Tuesday, June 8, 2010

DTN News: Airbus Military Plane A400M Ready To Make Debut Public Flight

Defense News: DTN News: Airbus Military Plane A400M Ready To Make Debut Public Flight
Source: DTN News / Int'l Media By Rob Buckland on Jun 7th, 2010
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - June 8, 2010: Airbus’s first military transport aircraft, the A400M, is expected to make its debut public flight tomorrow, two years and up to £10billion behind schedule.
The giant aircraft is scheduled to take to the skies at the Berlin Air Show, which opens tomorrow, watched by anxious Airbus Military executives keen to put a turbulent 24 months behind them and look ahead to the A400M entering service with European airforces as well as achieving significant export orders.
The success – or otherwise – of the A400M will have a significant impact on Bristol’s aerospace industry.
Airbus’s giant Filton plant is building the wings for the plane while at Rolls-Royce’s neighbouring Patchway plant, engineers are working on the all-new TP400 engine.
Airbus launched the A400M project in 2003 with an order for 180 planes from seven European countries including the UK. However, these countries – which need the aircraft to replace ageing transporters such as the RAF’s Hercules fleet – will not receive their aircraft before the end of 2012 due to a raft of technical hitches.
Pressure on military budgets across Europe could also mean some countries trimming their orders – the UK has already confirmed it will reduce its 25-strong commitment by up to three.
On the brighter side, Airbus says it has identified up to 500 export orders for the A400M from international military customers with one senior executive claiming top brass from two air forces have visited the A400M HQ in Spain over the past few weeks.
However, so far only Malaysia has committed to buy the aircraft and will receive four. South Africa cancelled its eight-strong order last December, just weeks before prototype aircraft MSN001 made its first private flight.
While government deficits worldwide are likely to hold back spending on new military aircraft, the commercial aerospace sector appears to be bouncing back from a long period in the doldrums due to a combination of global recession, terror alerts and, most recently, the Icelandic volcanic cloud.
Airline boses gathering in Berlin are upbeat – a confidence that aerospace firms hope will result in them committing to buy new aircraft.
Airbus’s A380 superjumbo – another aircraft whose success is vital to Bristol – will also be in the shop window with demonstration flights at Berlin. Airbus expects to announce some orders from airlines at the air show this week.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact: dtnnews@ymail.com

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