China trojans: we’re not talking about condoms, either. This item from Defense Tech is pretty alarming. And while this piece is also pretty alarming, though it isn’t about China. Or maybe it is. The chips are made by the same company, sourcing them in China.
China is the biggest threat: So says Jim Albaugh, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Aviation Week has this article about an Albaugh appearance in the UK.
EADS ponders its own bank: This would give it access to low-cost funds and protect against the Euro, officials say. Here’s an article. Our first thought: since the WTO ruled Airbus launch aid was illegally structured because of below market rates (but did not rule the aid itself illegal), this returns EADS/Airbus to the low-cost funding access. Clever. Wonder what Boeing thinks about this?
The backdoor thing is a bit overblown. ( I would like to know who the “sponsor” for the research is.)
The ProAsic line of products is the programmable stepping stone to full custom ICs and
they can accomodate quite a bit of complexity a full high power computing system incl periphery.
Actel did the chip design which then was produced in a chinese fab. I don’t see insertion of additional functionality at the fab as a viable possibility.
If they were clandestinely added it must have been done by Actel on behalf of some US national entitty or their own. Though in my experience these things are quite often leftovers from early product stages that needed debugging in one way or another or just a design weakness.
The actual research paper is here ( china not mentioned ;-):
From what I am hearing, the ‘backdoor’ is not in the programming of the PAC3 chip, but inserted as part of the manufacturing process itself. These chips are used in the C-17, C-130J, P-8, A-400M, and A-330MRTT. The immediate problem isn’t who did this, as Uwe pointed out. But his suggestion the US, or someone in the US did this is wrong. The question is what can this backdoor programming can do, and how is it accessed? Then ask why and who.
Uwe could be right it is simply a ‘leftover’ from the early design and production phases. If that is true, later versions of the PAC3 will not have this ‘backdoor’. The PAC3 chip has been used for years, since at least 2005, and maybe earlier.
“But his suggestion the US, or someone in the US did this is wrong. ”
The fab gets chip mask data sets. This does not allow insertion of new functions.
you could with some effort change some connection in metal layers.
So if it is a functional insertion it must have happened during work done by Actel.
Some 3letter agency having effected this is not much removed from StyxNet and other
recently published government hacking efforts.
Much higher probability actually ( and undeclared war )
The tenet of “don’t assume malice when incompetence is sufficient explanation” is imho dead.
An undeclared war is what I expect WW3 to be. An undeclared cyberwar. And it might have actually started already.
Re. the ProAsic Chip
Chip with backdoor + IT reporter who doesn’t understand aviation = Needless Panic
Chip with backdoor + aviation reporter who doesn’t understand IT security = Needless Panic
Chip with backdoor + aviation IT security professionals = a secure system design
The backdoor in the ProAsic Chip is a non-issue, at least as far as its use in aircraft is concerned. Backdoors are a known aspect of many chip designs. They are not a sinister feature, but often a necessary developmental tool for managing the chip.
When these chips are used in an aircraft, multiple layers of security ensure there is not a possibility of a hacker or bit of malicious code penetrating the system. The architecture includes firewalls, deterministic network architecture and physical separations between critical and non-critical systems when the airplane is airborne. They are designed and tested to ensure they cannot be penetrated. In the case of the 787, Boeing actually had to explain to a House subcommittee the architecture which keeps hackers and malicious code out. The notion these things have not been considered and addressed in the system design is truly laughable.
The most interesting aspect currently is the potential to extract the programming. i.e. a start for reverse engineering.
“The notion these things have not been considered and addressed in the system design is truly laughable”
That I actually deem a bit of an optimistic viewpoint.
Well it is not that surpricing, the western world has given up on even keeping high tech jobs now. With bankers running the world there will be no second thought about anything, more profit! I am sure people living 30 years from now will hate us for what we did right now, selling our future for short term profit.
“Selling our future for short term profit.”
Is this not what Faust did?
A Emirate a380 called a MAYDAY today after circling severl times in a rain storm over tronto (we all remember the last time a airbus a340 landed in a storm) ater nearly running out of fuel.
The airplane actually landed in Ottawa yesterday because it was unable to land in Toronto due to bad weather. Because it circled a few times before finally turning back it nearly ran out of fuel before reaching Ottawa. It was the first time an A380 landed at the Ottawa International Airport and apparently created quite a stir over there. It took off two hours later with a fresh load of fuel.
Cargo plane crashed in Ghana at least 10 people dead 6/2/12 22.20 GMT
aircraft beloned to allied airline of nigeria crashed on landing overshoot runway into minibus.
So lets speculate, how will A+B counter the growing NB competition with their next generation NBs coming in 10-15 years? I would guess they will grow in size, leave below 150 seats to others and fill the gap up to 788..
en590swe, interesting topic. I guess A & B are not sure them selves yet.
Assume either develops a 150-250 seat aircraft, range up to 4000NM. It will probably be compromised (heavy) around 150 seats up to 1000NM. Guess were 90% of the NB flights are..
The regional jets from Bombardier, the Chinese, Russians and Embraer and Japan are pushing from below. 150 Seats stretched regional jets will spoil the party around 150 seats.
Maybe A&B will build 2 jets to cover the NB markets, that’s what they suggested a few yrs ago..
I doubt they would build two jets at the same time. I think they will rather select the most optimal passenger/range to answer what they think the market wants at that time. It’s going to be a tough call, but the trend seems to be heading towards larger capacity. And for the range there is also an appetite for longer range in that segment to replace the 757.
If A and B move up a little, as it is expected, it would be surprising if they also undertook another platform at the same time to cover the segment below. There are two reasons for that. One is that the segment below is not as popular as the increasingly larger upper segment. The other is that Bombardier will be firmly established in that segment by the time A and B are ready to move.
One way or another, I expect Boeing to move first because the 737 has less potential left in it compared to the A320. And Airbus will not make a move until the 737 replacement is well defined.
So the bigger NB model would have to cover A321 to 788? And the smaller would cover down to 150 seats? Maybe if the just keep the current cross section for the smaller plane and do a new wider MB for the larger one. They will have to be good to counter whats coming from the competition. The MC21 looks like a contender above 150 seats and the C300 too. I think this is the biggest worry for them both, how to survive a future non duopoly.
Sure they have room to grow a NB into the A300/A310/767 niche even the upper end of the A321/739 as well. But the smaller one will meet most compatition, maybe it will be better to cooperate with the compatition coming from below? We might see new constellations forming in the next 10-15 years.
Normand Hamel: “One way or another, I expect Boeing to move first because
the 737 has less potential left in it compared to the A320.”
I assume you mean “the MAX has less potential left compared the NEO.”
If that is the case and I agree with you, why is Boeing so desperately trying to
squeak all it can out of the MAX, with a fan-diameter which is really to small
to match or come close to the operating costs of the NEO, being limited by
engine ground clearance, while the a/p will not go into operation until 2018 at
The other and possibly better way for B to go, appears to be to start develop-
ing the NA now, which could be made available one or two years after the MAX
target, but would not only save B. a lot of money which it will never recover,
based on your quote above, but will also curtail the avalanche of NEO orders
from even more major airlines like AA.
I understand that Boeing may face other big expenses on the 777 improve-
ment or all new a/p and possibly on the 787–9/–10, but that does not mean
that B can afford to scarifies the whole 737 market, by offering what is already
evident, a marginally efficient MAX, which will soon face an all NA in that cate-
gory from Airbus, in the early 2020s.
Your assumption is correct Rudy. I had the MAX versus the neo in mind. I also agree with everything you say here. And I suspect there is a large contingent at Boeing which also agrees with you.
Airbus strategy will almost certainly be wait until Boeing comes up with an NSA and watch, learn, listen to the airlines and wait until the supply chain matures. Then implement the lessons learned into their own A30X, EIS 2-3 yrs later. And meanwhile dominate the segment with low risk A320 enhancements (stretches, cargo version, composite tail, cockpit & cabin upgrades).
Maybe Boeing will take dramatic action to turn the tide. 5 Yrs ago I suggested Boeing covering the segment up to 165 seats together with Embraer, enabling a larger NSA.. Henry Lam made a great artist impression of this “LRJ” at the time. 5 Abreast up to 110-165 seats short/medium flights with high BPR GTF’s. A direction Bombardier took, IMO a CS500 is a “when”.
Very nice aircraft keesje, how would Airbus react to something like that? What does your take on the NSA look like now? Any new ideas? If you cant beat the competition, join them sort of idea? Would they only share the smaller frame and keep the larger for themselves? I recall Boeing helped with the superjet, more of a consultant than cooperation?
Even A+B did some cooperation on the start of the A380 project iirc, a BWB would probably warrant som sort of cooperation as it would be a massive undertaking. Parting from the known way of building planes. Could such a project make both A+B money? Share the cost and profit.
And the CS500 will probably sell better than the CS100/300 will ever do. The 100/300 were a logical continuation of the RJ700/900/1000, but I believe what the market really needs is the higher capacity variant. The success of the 737/A320 speaks for itself.
The max will lead to B losing market share and take away needed resources from the NSA. The 737 and 777 is their most important markets. Maybe they are debating internaly as the max is not set in stone just yet. A simple reengine vs a costly max makeover vs NSA full ahead.
With the NSA they could grow the NB market some as we have debated 1000 times before. The max will only retain the current market share a degraded market share. If the leap X hits problems and gets delayed I can see the A320 grabbing more than 60/40.
For once I agree with Michael O’Leary, the max is a dogs dinner 🙂
I wonder why they didn’t divert to Hamilton, which is only 60 km away, as opposed to 350 km. They also have a 3050 m runway on 12/30 as opposed to Ottawa’s 14/32.
Unless the weather in Hamilton was just as bad as in Toronto?