to spend, and for the moment not much has been spent on this clusterf***
Shame, I was getting really fluent in payloads and capabilities of the all the transport acft by reading this thread...
guess we're gonna have to talk JSF again...
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Old 17th Jan 2009, 20:44
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It wont get cancelled for one reason.

Governments are spinning up the printing presses. Cash is getting destroyed faster than its being created at the moment. They are going to print a shedload, so why not spend it on projects that will keep their home nation citizens employed? Unfortunately more C-17s and C-130Js doesnt create more british aerospace jobs. A400M does. That Cyclops-eyed commie is going to reinflate like Labour did in the 70s.

Lets face it, in 10 years if we have 25 A400M and a load of C-17s, we will have a 2 fleet hub/spoke AT fleet which supports current ops, future ops and FRES.

Last edited by VinRouge; 17th Jan 2009 at 20:57.
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Old 18th Jan 2009, 00:57
  #273 (permalink)  
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Prediction: C130 production ends before C-17.
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Old 18th Jan 2009, 02:43
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Modern Elmo,

Intriguing prediction! Fascinated to see if you are right.
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Old 20th Jan 2009, 11:45
  #275 (permalink)  
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Long and quite interesting article entitled "Analysis - Where next for the A400M" on Flight International. The first part of the analysis goes over the information etc released earlier this month then goes on:-
Unlike with the Airbus A380, where development work had been under way for around four years before product launch, or the A350, which deployed derivative engines and a derivative cockpit, detailed engineering work on the A400M did not start until the contract was live. Gallois says this required EADS to "start from scratch" with every item, adding that the project's complexity exceeds that of the Dassault Rafale or Eurofighter combat aircraft, and requires both military and EASA civil certification. EADS has "a big share of the responsibility for the underestimation", he says, but "it is not alone".

In a bid to repair the damage with his customers, Gallois last week revealed a surprise "bridging solution", under which EADS has proposed supplying modified A330s and "other airplanes" to A400M customers that require interim lift. Admitting that the A330 could only fill "a limited part of the gap", he says: "It can't be the only solution: but it could be part."

The initiative would enable the UK and other customers to use A330s to transport troops and freight, freeing assets such as Boeing C-17s and Lockheed Martin C-130s for frontline duties. Preparing the civil type for such a role would require reinforcing the cockpit and avionics systems, incorporating an inert gas generating system and installing directional infrared countermeasures equipment.

A330s are already due for delivery to the UK Royal Air Force through its Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme, and the Ministry of Defence had already been investigating the possibility of accelerating the type's availability from a current first delivery in 2011. But while the FSTA fleet could resolve a persistent problem in sustaining an "airbridge" between the UK and Afghanistan and Iraq, now provided primarily using the RAF's aged Lockheed TriStars, it would not address the UK's looming tactical transport crisis.

Fatigue on the RAF's C-130Ks and newer C-130Js makes the A400M's availability vital, with deliveries originally scheduled between 2010 and 2015. Hutton's comments fell short of threatening to withdraw from the A400M project: a move which would have serious financial and political implications, and potentially also damage the interests of British industry, which has hundreds of employees working on the aircraft, including in the final assembly of its composite wing. But the MoD says a range of options are being considered, including "reallocating assets, extending the out-of-service date of the C-130K and leasing or procuring additional assets - for example C-17s or C-130s".


While asserting the need for "a clear, visible time schedule", Gallois is unable to commit to a date for the A400M's first flight, saying only that it will happen one month after delivery of the full-authority digital engine control software for its Europrop International TP400-D6 turboprop engines. The FADEC issue is on "the critical path", he adds.

Industry sources say the one TP400 flown for the first time on a C-130 testbed in the UK on 17 December has been given a clean bill of health following post-flight inspections, and that the aircraft should return to the sky before the end of January. Initially flown at around 30-35% of its 10,000shp (7,460kW) output, the powerplant could be taken to maximum power after between seven and 10 test flights, one source adds. Enders believes the testbed could conclude its work "in the next couple of months", enabling the first A400M to fly later this year.

EADS says it could have flown the A400M last October, had the final FADEC software been available, and blames the engine choice for many of the A400M's problems. The EPI consortium started work on the TP400 at the behest of the programme's partner nations, while the airframer had opted to acquire an off-the-shelf solution from Pratt & Whitney Canada. This compromise was one of the project's most risky, and damaging decisions.
Difficult to see a realistic achievable interim solution to covering the UK's tactical airlift requirements. But there again, I am only an interested onlooker who relies on information in the public domain. I'm sure the 'powers-that-be' have a contingency plan up their collective sleeves and all will be well - NOT.
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Old 20th Jan 2009, 13:00
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reallocating assets, extending the out-of-service date of the C-130K and leasing or procuring additional assets - for example C-17s or C-130s".
Not a hope in hell of extending the C130Ks - no budget available!

As well as needing new wing spars they also require a whole avionics upgrade to keep flying in European and North American airspace past 2012!

More C17s and C130Js required immediately for Tac Airlift.

A330s with OBIGGS, DAS, flight deck armour and LAIRCM? How long will that take? Crews? Training?

Roll-on the 'perfect storm' of 2012
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Old 20th Jan 2009, 16:19
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Can someone remind me whose decision it was to go for a brand new prop design for the A400 (Probably back in the Euroflag or FLA days) rather than using a proven jet engine?

My memory says France, but that might just be national predjudice!
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Old 20th Jan 2009, 16:23
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Did they have a turboprop big enough though already though for the 400? (SHP?)

M.54 I reckon would take a hell of a lot of poke without new, modern engines.

Add to that the problems with older fuel burn and the effect hence on mission payload.

Just a few ideas why they stuck with creating new donks.

Last edited by VinRouge; 20th Jan 2009 at 16:37.
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Old 20th Jan 2009, 22:34
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IIRC the original plan was for a jet powered aircraft, but one of the original partners insisted on a prop - inspite of there not being a suitable prop available. My thought was France as the original plan was for a SNEMCA based engine
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Old 21st Jan 2009, 06:03
  #280 (permalink)  
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FLA 'solution 10' was indeed a 4-jet design. However, A400M is based upon 'solution 58' or thereabouts. Over the years, the quoted engine power has increased considerably.......

The fin and tailplane were redesigned very late in the programme and the unusual engine rotation pattern was firmed up.

I'm not convinced that the TPA400 software is the only issue holding up the aircraft's progress....
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