“It’s clear for us that this is the year of the A400M. The aircraft is ready, and it will be the reference for the next 30 years.” These were the words of Airbus Military’s Domingo Ureña-Raso, speaking just prior to the Paris Air Show.
Europe’s A400M airlifter was named Atlas, after the Greek god who carried the world on his shoulders, last Friday in a rain-soaked ceremony at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), RAF Fairford. The aircraft, which is the first production representative aircraft (MSN6), repositioned from Fairford to the Farnborough static park yesterday.
This year should prove to be a momentous one for the Airbus Military A400M. On the last day of April, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) granted the multinational airlifter–also dubbed the Grizzly–its initial type certification shortly after the five-aircraft test fleet had notched up the type’s 1,000th flight.
The Airbus Military A400M is spreading its wings, as the once-troubled program makes progress toward first delivery early next year. The airlifter went to South America last month and Southeast Asia this week, for viewing by potential customers. The company said last November that it hopes to sell about 300 A400Ms over the next 20 years, and that the first production slots for new customers are available in 2016-17.
Airbus Military has begun final assembly of the first production A400M, slated for the French Air Force. The company says that delivery of this aircraft (MSN7) is on schedule for the first quarter of 2013, thanks to good progress in the flight-test program.
The last-minute problem with the gearbox of the TP400D-6 turboprop engine, which led to the decision to cancel the spectacular Airbus A400M flying display at the Paris Air Show, has still not been resolved, Europrop International (EPI) said.
The malfunction occurred on Thursday last week on an A400M flight-test aircraft, though not the one that flew into Le Bourget to be on display.
An engine gearbox anomaly picked up during flight testing of an Airbus A400M has prompted Airbus Military to withdraw its new military transport aircraft from the daily flying program here at the Paris Air Show.
“The A400M had a small incident with the gearbox of one aircraft,” said Airbus Military CEO Domingo Ureña. “We are waiting for the full analysis before restarting flight tests.”
EADS announced “the conclusion” of talks to amend the Airbus A400M airlifter development and production contract with the seven European partner nations.
Robust and versatile, the series of small-medium tactical transports designed by CASA in Spain are still enjoying steady sales after more than 40 years. Now owned by EADS and marketed by Airbus Military, the C-212, CN-235 and C-295 have logged 817 sales to 127 operators in 58 countries. “These aircraft are little jewels. They are our bread-and-butter, and deserve more headlines,” said Airbus Military CEO Domingo Urena.
Germany is negotiating to reduce the number of A400M airlifters that it will receive from Airbus Military. Like the UK, it wants to take a cut in fleet size as its contribution to the €2 billion of additional A400M funding that was agreed in principle by the seven European customer nations last March.
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