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JSF and A400M at risk?

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JSF and A400M at risk?

Old 19th Feb 2009, 09:40
  #361 (permalink)  
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Defpro.Daily: Abandoning the A400M programme means losing European sovereignty

L'Airbus militaire A400M sur le ‘chemin critique’ de l'Europe de la défense

07:27 GMT, February 19, 2009

On 10 February 2009 the French Senate unveiled a report entitled “L'Airbus militaire A400M sur le ‘chemin critique’ de l'Europe de la défense” – “The A400M Military Airbus on the critical path for European defense,” which was jointly prepared by the Senate’s foreign affairs and finance committees.

For the first time, an official report reveals that the A400M is facing significantly greater technical problems and delays than have previously been disclosed.

The report notes that the delivery of the Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC) for its EPI TP400-D6 turboprop engines is now scheduled for October 2009, two years later than the original plan. Nearly identical delays are also expected for the navigation systems, Flight Management System (FMS) built by Thales, the GPS Air Data Inertial Reference System (GADIRS) built by Sagem, as well as the Terrain-Reference Navigation System (TRN) and the Terrain Masking Low Level Flight system (TM-LLF), both built by EADS Military Air Systems.

The first flight is expected to be delayed by about two years. Due to these delays, the delivery of the first A400M will not take place before late 2012, the report predicts.


Further, it is anticipated that the first aircraft to be delivered will have a number of constrictions: According to the report, the aircraft will be 12 tonnes heavier than originally designed, which could affect the planned payload of 37 tonnes. The report also said that the first A400M aircraft would have a reduced speed, not allowing the aircraft to operate in more sophisticated flight modes. Scheduled deliveries of the full operational aircraft would begin one year later.


Also, the aircraft unit price has increased from €110 million at 1998 values to a currently estimated €145 million. This price tag is 31 percent higher than originally budgeted for and EADS has demanded further price increases. €5 billion have already been paid by the countries financing this program.

Causes for developmental deficits

Since the beginning, the participating nations had significantly different requirements for the new transport aircraft. The UK Armed Forces needed a new fleet of military transport aircraft by 2004 and any delay beyond that date would have caused a loss in operational capabilities.

The German Armed Forces had more time, since their C-160 transport aircraft did not need to be replaced before 2008. Indeed, the German military focused on reducing the price of the A400M project. However, for Spain the A400M programme marked a unique opportunity for its nation’s aircraft industry to take part in this highly prestigious programme. The report also said France had a similar position to the UK, but remains committed towards solidifying joint European defence cooperation.

Additionally, the report detailed causes for developmental inadequacies in technical aspects of the project since the A400M created a design challenge as it combines tactical as well as strategic airlift capabilities. The partner-countries requested the aircraft be powered with a completely new high-power turboprop engine, which became another such challenge. The participating countries also chose to install a unique aviation suite into the aircraft.

According to the report, even by assuming a comfortable 80% chance for success in each of the three main challenges, the programme as a whole had no more than a 50% chance of success.

The original goal for the A400M was to build a completely new aircraft to be delivered within a very rigid time frame and at a very low cost, the report said.

EADS itself sought to challenge Boeing’s market position and clearly underestimated the technical challenges to be overcome.
According to the report, OCCAr (the European organisation for joint armament cooperation, Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement) which managed the A400M programme, never received the management resources or authority to provide effective oversight. This resulted in each change in the programme needing to be approved by all participating countries, causing further delays and complications.

Next steps

The report stated that major deadlines must be met in the coming weeks.

OCCAr is expected to present a comprehensive review of the programme by the end of February 2009. The report also pointed out that the contract stipulates that if the first flight is delayed by more than 14 months, participating nations have a legal right to abandon the programme in a collective or individual decision and demand their funding payments be returned. Since the first flight was scheduled for January 2008, this deadline expires in April 2009, which means that any decision about the future of the programme has to be taken by April 2009.

The report also noted that the programme runs at a loss and since aircraft deliveries have been greatly delayed this would allow governments to ask for major penalties, which would place EADS into a precarious financial situation. At the same time, the report stated that the European aerospace and defence giant should not be weakened since it is a part of the European sovereignty.

The report concludes that cancellation of the programme would entail very severe consequences for all involved. EADS and the entire European aerospace and defence industry would face large financial losses and would also lose its credibility as a major industrial programme partner. The participating nations would lose the European-built aircraft they sought to create and would find only US alternatives, leaving the military transport aircraft sector to the US. Further abandoning of the programme will be accompanied by losses of jobs and know-how and European sovereignty, the report stated.

For these reasons, the authors very strongly suggest that all nations, as well as the industrial partner, should reach agreement as quickly as possible to ensure the success of the programme.
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 13:54
  #362 (permalink)  
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Why snub Antonov?

The French Senate report also said that "The An-70 and An-124 aircraft cannot be considered for political and technical reasons (certification)"

The An-124 is a strategic Transport (like the C-17) but still, around 1999, Air Foyle of the UK determined that they could produce within a couple years a "westernized" version of the An-124 called the An-124-210 with RR engines and western avionics. The UK MOD concurred, except they claimed it would take longer than Air Foyle claimed (4 years vs 2)
(House of Commons - Public Accounts - Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence)

About the An-70 now. Back in 1999, Germany thought well about the An-70 and mandated DASA to go to to Ukraine to study the AN-70 and determine if that aircraft met the specifications for the FLA and could meet Western Europe's certification. DASA which, as a Western European company preferred the A-400M project in which it would be involved and have more to gain. That DASA report was never published as far as I know, but leaks revealed that the report stated the An-70 would meet the FLA specs after some modifications and was certifiable to Western Europe's Standards. Of course DASA has since been integrated in EADS and is involved in the A-400M proper so they will not publish that report. If only it had been leaked in its entirety.

1999 | 2067 | Flight Archive
Antonov AN-70

As far as ramped airlifters, L-M made the C-130 and the C-141 and the C-5. Douglas made the C-17. Airbus made none (or the C-160, sort of). CASA made the CN-212, the 235 and the 295.

Antonov made the An-8, the An-10, the An-12, the An-22, the An-24, the An-26, the An-28, the An-30, the An-32, the An-38, the An-72, the An-74, the An-124 the An-225 all of which are turbine military-type ramped airlifters of different sizes. These aircraft are all over the World. This company produced more ramped airlifters than any other company in the world. The An-22 was the biggest aircraft in the world and remains to this day the largest turboprop ever made with four 15,000 SHP engines. The An-124 was the largest production aircraft of its time and the An-225 remains today the largest aircraft ever built. It carries 250 tonnes, twice as much as the C-5 Galaxy (which is the largest US aircraft). NATO makes extensive use of An-124s with the SALIS contract.

Here is an interesting document on Aviation related Industries and Ressource located in the Ukraine. Its 44 pages long. Worth every page.
EADS has money and software. Antonov has the experience, know how, and the people.

Antonov is Ukrainian and many the engines that power these machines are also Ukrainian. Developing close commercial and industrial ties with Ukraine would do more to help this country and draw it to western Europe than integrating it in NATO and the EU, and also more than putting Missile shields on their territory. Instead we do our best to isolate them from Russia while at the same time we treat their great and advanced aeronautical industrial know-how as that of an ENEMY nation.

The US, through its control of NATO and with stupid unilateral measures such as the Missile Shield in the Czech Republic and Poland, and by putting constant needless military and political pressure on Russia, is entertaining this climate of fear against Russia that Ukraine keeps getting confused with. The result: extra sales of C-130s, C-17s, F-16s, Apaches, Patriot Missiles, Radars etc from the US. Every time anyone mentions Antonov in North America, they call it RUSSIAN or even SOVIET, to scare people. And Europe eats right out of their hands.

Europe will pay a price for that stupidity. You will all buy C-130s and C-17s.

Last edited by Minorite invisible; 22nd Feb 2009 at 18:01. Reason: typos
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 22:12
  #363 (permalink)  
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There was a time, when I was serving with the RAAF, that the RAF had a good uplift capacity, was a force to be proud of.

Since then we have seen the reduction in capacity of the RAF, fall greatly on the C130. Yes there are other frames there have have done a good job, but they are all rapidly falling by the way.

The A400M was I presume supposed to resolve this issue, and if it had arrived on time, and achieved the specifications all would have been well.

But the aircraft is late, very late and now does not appear to enter service for at least three years.

The prototype has not flown, so we the users are unable to tell with accuracy, that it will do the job.

Running out of airframes must also mean that crews will be hard pressed to remain current, and some in disgust will leave.

For the life of me, I cannot see how the MOD can expect the RAF to carry out this role, without the equipment to do so.

I think it is very sad, and a direct reflection of the MOD, that at least in the cargo type roles, the RAF has been allowed to run down to the stage that it has, with every chance that it will get worse.

All the talk in the world, will not make up for the fact that we are short, very short on capacity to do the tasks. What is sadder is that the MOD does not appear to have a plan to fix it, and to fix it quickly.

Air Forces of the world, aimen of the worlde deserve better than this.


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Old 20th Feb 2009, 00:24
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Also, the aircraft unit price has increased from €110 million at 1998 values to a currently estimated €145 million. This price tag is 31 percent higher than originally budgeted for and EADS has demanded further price increases. €5 billion have already been paid by the countries financing this program.
In which case, as a result of UK/EU and UK/USD exchange rates, C-17 is now cheaper than A400m.

Its a no brainer.

More C-17s it is then.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 00:27
  #365 (permalink)  
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Hmmm... Wednesday, the euro changed hands at 1.2568 dollars.

$220 million per for C-17 export models calculates as €175 million per... compared to a currently estimated €145 million per A400M.

Getting closer to parity, eh?
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 06:58
  #366 (permalink)  
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I would suggest, even if you discount any further price increases, the additional cost of entirely separate supply/support and training chains will more than wipe out that price difference.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 12:03
  #367 (permalink)  
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$ and Euro

You should also consider that export $ is lost money, if you spend money in Europe a lot is returned, earnings paid in wages are taxed, VAT etc. also development loans are repaid and the employment creates further growth.
Its not just a straight sum
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 12:32
  #368 (permalink)  
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Proteus has a good point. I remember reading somewhere that if UK PLC bought entirely british from an entirely british company something like 60% of the apparent outlay ended up straight back in the treasury coffers through corporation tax, income tax (+NI), VAT, vehicle tax, fuel duty etc etc etc.

So the sums aren't always straightforward on a governmental scale, although it's all the same amount of cash out of the defence budget!
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 13:33
  #369 (permalink)  
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I'm more worried about the final performance. 12 tonnes overweight with a target 37 tonnes payload seems awful.

Any idea how much weight can REALISTICALLY be taken out of the design ?

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Old 20th Feb 2009, 13:52
  #370 (permalink)  
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Indeed. Whilst engine software delays are, perhaps, understandable given the complexity of the engine/prop/speed range with which they must cope, quite how can something which was supposed to have 66500 kg OEW now be a massive 18% overweight at 78500-ish kg?
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 15:15
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It's pregnant. It's the only answer....
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 15:50
  #372 (permalink)  
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Old adages

Seems like the old adages from previous collaborated programmes still holds true. In that the eventual cost and delay multiples are the square of the number of nations involved.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 16:34
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pba_target, you're probably right - it's been f***ed about with for so long that it surely must be pregnant by now!!
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 17:20
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Sixth buyer for the C-17. UAE opting for airlift fleet of C-17 and C-130J...

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Old 26th Feb 2009, 07:18
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Sixth buyer for the C-17. UAE opting for airlift fleet of C-17 and C-130J...

A great combination!
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 07:36
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All the arguments point to more C17s and C130Js.

Training costs minimal as fleets currently in service.

Logistics and engineering already in place.

Proven capability as both types currently operate throughout the whole spectrum of ops.

Meanwhile we have a whole C130K sqn on run-down, expecting to be the initial cadre and first A400M Sqn in early 2012

What will we do with a whole sqn of aircrew and support staff when their old aircraft is retired and the new one hasn't even flown yet!!!

The MOD should bite the bullet, cancel A400M and invest now in C17s and C130Js.

Outsize loads can still be moved by charter.
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 08:32
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And, as should come as a surprise to no-one on here, the Govt now think that the FRES program (that was half the reason behind us needing intermediate load lift capability) is, in fact, bollocks.

Who would've thought it......

a whole C130K sqn on run-down, expecting to be the initial cadre
If they ever thought that the first A400 sqn was going to take anything more than their number plate then that sqn were very poorly briefed indeed....
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 10:23
  #378 (permalink)  
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You are quite correct - the Sqn and some of it's personnel were going to be intitial cadre.

Along with a mixture of rotary, ISTAR, AT and AAR crews to provide the mix of operational expertise that the A400M would need.

I believe this was to avoid old fleets taking old habits onto new platforms.

However, all fairly irrelevant when this platform hasn't even flown yet and when it does it will be overweight and at least 2 years late!
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 14:01
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Is there any room for a smaller tactical a/c such as the C27? Another type, more money I suppose but it would be pretty cheap to operate and would take pressure off the 130's and in some ways maybe the Wokka.
Doesn't use the same engine as the 130J ?
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 17:28
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To a degree the RAAF has taken some of the C130 boys to the C17 no problem.

Perhaps the real problem is, there are some jockeying for what is seen as plum posting.

They too if they exist they maybe are in for a rude shock.

If it was a true statement about old habits, with the safety record of the C130 in RAF and RAAF, I would ride the C130 anyday.

Some of the RAF crews must have close to 20,000 hours on type. The A400M has not even flown 2 minutes.


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