Airbus A400M program in doubt: report

Just so readers don’t think Boeing is the only one with problems, Germany’s Der Spiegal reports things may be going far south with the Airbus A400M. Here’s their report, via Business Week.

3 Comments on “Airbus A400M program in doubt: report

  1. This report is not carrying anything new. Germany is still not very keen on that project as it was not before the launch. It was very enthusiastic about the An-70 at the beginning, then it scaled the commitment to the A400M from about 90 to 60 units, pushing the price/plane up and annoying other countries. Interesting quote by Enders regarding the engines:
    “It wasn’t the preference of Airbus,” Enders says of the cobbled-together team. Rather, it was a political decision to make the project a European one.
    ———
    And that’s where the problems are. Airbus signed up for a project full of political mines.

    Now the weight problems. The project does suffer from it, 10-12 tons is what I heard, however it does not prevent an airplane flying. As Enders said: “We could have flown the plane in October if we had the engines”. To counter the problem the MTOW has been raised by 10 tons and various weight saving initiatives shaving more than half of the 12 tons being introduced for MSN 7 or even earlier MSN 5.

    Latest I heard is first flight towards the end of the year. The race with the 787 is ON! 🙂

  2. This program has been a political football from day one. How else do you explain that the country with the most orders is judged as not being too keen on the program and then being blamed for the cost increasing due to parliamentary budget cuts? Like the UK has never had that! =:-)

    I find it ludicrous that EADS (Enders/Gallois) are now demanding that the contract & technical specs be rewritten due to the incompetence of their predecessors.

    Final line is EADS signed the contract, complete with the political engine supplier. Sure they can threaten to cancel the program but who is going to count on them as a competent, reliable supplier after such an incident?

    This is surely not helping their tanker case. Not by a long shot.

    But that has been the EADS MO for at least the last 6 years now, starting with the A380 debacle.
    Blame somebody else for problems of their own making (something they learned quite well from Boeing).

    They have no control or oversight and keep shopping out more and more work to inexperienced (cheap) suppliers while having a young and inexperienced middle managment who know more about excel and powerpoint than they do about actual engineering work.

    The CATIA V4/V5 issue was real but was only the tip of the iceberg. They merely managed to keep their other problems better hidden than Boeing has on the 787.

    Sorry for the rant. Have a nice weekend!

  3. OK, so it’s very difficult to birth a totally new airframe, what else is new? I think the boys at BUS should be commended for their efforts. The tired old C-130 should have been redesigned years ago with a larger improved airframe and bigger more fuel efficient engines and does big B have any original concepts, ever! I mean how hard is it to see that by relocating the wing on the 747 to the top of the fuselage and some creative engineering, what a great transport. Come on guys nothing is set in stone when it come to airframes, get creative and fill the needs, what the crap did you go to school for anyway. Too many good ideas never see the light of day and what does it cost, a little computer time! It’s not like you have to actually build something to prove a concept.

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