As partner governments head for another showdown with EADS over the climbing costs and lengthy delays associated with the Airbus Military A400M, there was good news for the program on December 11 when the first aircraft took to the air.
Eurocopter on October 22 launched a reorganization effort to address a slump in orders and shortcomings in areas where until recently CEO Lutz Bertling had been trumpeting the company’s strength. Eurocopter’s goal with the so-called Shape program is to save money, simplify processes and further invest in future products. Shape succeeds Vital, which the company launched in 2005 to facilitate a swift production ramp-up.
Britain’s AeroSpace, Defence and Security (ADS) trade association is making
its airshow debut here in Dubai this week (UK Pavilion, Stand W128A). The group formally began operations last month following the merger of the Society of British Aerospace Companies, the Association of Police and Public Security Suppliers and the Defence Manufacturers Association.
EADS and Eurocopter last month signed a cooperation agreement with sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna to create a public-private joint venture in Kazakhstan. Under the agreement, EADS and Eurocopter will transfer “skills and know-how”
Here at NBAA as a first-time exhibitor, Liebherr-Aerospace (Booth No. 4073) is rapidly gaining ground in the Americas and other parts of the world and developing new products for aircraft interiors. Its parent company, Liebherr-International in Bulle, Switzerland, opened its first U.S. operation in Saline, Mich., and recently has moved more aggressively to gain market share in the Western Hemisphere.
Anxious to demonstrate progress toward a first flight, Airbus Military will hold another technical press briefing on the troubled A400M airlifter in Spain next week. Ahead of the meeting, the company told AIN that Europrop had delivered Fadec software for the TP400 engines, so that system integration tests could proceed on the so-called “iron bird” test rig in Toulouse, France.
A second copy of the Barracuda combat UAV demonstrator made four successful flights from Goose Bay, Labrador, according to EADS. The first Barracuda crashed on an early test flight in Spain in 2006. The demonstrator flew autonomously with monitoring from the ground station for safety purposes only, EADS said. The tests form part of the “Agile UAV in Network Centric Environment (NCE)” study commissioned by the German Defence Ministry.
At face value, Europe’s EADS group appeared to come off slightly worse than its U.S. rival Boeing from financial results announced in late July. EADS reported a 23-percent drop in operating profits for the first half of this year, compared with a 22-percent decline at Boeing over the same period.
The Romanian air force took delivery of its first Alenia C-27J Spartan at Bucharest-Otopeni air base. Seven Spartans are on order to replace the last of Romania’s Communist-era transports and to bolster the transport fleet’s ability to support international operations. The last aircraft is due in 2012.
Airbus and Northrop Grumman are reluctant to discuss the status of the two KC-45s (A330s) built for the KC-X USAF tanker competition in advance of the award of the contract to Northrop Grumman by the Pentagon last year. Northrop Grumman offered the aircraft as proof of its serious intent in pursuing the requirement. The first KC-45 was flown to Dresden for the addition of a main-deck cargo door by EADS-EFW.