2019 Outlook: Airbus corruption probe

Update to Outlook 2019: leaving Airbus’ troubled year behind.

Dec. 20, 2018, (c) Leeham News: The French newspaper Le Monde reported that Airbus may face billions of dollars in fines over the US probe into bribes and corruption.

The US probe is an outgrowth of the 2016 investigation begun in the UK and continental Europe over bribes and the use of third parties in sales of commercial and military aircraft. Airbus self-reported violations to authorities, triggering the investigations.

The US investigation began at the end of 2017.

According to the news article, Airbus could be banned for five year from civil and military contracts in the US.

In response, Airbus issued the following statement:

Airbus Statement on Article in French daily Le Monde

 “It is a known fact that Airbus is the subject of a publicly-disclosed investigation and therefore is unable to comment in any form on the current proceedings.

 Airbus wishes to remind that in 2016 the company disclosed a matter of concern to the authorities. Since then, Airbus has been cooperating closely with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the French Parquet National Financier (PNF) in their investigations.

 Furthermore, in previous financial disclosures Airbus has reported that as part of its engagement with the US authorities, the latter have requested information relating to conduct forming part of the SFO/PNF investigation that could fall within US jurisdiction. Here, too, Airbus is cooperating with the US authorities in close coordination with the SFO and PNF.

 The United States is of major importance to Airbus in terms of production facilities, employees and clients. We are committed to the country, to our customers and our employees there as we are in any other region where Airbus has a major industrial presence.

 Compliance is at the heart of everything Airbus does today. Over the past years, Airbus has been putting in place an industry leading compliance capability, and is cooperating with the relevant authorities on current proceedings.”

37 Comments on “2019 Outlook: Airbus corruption probe

  1. This is a serious issue not only for Airbus but also for the U.S. economy. With some 3,200 people directly employed in the U.S., plus having spent $200 million on suppliers, the loss of such an enterprise could have a seriously detrimental effect on tens of thousands of people indirectly. Airbus has perfomed well in the U.S., having recently delivery its 100th A320 aircraft produced in its Alabama facility. They also have a major training facility in Miami, Florida.

  2. Makes one wonder how long Boeing was banned from government contracts after the first round of the KC-767 Tanker bidding involving the President of Boeing Defense? I think even higher ups, too, were affected.

  3. Depends whether you see the US Govt as attempting to maintain a level playing field or whether they are seen to be using such events to tilt the advantage to their own indigenous producers. I am inclined to see the latter rather than the former.

    Merry Christmas

    • Yeah considering Airbus spends an average of like 16 billion dollars a year with US suppliers and Airbus is building a 600 million dollar factory to boot that’s what the government is doing. They are in it to hurt and take advantage of Airbus.

      • Not going to be that stiff a penalty for that level of breach of ITAR. ( Thats only for the worst of the worst cases)
        Still could be costly in $.

        back in 2011 BAE just had a $79 mill penalty for breaches of ITAR and ACEA
        ‘The State Department said it found a total of 2,591 BAE arms-control breaches after the parent company’s criminal conviction last year for violations of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations
        …BAE failed to get a required U.S. nod to engage in “brokering activities” involving U.S. systems or sub-systems incorporated on the EF-2000 Eurofighter Typhoon…..Beside unauthorized brokering of U.S.-supplied arms and services, the alleged breaches of U.S. law included failure to register as a broker; failure to file mandated annual reports; causing unauthorized brokering; failure to report the payment of fees or commissions associated with arms deals; and failure to maintain records involving controlled transactions.”
        As can be seen they seem to be procedural and paperwork violations…a lawyers paradise, which can also hide bribes

  4. Well its too bad that the High Standards are only for today.

    It would have avoided a lot of grief and saved a lot of money if they had applies those standards YESTERDAY (past).

    As this is an Airbus article, lets leave Boeing out of it.

    Petition Scott for a Boeing corruption one if you want.

    • Hello TransWorld,

      But fairly quickly we are ON again. I wonder how many repetitions of this it will take before the local judge gets the message that the higher court and central government is sending him? I don’t know much about Brazil politics, perhaps sure to be overturned injunctions help make the judge popular in his local district, and he is considering a career in local politics?

      “A Brazilian court on Saturday shot down a fresh injunction by a judge over a plan by planemakers Boeing of the US and Embraer of Brazil to create a $5.26-billion joint venture, Brazil’s state news agency said.

      It was the second time this month an appeals court has overruled decisions by a Sao Paulo judge, Victorio Guizio Neto, seeking to temporarily block the deal.

      The higher court said Saturday it was not up to Guizio Neto to decide the future of the proposed joint venture, noting that the Brazilian government held a “golden share” in Embraer that allowed it to veto strategic decisions if it wished, according to state news agency Agencia Brasil.


  5. EU might look into US F-16 sales practices in Eastern Europe and get into a “Mexican Stand Off”, if that does not give enough ammo thye can add the F-35 sales practices to the old F-16 NATO customers that 100% went with F-35’s, even though their requirements was manily for fighters/interceptors and not for a stealth attack/commando data hub.

    • Well that makes the head spin a bit.

      For all the F-35 problems, its the best interceptor sans the F-22.

      Not because it accelerates or maneuvers with a Typhoon or a Rafael, but you can’t see it.

      I have seen some gaming that shows that if the F-35 lives up to its promise stealth wise it wipes the floor on other aircraft, though in this case its Russian Su-35 variants.

      Keeping in mind that making parts for it is part of the package which is a issue on all side and countries.

      • All the main rivals have IR search and track and have done so for years, the scanning process ( like ordinary radar dishes) gets around the narrow field of view.
        Stealth is probably only useful at low level and not at high altitudes in a clear cold sky.

        • Hello Dukeofurl,

          Regarding: “All the main rivals have IR search and track and have done so for years, …”

          State of the art stealth technology is not limited to low radar cross section.

          “To achieve infrared stealth, the exhaust gas is cooled to the temperatures where the brightest wavelengths it radiates are absorbed by atmospheric carbon dioxide and water vapor, dramatically reducing the infrared visibility of the exhaust plume. Another way to reduce the exhaust temperature is to circulate coolant fluids such as fuel inside the exhaust pipe, where the fuel tanks serve as heat sinks cooled by the flow of air along the wings.”


          • My post above contains only information available on Wikipedia. Could much more be known by those with the appropriate security clearances, or the education to correctly analyze the problem based on the relevant scientific and engineering principles involved?

          • These 2 peaks for infra red detection, one for exhaust the other is for airframe heating. Fixing one still leaves the other. F35 doesn’t have a properly configured rear engine exhaust like the F22 does, it’s just a variation on something like the F18, except a lot hotter as it’s 2x the Max power.
            When the real world test and evaluation is done and is released, maybe the results will be different from the brochure claims .

          • So far the war games are about 30-0.

            Handled right (and you can bet the pilots know what right is) the F-35 is close to impossible to take out.

            It can’t dogfight, but then they don’t dogfight anymore (or if they do then its all gone really wrong)

            The fight starts out at 100 miles with AIM-102 or Metoer. Suddenly your missile warning goes off and you do what?

            You can’t see where it came from, let alone what shot it. You go evasive. A few more come at you and then starts the infrared missiles from something you can’t see.

            And that engine is run at idle the whole time.

            Perfectly, no, better than anything out there, yes (well short of an F-22)

            IRST range is much lower than radar (which can now be stealthy) and you can’t use it when you are dodging incoming missiles.

          • Hello Dukeofurl,

            Regarding: “F35 doesn’t have a properly configured rear engine exhaust like the F22 does, it’s just a variation on something like the F18, except a lot hotter as it’s 2x the Max power.”

            See the excerpts below from the Aviation Week slideshow at the link after the excerpt.

            “In designing the nozzle of the F135 engine that powers the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Pratt & Whitney aimed to rival the low signature of the nozzles on its previous F119, while beating it on maintenance costs.”

            “The F135 nozzle likely suppresses IR signature using multiple methods. The trailing-edge chevrons create shed vortices, shortening the plume, while their steeper axial angle likely directs cooler ambient air into the exhaust flowpath. The inner surfaces of both sets of flaps are white and covered in minute holes similar to those on the F119, which might supply cooling air. The space between the tail feathers and the trailing chevrons may also contain ejectors to provide even more cooling air. The tiles and inner flap surfaces are likely composed of low-emissivity, RAM composites.”


          • You can add in the ASEA radar itself is stealthy, hard to impossible to detect and not something a fighter would be able to carry the gear for.

            On the other hand the F-35 has full situational information on display with or without its own radar

            It can feed info the the AIM-120 until it releases it to its own active system (or Meteor)

            With AWACs, E-2D, Aegis etc not to mention jamming form the F-18Grolwer or th F-35 itself, it presents an extremely poor environment for anything to survive in.

            Frequent shootout of their own aircraft does not bode well for the Russians.

            There is discussion of fitting the F-35 system into the F-22 air-frame (retrofit not new production )

  6. “F-35 does have a high-tech radar, high-fidelity cameras and other advanced gear that can detect airplanes. But foremost, Lockheed optimized these sensors for spotting targets on the ground — and at relatively short distances.”
    But not too close to the ground like the A-10 !
    The purpose of the ‘spread out exhaust’ is to reduce the temperature profile of the exhaust its self . Reducing the heat signature of the engine parts exposed doesnt change that. You dont need classified clearance to know that, thats why F22 and even the B-2 use that.
    As for an F35 missile coming out of nowhere – please , the Aim120 only comes in an ‘active radar version’. As soon as the missile ignites , that heat source is going to be detected before it leaves the launch rail ( and computer calculate your position) and as its an Aim120 , no you cant fire it over your shoulder .
    Lockheed and its avionics suppliers make all sorts of claims , but they are very careful to couch them in spin, usually along the lines of ‘ designed’ to do this or that. Which means in the lab and under ideal conditions, but they dont add the qualifier – actual experience will differ.
    In that respect Lockheed arent any different – but probably more shameless- than Airbus or Boeing who use hyperbole to talk up their own products advantages.

    • You do know the F-35 has internal only missiles launch for the near peer fight?

      AIM-210: ” It also incorporates a datalink to guide the missile to a point where its active radar turns on and makes terminal intercept of the target.”

      Where do you get your information (and please list some sources, this is getting to the point the Washington Post will be doing fact checks on you as well.)

      So, you think that the UK is getting the 100 miles plus range Meteor qualified for the F-35 so it can shoot targets on the ground?

      • “A data link to guide the missile ”
        On your computer games, surely it shows the doors to the missile bay opening and the rocket motor ingniting- oh and that data link itself – all of these events breaks stealth.
        And the update via the unstealty data transmission, that is based on a quick radar sweep is it not, and the missile has its own radar in the nose.

        Tracking range ( when you can fire) or was that just detection range , was it advancing target or a receding one ( much harder).
        Then there is the tradeoffs -“Max range can also be somewhat artificially increased by reducing the search area and/or decreasing scan time (increasing dwell time).”

        Who can say they really know, but we do know real world stuff isnt the same as brochure claims, which you put much store in.
        As is usual the F-35 keeps getting delayed this time undergoing the Pentagons independent test and evaluation . I think we all know the real reasons for that – and this for a plane that is supposed to be in operational service
        This would only apply to the very latest production testing versions coming down the assembly line, not the 150 or more ‘in service’

        • Duke: You are amazing, so lets try to deal with facts and not spin.

          You don’t list a single supporting document for your contention its sensors are for close range, none.

          I call BS on that, because, well it is BS – unlike el President you are not entitled to your own fact (he is not either of course).

          You can disagree with how facts are interpreted or assessed, you are not entitled to make things up. Shame on you.

          So you then list its deficiencies. This discussion is not about the program problems, its about your connections in regards to what it will be capable when it is fully in service.

          You want to discuss that, I can do it all day long, because I am interested and its my money they are using. I am vastly better informed than you are.

          So, here how air to air works (I will make it simple and have it one on one)

          Aircraft R/C (Ruskie or Chinese) comes ambling along with the goal of achieving air superiority over area X.

          AWACS sees it, satellites spots it easily as the SU-35 is a big fat target with ZERO stealth , and the F-35 data system gets that data and presents it to the pilot.

          At this point they are 150 miles apart. Sweet says Mr USA. As this is A to A, the aircraft is clean (no externals).

          Mr USA checks his systems, he wants that bird in the basket no matter what Mr R/C does. So he waits until its at 75 miles (you don’t want a sudden chicken out and a missile tail chase that hyper extends your missile)

          Mr USA uses his ASEA -it can’t be det4cted by the way) and and pops off his AIM-120 which is passive but has a data feed from the F-35 as to where the target is gong.

          Mr R/C not ever seeing the missiles coming until the F-35 has the AIM-120 within burn through distance and release it in the final seconds.

          The Aim-120 is detected, but as the alarm goes off the R/C is going down in flames.

          YOu see, R/C has to be withing about 1 mile to see Mr. USA in his F-35 on radar. He might get an IRST at 10 miles, but he has been in the kill basket for a long long time.

          Mr USA out of missiles, he eases off to the side and the next one comes up into the slot.

          Or he has the F-15 behind him launch an AIM-120 and he guides it.

          Now multiply this by 10 or 20 and you have 20 burning spots on the ground.

          Or Mr. USA in his F-35 can do it himself and he can jam Mr. R/C while doing it.

          • Sources ? I provided one that says the people paid to rtest the claims have deferred doing so… Because the know the plane would fail.And your experience as a pentagon tester and evaluator tells you better? Get back to me when it’s passed with flying colors.

          • With regard to: “I am vastly better informed than you are.”
            You might want to tone it down a bit.

            “Any man who must say, ‘I am the King’ is no true king.”
            – Tywin Lannister

          • Mike: Generally I agree, but when you have statements that are grossly and clearly fabricated, then I think its time to call BS on the poster.

            Statements like the F-35 sensors have no range.

            As the F-35 is intended as a penetration attack aircraft, its going to have range. Its not F-22 range, but its got the ASEA and its better than the old radar systems (and stealthy as not detectable)

            Its radar signature is so small it can get within 10 miles of a land based radar, let alone an airborne one.

            If you are using missiles, you have to see what you are shooting at (short of dogfight range)

            And yes the AIM-120 is guided, you can;t shoot at something 50 miles away and assume its going to just lumber along straight and level.

            You have to get the missile into the basket where it can pick up the opposing fighter. Once its there then it become autonomous.

            Present some facts, then you can present your intrietio0ns of what those facts mean.

            No one gets to create their own facts.

            And he did indeed do what my brother refers to as Chaff and Flare (which is appropriate) in that he then gets into the F-35 development issues.

            Happy to talk about those all day long as well, but the basis for the discussion was how good an interceptor the F-35 is, not its history.

            I can list the C-17 and the 787 and mind boggling development issues that in the end created outstanding results.

            The field tests with the close to 100% capable F-35 are showing it is extremely effective against the lattes ASEA equipped US fighters.

            The Ruskies and the Chinese have big fat target air frames , the SU-35 is about as big a target there is out there (and the so called Chinese J-20 is not stealthy either)

            Air to Air is no longer Vietnam, there has not been a gun kill in 40 years?

            If you can’t see it you can’t kill it and you can’t see the F-35 until you are in eyeball range.

            As the F-35 can see you, its not going to let y0u do that (yes all things can fail, but with the modern linked system and situation awareness, its very very very unlikely)

            So don’t Chaff and Burn, if you don’t know then say so.

            He has contended that modern diesel engines are old ironmongery as well.

            I have worked with them from the days they were not high tech (other than those pesky injection systems that are machined to the ten thousand of an inch) to them being fully electronically control and as clean as a gasoline engine.

            You only get that with some massive computer power that rivals the ones they use for aircraft.

            Disagree on facts, fine, don’t try to smoke me. I don’t buy it.

          • Duke: You continue to try to bait and switch.

            C-17 and 787 had massive development issues, they are outstanding aircraft.

            The F-35 is doing the same. If you want to argue the history that is fine, bring it on (well don’t, I agree its been a debacle)

            The discussion is how good a modern air to air it is and you have presented nothing.

            Present some facts, not your opinion.

            You can admit you are simply wrong, I certainly have been and done so.

            What I will tell you is that I have followed Aviation avidly for 55+ years.

            I am wrong at times, but I do know what I am talking about. I clearly know this area not just far better, you don’t show any evidence of knowing it at all.

            I don’t comment on nuclear reaction design because other than a generality idea of how they work, I don’t know.

            Integrity is being able to admit you are wrong or even tried to blow smoke. I have done that a few times.

            If you can’t admit when you are wrong or are trying to do so, then you simply diminish yourself by doing the Trump thing.

  7. Happy New Year all!

    Sorry but I cannot leave this one alone:
    Funny how some people post an off-topic comment, then preach about keeping on-topic, post two more off-topic comments before finally engaging in a flame war about a fourth off-topic theme.

    • While I agree with the basic part of that, when a thread has run out of steam and goes off topic no harm is done I think

      In this case the arena of A to A in this day and age is a highly mis-understood subject and of a great deal of Aviation relevance as the F-35 is the most expensive military weapons system ever (pretty sure)

      Dog fighting lasted an incredibly long time, in technology and changing era terms (per each in its own era) it rivals the smooth bore guns (which have come back on tanks of all things)

      From WWI on Through Vietnam it was dog fighting and began to change in Vietnam but still was a prominent aspect even late and very much so early.

      What has changed are missiles are the standard now, they have achieved most of what they promised in Vietnam. With solid state and processors, they tend to reliable and capable.

      Stealthy has been the other huge factor. If you have it you have a huge advantage.

      One of the eye watering aspects is that an F-22 can be (under 20 miles I think it is) of the attest Russian radar and still not be detectable.

      While not quite as good the F-35 can get in under 25 miles I believe it is and that is more than close enough to pop a missile into the complex and take it out.

      An F-35 or an F-22 fight is like being in a gymnasiums and having NVG and an accurate gun and the other guy has a knife and can’t see anything. .

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