Boeing wide-open on 777 future: Albaugh

Update, Aug. 1: Dominic Gates  of The Seattle Times has a long article with the views on the 777 successor from Tim Clark, CEO of Emirates Airlines–which operates more 777s than any other airlines.

Original Post:

Boeing has a wide-open mind about how to meet the competition coming from the Airbus 350-1000 to its 777-300ER, says Jim Albaugh, president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The possibilities include and entirely new aircraft; re-winging the -300ER; putting new engines on; and putting a composite fuselage on the airplane.

The latter point is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. Reskinning the 777 would be a massive undertaking and essentially amount to an entirely new airplane.

A new wing and new engines is also the route Airbus tried with the first version of the A350, doing a major upgrade of the A330 to meet the competitive threat of the new Boeing 787. A350 V1 was a market dud, and Airbus redesigned and revamped the concept five more times before coming up with the A350 XWB. This design has proved a success, but Airbus is trying to cover two airplane types and three sub-types—the 787-9, the 777-200 and the 777-300 with the A350-800/900/1000.

The A350-800/900 have sold well but the -1000 so far has officially sold just 75 and possibly 90. Sales have been inhibited in part by the global recession but there is a strong market perception that the -1000 still has a ways to go (final design freeze has slipped from 2010 to 2011 as engineering resources are assigned to the -900, the first scheduled to enter service in 2013), creating uncertainty. Boeing has also done a good job of casting doubt on the -1000, saying it cannot respond for the 777-300ER until more clarity about the -1000 is achieved.

In an interview with Albaugh during the Farnborough Air Show, we asked him about the forthcoming Boeing response to the A350-1000.

“A lot has been said about the A350-1000. Is it real? Do they have to do a new engine to get it done and how soon will they get it done? That’s the one that competes with the 777-300ER,” Albaugh said. “My sense just looking at the airplane is that it is further out than we think and that it will take a more significant investment than we think and probably will require a new engine which will drive a lot of cost into the airplane and drive the cost of that airplane up. I guess what I am saying is that with the -300ER, the economics on paper right now of the -1000 look pretty good but I think that’s going to shrink over time. But my view of competition is that you have to assume they are going to be successful and you have to have something to respond to where the competition is going to go.”

“That’s the most self-serving bullshit I have ever heard,” John Leahy, Airbus COO-Customers, told us Monday. “I’ve sold 90, I’ve got legally binding contracts with performance guarantees. The -1000 is still on track [to 2015 EIS] as far as I know. It absolutely will meet specifications. Our airplanes meet their specs and meet their guarantees.”

(Note that Leahy said he has sold 90 A350-1000s. The June 30 Airbus website shows 75. An MOU for 15 A350s from Hong Kong Airlines was announced at the Air Show, without specifying sub-type.)

Update, July 28: During the 2Q10 earnings call today, Jim McNerney, corporate CEO, said, “I wouldn’t characterize [the A350] as a paper airplane, but it’s pretty close to that. I think we will have clarity in a year or so.

Boeing has promised an answer about the 777 by the end of the year; Leahy thinks it will be two years because Boeing will be forced to first respond to the A320 re-engine plan, expected to be firmed up in the fourth quarter, for the 737. (Leahy also thinks Boeing will re-engine the 737 rather than proceed with a new airplane.)

But what will Boeing do? Albaugh first alluded to the options at the Boeing press briefing during Farnborough, in response to a question. In our interview with Albaugh a day after the briefing, he amplified his comments about the options for the 777.

“We are looking at an airplane that is bigger than the 787, anything from a 787-10 all the way up to a Y-10, which you can think of as a new airplane,” Albaugh told us.

“We saw the 787 cannibalize the profitability of the [Airbus] A330. I think everybody understands that. What we want to make sure doesn’t happen is that the profitability of the Triple 7 and the preference people have for the Triple 7 in the market doesn’t get eaten into by the A350.”

“We’re wide open in terms of what we are considering,” he said. The possibility of reskinning the 777 with a composite fuselage would be a huge undertaking. When Airbus was trying to figure out what to do between A350 V1 and V2, we asked them at the time, Why not just reskin the airplane with composite? The answer was that this would amount to a new airplane and you may as well design a clean-sheet aircraft.

So when Albaugh mentioned the prospect of a composite fuselage for a 777 enhancement during his press briefing, we drove in on this point, relating our years-ago conversion with Airbus.

“If you reskin the airplane, aren’t you doing a new airplane?” we asked.

“Well, you are, but there are a lot of systems associated with an airplane,” Albaugh said. “But I think the only thing you ought to take from that is that Lars (Anderson) has really opened up the aperture and we’re not ruling anything out. We’re going to be driven by what the market wants, the engine companies and to a degree what we can afford to develop.”

Lars Anderson was called out of retirement by Albaugh to head up the 777 futures program.

We also asked Albaugh if a future 777 would be for the -200 and -300, the -300 alone or a -300 and larger. His response:

“Just take a look at the -200 and -300 and how do you make the economics of that airplane better?”

73 Comments on “Boeing wide-open on 777 future: Albaugh

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Boeing wide-open on 777 future: Albaugh « Leeham News and Comment -- Topsy.com

  2. Like the re-engining of the 737, this too will be talked about, considered and evaluated but no decision will be made for several years.

    Boeing does not know the characteristics of the A350 nor its delivery dates. Furthermore it is focused and concentrated on the 787 and its production.

    Much of this talk is genuinely explorative and reflects future thinking and direction, but it should be realized that there is no rush to make a decision and, of course, technology and supply chain are not incidental to the course of action

  3. Chinese whispers suggest the A350-1000 is underpowered. But based on the A330, and to a certain extent the A380, Airbus have a good history of squeezing more preformance out of an underrated aircraft.

    Watch this space, I think.

    • Airbus is pulling an A320 on the widebody market. They will build the A350-900 to be the undisputed leader in its market (like the A320), create a longer range A350-800 that can take advantage of commonality (like the A319) and then finish it with the A350-1000 that will offer superior economics for the capability (like the A321), might even be better than the A380.

  4. Would reskinning be a “retubing” ?
    Would retubing mean barrel sections?

    This would give some indication on what
    Boeing thinks about 787 specific technology
    solutions deep down in their guts.

    Not going head over heals towards carbon on
    the “777 slot” imho could be indicative too.

  5. “That’s the most self-serving bullshit I have ever heard,” John Leahy, Airbus COO-Customers, told us Monday. “I’ve sold 90, I’ve got legally binding contracts with performance guarantees. The -1000 is still on track [to 2015 EIS] as far as I know. It absolutely will meet specifications. Our airplanes meet their specs and meet their guarantees.”

    (Note that Leahy said he has sold 90 A350-1000s. The June 30 Airbus website shows 75. An MOU for 15 A350s from Hong Kong Airlines was announced at the Air Show, without specifying sub-type.)

    Does Leahy really know any sub-type of the A-350 will meet its performance gyarantees? It seems ‘ol John and his company web site don’t keep up with each other.

    http://www.airbus.com/en/aircraftfamilies/a350/efficiency/specifications/a350-1000_specifications/

    As for the B-777NG, Boeing has lots of options and lots of time. It is Airbus up against the clock with the EIS of the A-350-900 in 3 years and the A-350-1000 in 5.

    Leahy is talking about a difference of 15 airplanes between what he thinks he has ‘sold’, and what his company thinks has been ‘sold’. The MOU from Hong Kong Airlines is not a ‘firm sale’, yet.

    Good night, John Boy.

    If Boeing does not put more carbon composiets into the NG B-777, that is far from any indication to the confidence they have in carbon composiets. They obviously do not want a new ‘clean sheet’ airplane for the next B-777. The composits will work for the B-737 replacement as we know that will be a ‘clean sheet’ design.

    • “Does Leahy really know any sub-type of the A-350 will meet its performance gyarantees?”
      I am guessing that being present during various company meetings there is fairly good feedback from ‘Engineering’ about the development of the A350. I think a judgment can be made based on those discussions.

      “It seems ‘ol John and his company web site don’t keep up with each other.”
      Do you expect Airbus to publish detailed specifications on their website at this stage of the development?

      “Boeing has lots of options and lots of time”
      With the 788 EIS and the ramp up, 789 EIS at the end of 2013, 737 NNG and now 777NG, I am not sure they have lots of time. Keep in mind that they need to do something with the 772ER version, which is being directly attacked by the A359. They, cueerently, have no answer to that either.

      “The MOU from Hong Kong Airlines is not a ‘firm sale’, yet.”
      Unless of course by ‘I’ve sold 90, I’ve got legally binding contracts with performance guarantees’, he means another sale is in the air, which hasn’t been announced yet.

      “B-737 replacement as we know that will be a ‘clean sheet’ design”
      I don’t think we know anything yet until Boeing announce what they will do.

  6. It’s a non-sequitur to presume that the legally binding contracts relate to the 90. It could be read as:

    “I’ve sold 90 (firm and MoUs) AND I’ve got [at least 2] legally binding contracts with performance guarantees.”

    Or maybe he’s sold 90 – the Airbus website will be updated around 10 August, and we’ll find out.

    • It is not a non-sequitur that the two are related. He did not parse his sentence, as you did for him. You don’t say, “I have two apples, the fruit is ripe,” while saying the bananas are ripe. He said he had the orders, and he backed that up further by saying he has the binding contracts.

      Gotta say… Knowing Airbus’ history with being on time and on budget, and knowing that they can’t get launch aid for the A350, it’s pretty gutsy putting guarantees on any contract when they just started cutting metal a couple weeks ago.

      Unless, of course, they plan on extorting their customers like the did the A-400 customers… “Oh, all that money you dumped in? We’re gonna keep it and you get nothing unless you pony up more money than we quoted you. These delays and cost overruns may be our fault, but you’re gonna pay for it.” Classic bait and switch!

      • “Unless, of course, they plan on extorting their customers like the did the A-400 customers”
        Comparing a military programme with a civil one is not very useful. Can you tell me which customers did they extort money from when it came to the A380 delays?

        “Knowing Airbus’ history with being on time and on budget…. it’s pretty gutsy putting guarantees on any contract”
        It’s a standard practice. You will not find a contract without this clause especially for a launch customer, be it a B787 or the A350. However the two things are not mutually exclusive. The A380 was late and over budget but met or exceeded all its guarantees.

      • “and knowing that they can’t get launch aid for the A350”

        I would wait and see on that one.

      • Naahhh. The ‘legally binding contracts’ is a rhetorical device to support his point on the performance (as in ‘I’m so confident Albaugh is talking BS that I have guaranteed this to my customers’). It doesn’t have to have anything to do with the number of planes sold.

        As for the rest, do you think Boeing will try to sell its next new plane without a performance guarantee? Do you think any airline would buy a plane without a performance guarantee?

  7. ““Unless, of course, they plan on extorting their customers like the did the A-400 customers”
    Comparing a military programme with a civil one is not very useful. Can you tell me which customers did they extort money from when it came to the A380 delays?”

    It’s amusing how easy it is to “extort” government customers, but with civil projects they make concessions like, low cost “gap filler” aircraft and even maybe a rebate or two.

    And, it’s curious EADS and the EU governments signed a fixed-price contract (was it a PTA type contract?) when history clearly shows a litany of cost overruns and nonperformance with these types of projects. Maybe that’s how “economic nationalism” works. Or maybe it just how very socialistic societies work.

    • “Or maybe it just how very socialistic societies work.”

      You mean like with the C-17 in its first 8 years or so?

      • More like :
        He does not know how his own political setup works and
        he does not know how others work either.
        But he knows that socialist is a bad word to stick to your opponent.
        i.e. it is juvenile name calling 😉

      • The C-17 in its first few years? Yeah, but the difference is that, even with a cost plus contract (as opposed to a firm fixed price contract), MDC agreed to eat some of the costs. In other words, contractually speaking, MDC took the bullet when they didn’t have to, whereas Airbus made the Govts take the bullet for the A400 when they were contractually obligated to do so. The overruns were not double the initial costs (though close), and the a/c was only 1 year late, not 4 years behind schedule… with more delays possible. It was also overweight, but not 16 tons (20%) overweight. The C-17 can carry two AH-64s (or six IFVs) to an austere landing field. 20 years later, at 70% of the unit cost, and with all the added technological advances involved, the A400 might be able to take one IFV if it drops some of the current weight. It has around 80% of the C-17s range, a little less fuel efficiency, is slower, and has a massive RCS and a lower service ceiling (ie, bigger target).

        The C-17 is, 20 years after LRIP, still the best airlifter ever made. The A400 is… A bigger, costlier version of the C-130.

        Don’t compare the C-17 to the A400. You’ll lose on all counts.

    • “but with civil projects they make concessions like, low cost “gap filler” aircraft and even maybe a rebate or two.”
      Please tell me you are kidding! Airbus had been forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars AND offer discounted interim lift solutions when it came to the A380 delays. Both of those things are well documented, you should do a little research first.

      “curious EADS and the EU governments signed a fixed-price contract”
      By Tom Enders’ admission, this contract should never have been signed in the first place. Please keep in mind that the blame for the delays lies not only with Airbus but the Governments also, who had instructed Airbus as to what engines they should be using, and again this comes from TE. Had MD been instructed what engines they should use in the development of the C-17?

      “Maybe that’s how “economic nationalism” works”
      Just ask Dicks and Murray, they can teach one or two things with regards to that topic…

      “Or maybe it just how very socialistic societies work.”
      Do you know what it even means or do you blindly repeat the ‘accepted’ fact?

      • The question remains, Why did EADS and the OCCAR governments sign a fixed base A400M contract? Why was the A380 built when, in the face of overwhelming odds, others declined? There must be an underlying reason, as surely historical lessons and pragmatism had not been lost.

      • Are you sure discussing these two topics is not going to overload the bandwidth?

        “The question remains, Why did EADS and the OCCAR governments sign a fixed base A400M contract?”
        I strongly suspect that politics is mainly to blame for this, as is the case with most of the defence (yes, that is the correct spelling) programmes…

        “Why was the A380 built when, in the face of overwhelming odds, others declined?”
        Well, lets see, what are the overwhelming odds you are talking about? Can you define them please?
        Boeing’s own market forecast supports nearly 1000 VLA aircraft but their main ‘problem’ was that this market did not support two manufacturers, they *never* said there was none. Indeed they have been touting the B747-500 and -600 versions before they finally launched the -8 and that was overwhelmingly due to the availability of GenX.
        My own opinion is that Airbus had been tasked by airlines with delivering a substantial reduction in CASM. The figure I remember from some years ago was that 20% was the minimum Airbus had to deliver. They did… as we have seen from the various airline CEOs operating it. But more to the point of ‘why’… they wanted a complete their product range to be able to compete with Boeing. Their own GMF had been promising constrained airports, lack of slots and an ever increasing traffic. My opinion is that despite the fact that Airbus have been financially shafted due to the delays (remember, no airline had cancelled the pax version) it is too early to define the A380 as a total failure, it will prove itself as we go further into the decade.

        I have a return question… Why in the thread titled “Boeing wide-open on 777 future: Albaugh” are some people desperate to bash the A380 and the A400M?

      • “Why in the thread titled “Boeing wide-open on 777 future: Albaugh” are some people desperate to bash the A380 and the A400M?”

        Tim stated, “Unless, of course, they plan on extorting their customers like the did the A-400 customers”

        Then UKair repsonded– Comparing a military programme with a civil one is not very useful. Can you tell me which customers did they extort money from when it came to the A380 delays?

        There’s the genesis. And, I guess it can be called “bashing,” but for me, it all lifts curiosity, and I find it all simply amusing to watch the rivalry. No less, it all boils down money and how much more one region can get from the other.

        I concede, an international politics discussion would bog down available bandwidth. But, I’m wondering the sentiment in the UK of EADS since BAE sold out. Does the lack of ownership make it easier for EADS to threaten (some say “extort”) the UK into buying from EADS? I recall the Spanish threatened to ship A400M wing tooling from the UK to Spain for lack of UK support of added funding.

        The UK have a great aerospace industry in its own right. There’s knowledge and experience in the prime areas of aircraft development, namely wings and engines. Is the world too small for another airframer?

      • “Then UKair repsonded– Comparing a military programme with a civil one is not very useful.”
        Indeed and in the context of this thread I stand by that. You can read what circus this thread has been turned into.

        “I find it all simply amusing to watch the rivalry”
        And I do too, that’s one thing… pouring unsubstantiated mud on anything to do with EADS or Europe is another.

        “But, I’m wondering the sentiment in the UK of EADS since BAE sold out”
        BAE sold the 20% of Airbus, they never had anything to do with EADS. Essentially they are rivals in the military field.

        “I recall the Spanish threatened to ship A400M wing tooling from the UK to Spain for lack of UK support of added funding.”
        You recall wrong. The spanish may have lobbied EADS for the wing work but threatening? With what? Not really. The wing work will stay where it is currently and you have answered your own question of why…
        “The UK have a great aerospace industry in its own right. There’s knowledge and experience in the prime areas of aircraft development, namely wings and engines.”

        “Is the world too small for another airframer?”
        Not in the UK… This country has already made their choice, it’s Airbus.

      • “Indeed and in the context of this thread I stand by that. You can read what circus this thread has been turned into.”
        Of course you didn’t just “stand by” but helped in erecting the circus tent with, “Can you tell me which customers did they extort money from when it came to the A380 delays?”

        “And I do too, that’s one thing… pouring unsubstantiated mud on anything to do with EADS or Europe is another.”
        Surely, it not all there is to life, but a source of amusement? And, it goes all around. Recall EU leaders recently called America “protectionists.”

        “You recall wrong. The spanish may have lobbied EADS for the wing work but threatening? With what? Not really. The wing work will stay where it is currently and you have answered your own question of why…”
        If the UK didn’t add program funding the pressure would be on. The government controlling parties of EADS especially the Spanish issued an implied threat, “Spain is putting increasing pressure on the UK to surrender high-skilled production jobs if it fails to contribute its full share of a 3.5-billion-euro ($4.8 billion) aid package assembled by seven nations to rescue Europe’s largest defence project.” http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE6232K420100304
        Reads like a threat, implied or not. I answered my own question and recalled correctly.

        “Not in the UK… This country has already made their choice, it’s Airbus.”
        One solitary yet solid vote from the circus peanut gallery.

      • “Of course you didn’t just “stand by” but helped in erecting the circus tent with, “Can you tell me which customers did they extort money from when it came to the A380 delays?””
        Have you understood the context in which the comment was made or is it just a copy past job?

        “Reads like a threat, implied or not. I answered my own question and recalled correctly.”
        No, you interpreted the way you wanted to interpret. There isn’t a single sentence, which implies that Spain is threatening Britain. One of the key sentence begins with “In a written proposal, Spain has suggested relocating jobs, tools and machinery from Filton…”. But all this assumes that everything written in the article is 100% correct, which I strongly doubt.

  8. To: Tim on July 29, 2010 at 5:29 am

    The a400m was sold as ~280 airframes for ~20b€
    ( developement and manufacture )

    Cost overrun is ~11.3b€ ( 50% on the political choice engine ), source is to some part post contract feature creap. ( IMHO another part and significant delay is due to industrial sabotage from the US via coalition of the willing influencing ( ES:project management ES/UK:fadec )
    current state of affairs is customers pay 10% more i.e. 2b€ plus another 1.5b€ lending money.

    Your turn:

    • “The a400m was sold as ~280 airframes”
      typo, should have been:
      The a400m was sold as ~180 airframes

      • Forgotten:
        Airbus original idea was to offload 5.5b€ of 11.3b€ on customers.
        i.e. take 5.8b€ as cost.

        Most of the opinions sprouted are based on overblown allegations
        and misrepresentations ( from interested parties ).

    • The a400m was sold as ~280 airframes for ~20b€
      ( developement and manufacture )

      Cost overrun is ~11.3b€ ( 50% on the political choice engine ), source is to some part post contract feature creap. ( IMHO another part and significant delay is due to industrial sabotage from the US via coalition of the willing influencing ( ES:project management ES/UK:fadec )
      current state of affairs is customers pay 10% more i.e. 2b€ plus another 1.5b€ lending money.

      Your turn:

      Funny, the German govt conducted a study earlier this year and found that most of the cost overruns were due to gross mismanagement. Argue with them.

      • How would you unobtrusively sabotage a project?

        Alvarez was actively keeping EADS controlling away.
        Taking an uncertified toolset for the FADEC is another “I’am so sorry, ..”

  9. “The C-17 can carry two AH-64s (or six IFVs) to an austere landing field. 20 years later, at 70% of the unit cost, and with all the added technological advances involved, the A400 might be able to take one IFV if it drops some of the current weight. It has around 80% of the C-17s range, a little less fuel efficiency, is slower, and has a massive RCS and a lower service ceiling (ie, bigger target). ”

    Sorry, but that’s just nonsense. Try again, and try to be honest. Nobody is comparing the capabilities of the C-17 to the A400M. They are different horses for different courses.

    C-17A payload: 77t @2,400 miles (three Warrior IFVs/3 AH-64 Apache – which IFV can it take six of, other than the M1117, which isn’t an IFV?)
    A400m payload: 32t @2,360 miles (3 M113 APC/1.5 Puma IFVs/2 AH-64 Apache – and it should easily take 2 M1117, not just 1, since it can take 2 Strykers ICVs)
    Hercules C-130K: 20t @2,000 miles (no helicopters, no IFVs)

    Service ceiling is 37,000 for the A400M. I somehow doubt that’s going to make a big difference to the bad guys compared to the 45,000 of the C-17A, but still better than the Hercules at 32,000 (and not too many of those have been shot out of the sky while traveling at high altitude recently – so this is a red herring).

    The RAF claims the A400M will use 20% less fuel per mission than similar turbofans would. If you have numbers to dispute this, I am sure everybody here is all ears.

    Airbus claims the A400M is gravel/sand strip capable. Is the C-17? It does not appear so to me. Landing and take-off runway length requirements appear to be about considerably higher for the C-17 (50/130%).

    • Or put another way, why are air forces still using Hercules planes instead of switching them over to C17’s, given the latter is vastly more “capable”?

      • No. Because C-130’s are better than C17’s at ferrying men and materials into unreceptive environments. They are more manoeverable and rugged. They get in and out faster and when they do so they cause less damage to both the airfield and plane.

        The point about the A400M is that, unlike the C17, it supposedly has the handling characteristics of the C-130 while carrying more, faster, further.

      • I would take issue with the “more rugged” part, but I see your point.

    • Transports landing on unpaved surface have its damage risks regardless of the aircraft. And, BTW, the C-17 operates on unpaved surfaces (search “Fort Hunter Liggett C-17” or “Afghanistan C-17”).

      Undoubtedly, every aircraft have its engendering features; certainly there’s an opportunity for the A400M somewhere. And, anyone can argue the merits of one over another until we’re blue in the face, like A400M is more capable than the C-130 or An-70, the C-17 over the A400M or An-70, the KC-767 over the etc.

      Aircraft operators tailor transport missions based on requirements, transport availability, etc. just as much as they should use pragmatic objective reasoning to purchase these transports. Yet, we know the latter is much more complex than a night dirt runway landing.

    • “The C-17 can carry two AH-64s (or six IFVs) to an austere landing field. 20 years later, at 70% of the unit cost, and with all the added technological advances involved, the A400 might be able to take one IFV if it drops some of the current weight. It has around 80% of the C-17s range, a little less fuel efficiency, is slower, and has a massive RCS and a lower service ceiling (ie, bigger target). ”

      Sorry, but that’s just nonsense. Try again, and try to be honest. Nobody is comparing the capabilities of the C-17 to the A400M. They are different horses for different courses.

      The reply was to AeroNinja, who -did- compare them. I was pointing out that the cost overuns and the delays were not even close to the same. I also went a step further, pointing out that the C-17 is a better aircraft in any case… I’ve wondered why nobody mentions that, despite the “level playing field” that EADS wants in the US, nobody mentions that EADS has contracts that never went out for bid, and some of those a/c (A400, in this case) aren’t held to the same quality as US manufactured a/c.

      C-17A payload: 77t @2,400 miles (three Warrior IFVs/3 AH-64 Apache – which IFV can it take six of, other than the M1117, which isn’t an IFV?)
      A400m payload: 32t @2,360 miles (3 M113 APC/1.5 Puma IFVs/2 AH-64 Apache – and it should easily take 2 M1117, not just 1, since it can take 2 Strykers ICVs)
      Hercules C-130K: 20t @2,000 miles (no helicopters, no IFVs)

      Ah, but that’s what the promise is. However, you may wish to read this:
      http://www.thelocal.de/money/20090112-16705.html
      That’s not the only article that says similar facts, but ti’s the first I found. The A400 may be flying, but it sounds as if it’s not meeting expectations. If it were, it wouldn’t need another three years of development.

      Service ceiling is 37,000 for the A400M. I somehow doubt that’s going to make a big difference to the bad guys compared to the 45,000 of the C-17A, but still better than the Hercules at 32,000 (and not too many of those have been shot out of the sky while traveling at high altitude recently – so this is a red herring).

      The only recent wars have been insurgencies that are lucky to have MANPADS. For a real AA missile, 30,000 feet will not save you. Remember Gary Powers, and that was using ancient tech. Not at all a red herring!

      The RAF claims the A400M will use 20% less fuel per mission than similar turbofans would. If you have numbers to dispute this, I am sure everybody here is all ears.

      C-17: Range of 2420 nm / 35,546 gal = .068 nmpg.
      A400: Range of 1781 nm / 50,500 kg (17,720 at 2.85 kg/gal) = .100 nmpg.
      Now add in the added 8 tons the a/c is overweight, (over 20% of its empty weight), and you have two a/c likely operating at the same fuel efficiency. Will Aibus drop some of that weight? Probably. Even so, at 20% over… There just isn’t enough to take off to get within spec.

      Airbus claims the A400M is gravel/sand strip capable. Is the C-17? It does not appear so to me. Landing and take-off runway length requirements appear to be about considerably higher for the C-17 (50/130%).

      Yes it is, but both a/c will have problems with ingesting FOD.

      • that ftd via thelocal article is 1.5 years old and colports
        the upper range of guesswork (designed to damage)
        at the time.

      • Tim,

        “nobody mentions that EADS has contracts that never went out for bid”
        Is that EADS’ fault or the government who put the RFPs out in the first place?

        “some of those a/c (A400, in this case) aren’t held to the same quality as US manufactured a/c”
        Sorry, what ‘quality’ is that then?

        “A400: Range of 1781 nm / 50,500 kg (17,720 at 2.85 kg/gal) = .100 nmpg.”
        And the reference for this figure is…

        You see, I have two different references, which could lead to slightly uncomfortable, for you, conclusions:
        http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/07/26/345073/farnborough-a400m-engine-beating-performance-requirements.html
        “During the flight-test programme conducted so far, the TP400 “is already beating the production-standard requirement significantly,” says technical director Martin Maltby. “We are where we need to be, which is great news.”
        AND
        http://www.the-daily-politics.com/news/36-militarynews/748-airbus-a400m-loses-capabilities-in-new-deal
        “… to be totally honest, the transport capacity is going to be a little bit less — on the order of several hundred kilograms,” said French Defense Minister Herve Morin.

        So, you see, I am a bit confused whether to believe the ’12t overweight’ rumour or the above quote coming from the customer.

        “Airbus claims the A400M is gravel/sand strip capable. Is the C-17?”
        Yes it is..”
        It maybe ‘designed’ but very, very rarely deployed in such situations. Mainly due to the damage to the aircraft and the airfield. That sort of stuff is left for the C-130.

      • Dude, to put it politely, you are getting a tad disengenuous here. IF you can find one word about performance comparison in my reply to you, I will apologize.
        You mentioned the workings of very sociailistic societies in reference to the A400 funding changes. I was merely pointing out that alot of money was thrown at the C-17 in its first 8 years and it was definitely all MD’s cash.
        Hardly the poster child for good old American free enterprise success that some people here would try to make it seem!
        Of course, after 6 or 7 years, and lots of money, they finally got it performing quite well.
        Don’t start trying to put words in my mouth. If you want to compare the performance of the C-17 and the A-400, by all means do so. But don’t use me as an excuse for getting on your little soapbox.

        by the way, since you do seem to be bent on doing so, why don’t you compare the ability to meet performance targets for each aircraft at the same point in time in the program? The C-17 will not come out looking so good (just look it up in Wikipedia and find the GAO reports from 1995).

      • “Is that EADS’ fault or the government who put the RFPs out in the first place?”
        The govts, obviously. But now both EADS and the govt are complaining about the unfair playing field. I’m sure that EADS is well aware that they’re taking jobs that aren’t sent out to bid, but they aren’t mentioning that.

        “Sorry, what ‘quality’ is that then?”
        The Nunn-McCurdy amendment.

        “And the reference for this figure is…”
        I pulled the figures off the EADS and the Boeing websites.

        During the flight-test programme conducted so far, the TP400 “is already beating the production-standard requirement significantly,” says technical director Martin Maltby. “We are where we need to be, which is great news.”

        We’ve heard that before. As a matter of fact, I believe I read where John Leahy claimed that the A350 is not at all late right now, but then La Tribune reported the very next day that it was running 12-18 months late. We’ll see at the end, but remember that the A380 was on time… until it wasn’t on time.

        “… to be totally honest, the transport capacity is going to be a little bit less — on the order of several hundred kilograms,” said French Defense Minister Herve Morin.”

        Context is important here! They agreed to modify the contractual requirements, not that that’s what the A400 is currently performing. They also removed NOE flight, as well as aerial refueling (which may be added later).

        “So, you see, I am a bit confused whether to believe the ’12t overweight’ rumour or the above quote coming from the customer.”

        You may be confused, but your sources are either unreliable, or have nothing to do with current performance.

        “It maybe ‘designed’ but very, very rarely deployed in such situations. Mainly due to the damage to the aircraft and the airfield. That sort of stuff is left for the C-130.”

        Agreed. It’s much cheaper to repair the C-130. Just gotta keep the thing running unless you have an APU there.

        Aero: It was a natural progression from finance to performance. (in other words, i started talking finance and kept going witht eh comparison) As for the performance, you’re correct… But MDC never asked the govt to pay for the problems (which were largely MDCs), despite the fact that this was a cost-plus contract. EADS, at firm fixed price, said “pay for our problems or we’ll stop work”.

      • Okay Tim, so you are great at pointing out the shortcomings of the A400M. Care to mention which IFV the C-17 can take six of?

        Weight is of course only one item in performance. As Airbus has shown on the A380, over-weight can be compensated for (fully in the case of the A380) by doing better on aerodynamics, and/or engine performance. Until the flight testing is over we won’t know.

        As for the rest, I’ll reply when you confirm the IFV that the C-17 can take six of.

      • “Sorry, what ‘quality’ is that then?”
        The Nunn-McCurdy amendment.
        I don’t see what curtailing the cost growth of the military projects got to do with your “quality as US manufactured a/c”

        “I pulled the figures off the EADS and the Boeing websites”
        I am still keen on seeing where you got the figures from.

        “We’ve heard that before.”
        What have you heard before?

        “Context is important here!”
        Indeed, so lets see…

        “They agreed to modify the contractual requirements”
        Yes, but do they relate to the payload capability or is it the systems, which will be phased in later?

        “You may be confused, but your sources are either unreliable, or have nothing to do with current performance.”
        Do you realise what nonsense you have written? I have quoted you the technical director responsible for the engine development and the French Defence Minister who was involved in the project and you come up with the above? While providing links to the articles which quote unnamed sources saying there may or may not be a delay, the myth of the “12 tonnes overweight” and a LA Tribune article, which had nothing in terms of decent content? You really are clutching straws here trying to support your little agenda in the absence of any hard facts.

      • “Weight is of course only one item in performance. As Airbus has shown on the A380, over-weight can be compensated for (fully in the case of the A380) by doing better on aerodynamics, and/or engine performance. Until the flight testing is over we won’t know.”

        The A380 lost a little range, but that’s minor. The A380 is an incredible feat, and I’d love to ride in one. But it’s not an airlifter that’s getting loaded to the gills… And I don’t believe the A380 was 20% overweight. That’s an incredible amount to reduce from an aicraft that’s already in the air. Can they reduce it to around 10-15%? I have no doubt. Can they improve fuel efficiencies? Most likely. But it won’t get much, if any, additional to its max takeoff weight. That’s pretty static at this point.

        “As for the rest, I’ll reply when you confirm the IFV that the C-17 can take six of.”

        I’d have to find the reference again… That was a few days ago and I’d have to run down the same websites as before. Give me a couple days to find the time to do it.

        “I don’t see what curtailing the cost growth of the military projects got to do with your “quality as US manufactured a/c””

        It’s not just cost growth – it’s conforming to contractually agreed upon spec.

        “I am still keen on seeing where you got the figures from.”

        I don’t have the sites in front of me, but it’s the corproate websites you get on google when you type in EADS and Boeing, and you can drill down to your a/c. Try it. It works.

        “What have you heard before?”

        EADS and Airbus making statements that aren’t 100% true. Are you really stopping at the first sentence of each paragraph? Of course, you probably didn’t read that last sentence, then…

        ““Context is important here!”
        Indeed, so lets see…”

        Not sure where you’re going with that. I’ve admitted when I was wrong in a couple cases earlier. Maybe you might here rather than making a smug comment.

        ““They agreed to modify the contractual requirements”
        Yes, but do they relate to the payload capability or is it the systems, which will be phased in later?”

        We already discussed that, but since you’re only reading the first sentence, you may not have noticed. Refueling will be added later (not for weight, but for cost), and NOE won’t be added at all (software is expensive). There are other modifications, but this is all they offered in the article I read.

        “Do you realise what nonsense you have written?”

        Lots more to copy, but I decided to save space.
        Yes, I’m aware of what I’ve written. Nonsense? Not really. You quoted the French Defense minister out of context (he referenced adjusted requirements down if you read the whole article… only bad news, with no comment on what has been delivered so far), so although your source in that case was fine, the quote did not support your case… if anything, it hurt you, as it confirmed that, not only is EADS extorting the govts, they’re also not giving the full spec article. The second one, and I have to laugh at this, is quoting the technical director in charge of…. Wait, what?!? You’re quoting the person who has the absolutely most to lose for saying, “it’s not working right” and expecting him to be a neutral observer? Are you really serious about that?

      • “you get on google when you type in EADS and Boeing, and you can drill down to your a/c. Try it. It works.”
        Thanks for the very informative crash course in web searching but if the figures were so easy to obtain you would have provided the link already. It’s not up to me to verify your figures.

        “EADS and Airbus making statements…”
        The ‘statement’ isn’t made by EADS or Airbus but by EPI.

        “Of course, you probably didn’t read that last sentence, then…”
        What exactly is troubling you?

        “We already discussed that, but since you’re only reading the first sentence, you may not have noticed. Refueling will be added later (not for weight, but for cost), and NOE won’t be added at all (software is expensive). There are other modifications, but this is all they offered in the article I read.”
        That I have noticed and mentioned in my reply but my question was exclusively aimed your assertion that it will be too heavy (and following your link to thelocal.de by apparently 12t, although then you proceeded to imply it is 8t overweight). I quoted the Defence Minister saying that it may not be the case, which you then dismissed with “your sources are either unreliable, or have nothing to do with current performance”.

        “You quoted the French Defense minister out of context (he referenced adjusted requirements down if you read the whole article…”
        I have read the whole article but what you failed to do is to fully understand what you read. I quoted that in the case of France, the Defence Minister said:
        “We have not given up on any specification. That said, to be totally honest, the transport capacity is going to be a little bit less — on the order of several hundred kilograms. There are no significant changes to the anticipated performance of the plane,” Morin said. “On the other hand, some functionality will be put in place progressively.”
        Yes, some systems have been removed and some will be phased in later, including the Air-to-Air refuelling. But that is the whole point of the stupidity behind this idea of designing a plane to fit the different requirements of all the 7 nations that ordered it. Each one inserted their own specifications (as you can see from the article), making the plane too complicated and costly. This point further reinforces what Enders said, that the contract should not have been signed as it was. It was bad for both sides.
        Compare this to the C-17, which was designed to the requirements of only one customer.

        “The second one, and I have to laugh at this, is quoting the technical director in charge of…. Wait, what?!? You’re quoting the person who has the absolutely most to lose for saying, “it’s not working right” and expecting him to be a neutral observer? Are you really serious about that?”
        Right so let me see here. If I understand you correctly, you want to dismiss everything a person says, because he *is* involved in the project but then you would rather present thelocal.de as the source of facts, which in turn failed to provide anything other than hearsay? I suggest that you maybe wasting your time on this blog since most of the articles here (including this one) have information coming from … wait, what (?!)… the named people involved in projects in Boeing, Airbus or the engine manufacturers.
        By the way, if you have information to contradict what EPI said with regards to the engine performance in flight testing, I am ‘all ears’.

      • “It’s not up to me to verify your figures.”
        If you’re so difficult that you won’t accept the published figures on the company websites… Well, I don’t know why I’m even talking to you.

        “The ‘statement’ isn’t made by EADS or Airbus but by EPI.”
        Which contractually has to go through EADS for release, if it’s like any other supplier contract. But yes, point made. I just have a hard time believing anything coming from EADS these days. The products that come from the workers are excellent, but the management seems to be more concerned with spinning than with accuracy… Please note the A380 insider trading problems. Were they really insider trading? Who knows? But they announced they were on time until… they announced they weren’t on time, and by a factor of years.

        “What exactly is troubling you?”
        You don’t discuss in earnest. When you can’t win a point, you either let it go or argue something else entirely. You specifically ignore data you don’t like, and pound your virtual fist over data that you do like. I have picked and chosen my data as well, but you seem to have a hard time with the posted stats, whereas you can’t understand the concept of the fox guarding the henhouse. I can’t help but think you’re intentionally being a troll here, rather than discussing things in a rational manner.

        “my question was exclusively aimed your assertion that it will be too heavy”
        Then ask about weight, rather than asking about the capabilities that will be phased in later.
        I’m not sure about my implication of 8 tons overweight here… maybe you could point that out? But let’s go over this one last time. The Defense Minister didn’t say that the A400 -is- losing several hundred kilos capacity (which, by the way, is not the same as being overweight…). He said that the specs have changed to allow for that eventual goal. In other words, it’s still overweight, still can’t carry as much as it was supposed to carry, and in the four years we have until LRIP, Airbus Military says that it will never get to the point where it can carry as much as they originally specified. My question is… How much of that 20% extra weight can they cut? Not much, I’m thinking. Since this a/c was at the edge of the envelope to begin with, I’m thinking there isn’t much more efficiency they can squeeze out of the engines… Which are already having problems. More on that below. But the question is… how much can they really ameliorate the problems stemming from an a/c that’s 20% heavier than it was supposed to be? We’ll see.

        “stupidity behind this idea of designing a plane to fit the different requirements of all the 7 nations””Compare this to the C-17, which was designed to the requirements of only one customer.”
        Agreed, although the C-17 also had scope creep, just as every other military program in history has had scope creep. But yes, as I said, I agree that designing and a/c for 7 distinct customers, plus having them keep their fingers in throughout development, must have really gummed things up.

        “you want to dismiss everything a person says, because he *is* involved in the project but then you would rather present thelocal.de as the source of facts, which in turn failed to provide anything other than hearsay”
        If that person’s job rides on his saying. “Yeah, everything’s going fine”, then yes, I do. It’s a concept called “the fox guarding the henhouse”. You don’t trust everything a person says when their job depends on saying one thing, whether or not it’s the truth. That’s why accountants have to be from an outside firm, rather than just relying upon internal accounting. That’s why the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was put into place. And that’s why you rely upon a neutral party for your news. Remember, the source for Watergate was only recently revealed more than 30 years after the news story. Anonymous sources are sometimes wrong. However, they stay anonymous so they may report what the company is not saying without getting fired. And lo and behold, two years later, we find out that the aircraft is overweight (as opposed to the party line until recently). We don’t know how much, but we do know that they’ve been in negotiations to reduce the specs on airlifting capability.

      • “If you’re so difficult that you won’t accept the published figures”
        I can be wrong but the reason I asked is because I cannot find the figures you provided for the A400M. But since you refused on several occasions, I can only draw one conclusion. Don’t bother now.

        “Which contractually has to go through EADS for release”
        This was not a press release but an interview for flight international. Have you actually read it? But now you are claiming to know the details of the contractual terms between EADS and EPI?

        “I just have a hard time believing anything coming from EADS these days. The products that come from the workers are excellent, but the management seems to be more concerned with spinning than with accuracy…”
        I absolutely agree. You always have to take their statements with a pinch of salt. But that is systemic of all big businesses and there is one in particular that has excelled in that art in the last couple of years. However in the two links I have provided it was not EADS who was doing the talking.

        “Please note the A380 insider trading problems. Were they really insider trading? Who knows?”
        Yes, this scandal and it is a scandal, which should have been seen through to conclusion in the courts, has put a big stain on the company, which will not wash out any time soon. But where are you going with this? You seem to be ‘firing’ in all directions at EADS trying to grab on to any bad news (hearsay or not) and building some sort of trend.

        “you either let it go or argue something else entirely”
        I have argued specific points, which I had explained to you. It is you who seem to be jumping from one thing to another.

        “but you seem to have a hard time with the posted stats”
        Please see my first comment.

        “I can’t help but think you’re intentionally being a troll here”
        Ohh, it’s me is it?

        “Then ask about weight, rather than asking about the capabilities that will be phased in later.”
        I did not ask you about other capabilities! I asked you specifically about the weight. Please go through the chain of posts and try to understand before replying!!

        “I’m not sure about my implication of 8 tons overweight here… maybe you could point that out?”
        You started with this:-
        **
        However, you may wish to read this:
        http://www.thelocal.de/money/20090112-16705.html
        That’s not the only article that says similar facts, but ti’s the first I found.
        **
        So you have proclaimed that it is a ‘fact’ that the plane is apparently 12t overweight. Then when you provided some fuel burn ‘data’ you come up with:-
        **
        Now add in the added 8 tons the a/c is overweight, (over 20% of its empty weight),
        **

        “The Defense Minister didn’t say that the A400 -is- losing several hundred kilos capacity”
        Really?

        “He said that the specs have changed to allow for that eventual goal”
        That’s how you interpreted it! Another line in the article says:
        **
        “French Defense Minister Herve Morin, who told reporters about the deal Monday in Paris, said France — which has ordered 40 planes — is getting all that it wanted.”
        **
        As in the payload requirement is unchanged and will be met bar ‘a few hundred kilos’, as far as France is concerned! What it says has changed:-
        **
        As a result of their deal, the A400M will do a little less than planned.
        Some capabilities — such as the ability to hug the ground to avoid enemy radar — were dropped to save money, while others, even key ones such as mid-flight refueling, will only be gradually added later.
        **

        Another example is:-
        **
        German officials held firm on another technical feature they had sought: the ability to haul the German Puma tank, which is non-negotiable in talks with the contractor, the spokesman said.
        **
        The payload capability is ‘non-negotiable’.
        Nowhere in the article does it say that the payload requirement had been revised but if you have a credible source to suggest that it has, please link it. We are obviously far apart on this issue.

        “If that person’s job rides on his saying…”
        And this issue as well. You are free to think what you want to think but as I said before if you have strong doubts as to the validity of his claims regarding the engine’s flight test performance, please provide evidence to back that up.

      • “I can be wrong but the reason I asked is because I cannot find the figures you provided for the A400M.”
        I’ll look for them tonight when I have some time. When I find them, I’ll post the link.

        “claiming to know the details of the contractual terms between EADS and EPI?”
        No, I’m assuming that EADS does the same thing most Aerospace companies do. Maybe it’s just American aerospace… I’m not sure. But it’s a pretty good guess that EADS likes to see press releases just as American companies do. Being blindsided is no fun.

        “I absolutely agree.”
        And you’re correct about that (that the quotes are not directly from EADS or a subsidiary). I believe that EADS has some control over what’s released, but the govts can generally say whatever they please without consulting anyone.

        “You seem to be ‘firing’ in all directions at EADS”
        Just explaining why I don’t find EADS or their subsidiaries to be reliable sources of information. I love the non-management’s work, what they do, and how they do it, but management just strikes me as a smidgeon unethical. And I really hate saying that because, as with most ethical issues, it generally tends to be one or two rogue players. Perhaps this is absolutely accurate information… But history tells me to be skeptical.

        “Ohh, it’s me is it?”
        Perhaps I’m wrong, but it sure feels that way… Though this last post seems not to be that way.

        “I did not ask you about other capabilities!”
        Reposted:
        “““They agreed to modify the contractual requirements”
        Yes, but do they relate to the payload capability or is it the systems, which will be phased in later?””

        “You started with this:-”
        Well gosh darn if you aren’t 100% correct. Mea maxima culpa! I must have been multitasking and switched numbers in my head. Now I have to check whatever I was writing that day and make sure I don’t have 8s that should be 12s.
        My apologies on that one if I was confusing. I meant 12. And I’ll bet it threw my math off as well.

        “Really?”
        Yes, really. You have to read not just the quote, but the context of the quote. Go to the overall subject. He is not at all speaking about current capabilities. He is speaking solely about shifting contractual requirements. The expectation is that the a/c will meet those requirements. Will it? Who knows… He certainly doesn’t, nor do we. It’s 4 years from LRIP.

        “The payload capability is ‘non-negotiable’.”
        As for the German quote… Well, I pulled exactly what you said that’s important. It’s non-negotiable. You can’t negotiate current capability… That’s fixed because it’s, well, current. The fact that they’re talkign about payload and negotiation (or lack thereof) means that they don’t have what they want yet, but are not going to negotiate that part out. If the a/c already could do what they want (carry the Puma), there wouldn’t be any discussions. Which, by the way, suggests that the A400 is currently well below the listed capacity, the link to which I will post later today.

        “And this issue as well.”
        I already have stated the facts to back it up. Conflict of Interest. To put this in exagerrated terms, you don’t ask the criminal if he was the thief in question and believe the answer without reservation. Although he may have the best knowledge of the answer, answering “yes” means that he will go to jail. The person to ask would be either a neutral observer, or at least get a second opinion from an opposing interested party.
        However, since this discussion, I’ve read some news releases that suggest that he’s being truthful in this case, and that the engines are performing to spec (in fact a little better). Now all they have to do is address the weight issue, and they’ll be good to go.

      • Thanks for the links. I must admit that I completely misinterpreted what you had presented in terms of ‘data’. I was looking where you would be taking account of the engines’ SFCs. Never mind. My feeling is that the A400M would have greater power-to-weight ratio that the C-17 and would take off shorter strips and similar % MTOW.

        “I’m assuming that EADS does the same thing most Aerospace companies do.”
        In the absence of looking through the contract myself, I won’t make that assumption.

        “I don’t find EADS or their subsidiaries to be reliable sources of information”
        That, as I said, is systemic of big business including Airbus’ competitor but for some reason you are particularly hyper when it comes to EADS. I find it slightly puzzling.

        “Yes, but do they relate to the payload capability or is it the systems, which will be phased in later?”
        The point being that the article only dealt with the systems and not a reduction in payload capability.

        “Well gosh darn if you aren’t 100% correct. Mea maxima culpa!”
        The point there being that you can pick up any figure from any ‘unnamed’ source and use it as fact. I met a guy on the street and he told me that actually the A400M is 50% overweight. He didn’t tell me his name and he claims not to work for the company (so no conflict of interest there) so he must be a brilliant source. Put that in your calculations, see how the numbers change.

        “Yes, really. You have to read not just the quote, but the context of the quote. Go to the overall subject.”
        I believe, I already suggested that we are far apart on this issue so I propose we put a stop at that.

        “Which, by the way, suggests that the A400 is currently well below the listed capacity, the link to which I will post later today”
        I do not doubt that the A400M is overweight at this stage of the development as *all* new developments suffer from. But I do not believe that the A400M will not meet its payload targets. I will await your link.

        “I already have stated the facts to back it up. Conflict of Interest.”
        This paragraph is puzzling. You refuse to believe what a guy from EPI says because of ‘conflict of interest’, providing an example of Deepthroat as evidence of some sort. Then you confirm that actually that is the case.
        As far as your discussion of unnamed sources is concerned. I think that for the press that is the easiest way of printing anything they want because there is hunger for the story. A400M was top of the list at the beginning of the year and before that, where literally you could pick a different figure everyday.
        Since you touched upon non aviation, a clear example of the unnamed sources is the WMD saga. How many unconfirmed, unnamed sources were relied upon to present as ‘fact’ the existence of WMD?
        Talking of the A400M, there is a bit of news that came out:
        A400M passes ultimate wing load test
        “”We are all delighted to have passed this key milestone in the structural test programme, which further confirms the soundness of the A400M design,” says senior vice-president A400M chief engineer Alain Cassier.”
        http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/08/04/345755/picture-a400m-passes-ultimate-wing-load-test.html
        Applying your lateral thinking, I can only draw one conclusion – they failed miserably.
        I suggest, again, that we are far apart on that issue, so we should put an end to that also.

      • “Thanks for the links.” etc.
        De nada. I think you’re probably correct about the weight to power, shorter landing strips, etc. Even ignoring the cool software associated with the engines, props generally have more power, but lower top speed and fuel efficiency at higher speeds.

        “In the absence of looking through the contract myself, I won’t make that assumption.”
        Fair enough. It’s a good assumption, but if you don’t want to make it, fine.

        “The point being that the article only dealt…”
        Agreed. So we agree that the a/c is most likely currently overweight, and that they’ve negotiated out some of the capabilities not related to weight. That’s all I was saying.

        “we are far apart on this issue so I propose we put a stop at that.”
        Ok.

        “But I do not believe that the A400M will not meet its payload targets.”
        The link was to the airbus site posting of specs. That’s what I was referring to… specs, which includes a payload of nearly 20% greater than the weight of the Puma.
        Bottom line, what I’m saying is that they wouldn’t be in discussions about the ability to carry the Puma if it could do so currently. If it could currently carry the 31t vehicle, then it would never have been brought up. Which means that the A400 current payload is less than 31t, which is over 19% less than spec. They can’t account for that with fuel efficiencies, so it’ll have to be either dropping weight or adding power to the engines. I believe they’ll try both, but have a hard time seeing making up over 6 tons of weight that way. Even so, I’m pretty sure they’ll squeak out at least 2 or 3 tons, and they can’t be too far from 31t.

        “This paragraph is puzzling. You refuse to believe what a guy from EPI says because of ‘conflict of interest’, etc.”

        I don’t (didn’t, actually… things have changed) refuse to believe him. I refused to take his word for it, despite the contrary reports in the press. The point that I’m making is that, combining his mushy statement which didn’t put any numbers out there or use any empirical data to which he could be held later, and the consistent reports of problems with the engines and their lack of power, he didn’t have much credibility. Big difference. Yes, the press is hungry for stories, and yes, unnamed sources are often wrong… But they are also often correct, and people who “know the situation best” are often those who have the most to gain by not being 100% forthcoming. Remember the “I did not have sex with that woman” from Bill Clinton back in the day… Not many people knew the situation better than he did, but when faced with giving bad news, interested parties often offer less than the complete truth. When doing so, they often use words like, “Looks like”, “I guess”, and “could”. Now when you report a hard gate passed, that has some real meat to it. I didn’t see the article on the wing loading test yet, but that’s good news.

        “How many unconfirmed, unnamed sources were relied upon to present as ‘fact’ the existence of WMD?”
        And how many were named, including the President of the US and the Prime Minister of the UK? Just because you have your name attached to a statement doesn’t mean it’s true. By the same token, just because you’re unnamed because you’re a big fan of not being fired doesn’t mean your information is false.

        “Applying your lateral thinking, I can only draw one conclusion – they failed miserably.”
        I’m going to try one last time on this one… It’s not lateral thinking, it’s game theory. It’s seeing how press releases work. It’s seeing how people spin stories. With something like this, where an official release reported a successful gate passed, it’s hard to “spin” that when there was a failure. When you’re giving your opinion, “Yeah, it looks pretty good…” it’s extremely easy to spin that. One had a set goal, namely a test that had to be passed. That’s as hard as you can get your data to be without giving out numbers. When you say, “it couldn’t fly like that if”… That’s distancing yourself from any specs whatsoever. Then the technical director said the engine was “already beating the production-standard requirement significantly” without saying what the production standard was. It also didn’t mention the software at all… It left a lot of room for speculation, and that leads me to believe that, with the reports of the engines being the real stickler for the program, that the problems may not yet be over.

      • What Bill Clinton actually said was:

        “I did not have sexual relations with that woman….”

        When we heard that, our reaction was, Where is the Black’s Law Dictionary? This guy is parsing words. He didn’t have intercourse–he had a blow job.

  10. To: Tim on July 29, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Not EADS but Airbus Military then lead by Alvarez.
    loop, restart.

      • Airbus Military is a subsidiary of Airbus / EADS
        independently managing military applications
        of Airbus and CASA aircraft.
        http://www.airbusmilitary.com/
        in the relevant timeframe lead by Carlos Suarez
        who actively blocked controlling by parent Airbus
        to check the project flow/progress.
        This was mentioned by the press here some time
        before delays were made public.
        Suarez seems to have been rather close to
        Bush baby Aznar.
        The Fadec was done by Hispano-Suiza and a BAE subsidiary.
        Airbus then EADS are owner of Airbus Military.
        The project management lies with Airbus military.
        A lot of the engine hardware stuff seems to have happened at
        EPI partner MTU.

      • I’m aware of the structure.
        However, that doesn’t mean that Suarez owed his ultimate allegiance to EADS.
        You’re splitting hairs here by separating company from parent company. EADS has undiluted control over Airbus, which has undiluted control over Airbus Military. If Suarez deviated from what EADS desired, that’s an internal problem… and may be why the German govt blames EADS for the delays.

    • “A lot of the engine hardware stuff seems to have happened at
      EPI partner MTU.”

      “MTU is responsible for the TP400-D6’s intermediate-pressure compressor, intermediate-pressure turbine and intermediate-pressure shaft and has a stake in the engine control unit. The company also does the final assembly and testing of all TP400-D6s built in Europe, at its MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg facility. ”
      http://www.mtu.de/en/products_services/military_business/programs/tp400_d6/index.html

      “Rolls-Royce is a 28 percent shareholder in EPI, with responsibility for whole engine integration and performance, the high pressure compressor, low pressure shaft, intermediate casting, oil and air systems and structural parts of the bearing supports
      Rolls-Royce pioneered the three-shaft engine upon which the TP400-D6 is based, as well as being the market leader for large military turboprops.”
      http://www.rolls-royce.com/Images/tp400_tcm92-6706.pdf

      • Thanks for the links, I hadn’t looked into this too closely.

        The question we were rolling around was
        What is the bump path for FADEC certification?
        Who has the stick and who carries the final whip?

        When would this case of “wrong tools” for creating
        in all other respects qualifyable software have been exposed?

        MTU was waiting for a working version of the FADEC software,
        but were they in the certification controlling path?

  11. To: Tim on July 30, 2010 at 4:30 am
    “But MDC never asked the govt to pay for the problems …. in a cost plus ..”

    They didn’t have to ask.
    They just put it on the bill.

    “unreliable source”

    That is a widespread problem.
    The question, Tim, is:
    Do I go with the most outlandish allegations or do I look around and find a balanced viewpoint that has
    quite a lot more chance of being right on later on.
    As an additional boon that would carry a dramatic increase in believability and discussability of your
    postings.

    Back to the 777!
    The path announced will to a significant part expose Boeing internal understanding and position on materials.
    Be it Light alloys or CFRP, production processes ( tech and management) included.

    • “They didn’t have to ask.
      They just put it on the bill.”

      Not true. MDC took the hit. Look it up.

      “That is a widespread problem.
      The question, Tim, is:
      Do I go with the most outlandish allegations or do I look around and find a balanced viewpoint that has
      quite a lot more chance of being right on later on.
      As an additional boon that would carry a dramatic increase in believability and discussability of your
      postings.”

      Neither. The quotes I’ve seen so far are from Airbus, and a quote taken out of context from the UK MoD that, out of context, implied that what was revised contractual requirements were really what the A400 can do. I’m not sure what can be more fair and balanced than quoting the German govt study that said that most of the fault for the delays and the overruns were management error.
      Quite frankly, with a contentious issue like this, you’re going to get two very different viewpoints, and not much in between.

      • As a project lead, how would you unpbtrusively delay your programme?

        Mr Suarez got booted hard, unfortunately after the fact.
        After that AirbusMilitary seems to be frogmarched by direct
        parent Airbus engineering.
        Current excess weight of the hull is unknow, some say up to 12t.
        Airbus (Military?) says they have fixes adressing 5t excess weight.

        There is talk about nixing the gear kneeling capability.

        Terrainfollowing is initially a software issue, same for the tanker capability
        (hardware seems to be installed) that then take vast amounts
        of qualification time. A prime target for tightening timetables.

        IMHO A400M currently looks a lot better than a year ago.

        now back to the 777?

  12. To: Tim on July 30, 2010 at 8:32 am

    The interesting point is that problems in details only
    climb the hierarchical ladder to a certain point.

    As viewed from the Top certification traps can be well hidden for quite some time ( either as active sabotage or just by fumbling up the issue, following napoleon my assumption of malice is tenuous. stupidity can fill in quite well. )

    BCA has been busy providing a horrible example
    to that effect. ( not necessarily on certs but on controlling the manufacturing process.,
    It will be interesting to see how much issues they can bypass by grandfathering in the certification context as showcased by the evacuation test “discussion” currently going on)

    • Agreed, and agreed.

      I don’t look for conspiracies when I can just assume stupidity. Remember the Mars probe that crashed because they didn’t use the proper conversion from Imperial to Metric.

      I think almost every new aircraft will suffer from some bit of this type of delay.

  13. ““That’s the most self-serving bullshit I have ever heard,””

    Hmmmmm……isn’t Leahy the king of that rubbish? I can pull a plethora of Leahy’s b.s. comments regarding when the B787 was started to be offered….

    “What we want to make sure doesn’t happen is that the profitability of the Triple 7 and the preference people have for the Triple 7 in the market doesn’t get eaten into by the A350.””

    FYI Mr. Albaugh, its already happened. The A359 (and the A358 to a certain extent) has seriouslyy started to eat into the B77E market.

    • “That’s the most self-serving bullshit I have ever heard..”
      It wouldn’t hurt if John was a little more courteous…

  14. Wow – 2 posts in a row with the 777 noted and not an Anet food fight over the A-400 and A380.

    Anyway on the 777 I like the idea of CFRP for the front portion of the hull – nose to last full barrel ahead of the wing. That should have significant weight and cost savings but not massive development costs. It also allows the cargo CG to move forward, or a short stretch ahead of the wing.

    I also think there could be a lot done with 787 architecture replacing some of the systems.

    Jay

    • “I also think there could be a lot done with 787 architecture replacing some of the systems.”
      Those are quite different.
      Wouldn’t that run into a certification nightmare? ( I had the same thought on the Franketanker enhanced with a Dreamliner soul )
      Converting a plane from conventional to FBW and networked sensors is imho in all essence building a new plane.

  15. To: Tim on August 2, 2010 at 7:37 am
    “That’s why the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was put into place. And that’s why you rely upon a neutral party for your news.”

    You mean like the credit rating agencies that gave “prime chops” rating to in all effect rubbish and currently try to apply their magic in reverse to some countries ?
    The Sarbanes-Oxley legislation completely missed out on the core issue which is a pronounced moral deficiency in the US market place.

    And: I haven’t seen Boeing press releases scrutinized to any comparable level ( though they have fibbing to the public pat down perfect )

    • Uwe:

      Really? Are you aware that the worst (something ridiculous like 30-40% of value) of the whole sub-prime mortgage crisis originated in an office of less than two dozen people in London? I’ll also bet that you hadn’t heard about any of the current problems with currency national debt going on in Europe. And you haven’t heard about the EADS insider trading problems, or their bribery scandals. Or speaking of bribery scandals, how about BAe and their alleged bribery in Chile, Czech Republic, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Qatar.

      The reason you hear about most of these problems going on in the US is because the US has a GDP that’s almost half of that of the EU, which is comprised of 27 countries. The US also has a strong federal govt, as opposed to the loosely allied EU countries, so has enacted extremely strong anti-corruption laws.

      Perhaps those that throw stones should avoid throwing at their own house.

      • Tim, your bets would be off.
        ( jioint answer to this and your posting further down )
        It is less a question who invented something then
        about who abused it uncontrolled.
        Same with dept “management” help provided by
        US banks to forex Greece.

        And
        You are aware that the rating agencies currently spearhead an attack
        on the Euro? (The US dept is in comparable ranges.)

  16. To: Tim on August 3, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I feel rather irritated that you seem to extrapolate
    from your cultural background that every corporate expression must be a lie to further ones interests.
    I can see where that originates. But it is not valid to that extent elsewhere.
    So I would like to beg you to not allege lying to everybody not expressing your expected “facts”.

    The PUMA IFV is special in that required specs for the A400M were based on the vehicle as planned
    in its early inception. then 31.5t, changing operational requirements have fattened it quite a bit ( complete with all protective armor 41t, max weight 43t)
    It is all moving targets 😉

    • Uwe:

      I feel sorry for you that you’re unawarte that people in all countries throughout the world will act in their own self-interest. I don’t accuse people of lying. I suggest that you consider that asking interested parties about information will often give you skewed, if not completely inaccurate, responses. This has been borne out repeatedly by EADS press releases, and that’s just one firm.

      The armor can be shipped separately, so you can ignore that part. The A400 was only supposed to carry the vehicle without the added armor.

      The weight of 31 tons is well under the specced max takeoff weight of 37,000 Kg. There’s no moving target other than Airbus’s desire to lower the specs of the A400.

      Seriously, Uwe, let UKAir argue with me. He’s making me work and found two mistakes in what I’ve said. Overall, he does his homework before talking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.