Airbus Military is increasingly confident about the technical progress of the A400M airlifter, but has refused to comment on the difficult, ongoing negotiations with the European launch nations over cost and timescale.
As negotiations to secure a future for Europe’s troubled A400M airlifter continue, the UK government is taking the hardest line with Airbus Military, and moving quickly to secure alternative solutions. At the meeting of defense ministers in Seville, Spain, last month, the UK vetoed a Franco-German proposal to delay a final decision until December.
Lockheed Martin can deliver C-130J military transports to the nations affected by the A400M debacle within 36 months, on a sale or lease basis. Longer-term, LM continues to study an “Extra Large” version of the C-130 that could offer the same fuselage cross section as the European airlifter.
Embraer has redesigned its C-390 tactical transport after advice from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). The new configuration has a larger fuselage, a new wing and a T-tail, and therefore now has much less commonality with the EMB-190 regional airliner. The FAB is expected to launch the program with an order for at least 22 aircraft.
Lockheed SP-2H, Reno, Nev., Sept. 1, 2008–The Lockheed Neptune air tanker was destroyed after losing power and crashing two miles from Reno Stead Airport, killing the two ATP-rated pilots and a flight mechanic. A witness who watched the airplane take off reported seeing flames coming from the left engine when the airplane was at about 100 to 300 feet agl. The left wing was engulfed in flames.
Lockheed Martin announced on October 7 a $393.6 million contract to supply four C-130J-30 “stretched” Hercules military transports to the Qatar Emiri Air Force beginning in 2011. This comes a few months after the Qataris signed a deal to acquire from Boeing two C-17s, which will be delivered next summer. Currently the QEAF has no tactical/strategic airlift capability, so the new purchases signal a dramatic change in air force doctrine.
The U.S. FAA granted avionics display provider Barco FAR Part 145 repair station authorization at its service center in Duluth, Georgia. The approval enables Barco to perform maintenance on control display units and flight displays used in a variety of airplanes, including the Boeing 737-700, Lockheed C-130J, Lockheed C-5, Pilatus PC-12 and Grob SPn.
Lockheed Martin has chosen Esterline CMC Electronics (Hall 4 C14a) to supply its TacView portable mission display to meet current and future C-130J mobile display system requirements. Compact and weighing less than four pounds, TacView brings paperless cockpit operations to military environments, while increasing crew efficiency by reducing cockpit workload.
Further delay to the Airbus A400M military transport now seems inevitable. “There’s an obvious risk of slippage,” Carlos Suarez, head of EADS Military Transport Aircraft (MTA), said here at Farnborough. The first A400M ceremonially rolled out from the brand-new final assembly line building at Seville, Spain, on June 26.
Powering the A400M was always going to be a challenge, requiring the development of the Western world’s biggest turboprop, the 11,000-shp TP400-D6, and integrating a host of highly complex systems and associated software. “The complexity of the integration task on the TP400 has been bigger than it was for the Airbus A380,” said Nick Durham, president of Europrop International (EPI).