Airbus Defence and Space Military Aircraft is scheduled to deliver the first of 22 A400M airlifters to the Royal Air Force in September. The delivery of aircraft MSN15 not only will mark the start of operations by a third country, but also represents the introduction of new capabilities as an important step along the type’s development roadmap. To get those capabilities into service has necessitated an intensive flight-trial campaign in the first part of this year.
The Brazilian air force formally committed to the KC-390 airlifter last month, signing a $3.2 billion contract for 28 aircraft in a ceremony at Embraer’s São Paulo facility. The event was attended by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff. Final assembly of the first of two KC-390 prototypes is slated to start this month.
Airbus has suggested civilian operation of the A400M airlifter for disaster relief flights. At a media briefing during the ILA Berlin airshow last week, Norbert Kolvenbach, vice president for public affairs Germany, noted that the aircraft is already certified by EASA. He floated the idea of a “supranational” operator, such as the United Nations. “The A400M could be interesting,” said Birgitte Stalder-Olsen, head of logistics for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), at the same briefing.
Boeing delivered the first of an expected two C-17 Globemaster III airlifters to Kuwait on February 13, leaving the company’s Long Beach, Calif., plant with 20 more jets to build before production ends.
A recent order for two Alenia C-27J Spartans by Peru has highlighted a new way to assess the merits of airlifters, which the company labels as “transport productivity.” Rather than use traditional methods of assessing operating costs, such as cost per flying hour, it is better to evaluate the transport cost per ton/mile, asserted Giovanni Timossi, Alenia’s v-p international sales for Asia and Oceania.
Prime Minister David Cameron and French President François Hollande, together with their respective defense ministers Philip Hammond and Jean-Yves Le Drian, announced a series of new defense deals, building on the greater co-operation between the countries outlined in the 2010 Lancaster House agreement.
Airbus Military and Alenia Aermacchi have performed firefighting trials of their competing tactical airlifters, the C295 and the C-27J, respectively. As defense budgets tighten, both companies are hoping to sell new, cost-effective applications such as these.
Airbus Military has launched operations at a services logistics hub at its Seville production facility. The 27,000-sq-ft hub is staffed by 100 people who manage approximately 22,500 different part numbers. It provides spares for the company’s A330MRTT, A400M, C295 and CN-235 series of airlifters and tankers, and their ground equipment. It is certified to EASA Part 145 standards.
C-17 production will end in 2015, Boeing announced. Denis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, described the decision as “difficult but necessary.” Since production of the heavy airlifter for the U.S. Air Force began winding down some years ago, Boeing has extended the line every six months, based on signed or anticipated export orders.
In ceremonies at the Seville factory and at Orleans airbase on September 30, Airbus Military and the French Air Force celebrated the entry into service of the A400M airlifter. No new aircraft were handed over, but delivery of the second aircraft for France and the first for Turkey will occur by the end of October.
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