Monday, May 16, 2016
Airbus is to swap out parts and components of its troubled A400M aircraft during regular maintenance and upgrades after cracks were discovered in a French aircraft. German lawmakers were notified of the updates after being addressed by Germany’s Defense Ministry. With three of Germany’s 53 ordered A400s delivered, the government has demanded retrofits of the three aircraft which did not meet requirements, such as air dropping of paratroopers and equipment, and medical evacuations. Feared delays to delivery may send Berlin looking elsewhere to meet its transport aircraft gap with Lockheed Martins C-130J and Boeing’s C-17 potential options.
Indonesia better reconsider purchasing this aircraft!
C-17 already ceased production wonder why German still consider it a candidate! Maybe used C-17? End of an Era for Boeing’s C-17
UPDATE 2-Airbus wants to replace A400M parts after cracks found, Germany says
(Updates with Airbus comment)
By Sabine Siebold
BERLIN May 13 Airbus Group SE wants to swap out airframe components in Germany’s A400M transport planes after cracks were discovered in a French A400M aircraft, the German defence ministry told lawmakers on Friday.
Benedikt Zimmer, who heads the ministry’s arms acquisitions department, notified the German parliament’s defence committee about the company’s plans late on Friday, in a document seen by Reuters. In the notification, he said the swap could take up to seven months to complete.
Airbus now needs to submit a comprehensive plan to deal with various problems that have affected the long-delayed A400M, including significant gearbox glitches on its turboprop engines, Zimmer told lawmakers.
Airbus confirmed it had identified an unknown cracking behavior in a part made of an aluminum alloy during quality control checks in 2011. It said the issue did not affect flight safety and repairs agreed with its customers would be incorporated into regular maintenance and upgrade schedules.
Germany has ordered 53 of the planes from Airbus, but deliveries have been delayed as Europe’s largest aerospace company grapples with production delays.
The repairs would be completed as part of ongoing modifications of the three A400M aircraft that have already been delivered to Germany, Zimmer told lawmakers.
Germany has demand retrofits of the three aircraft which did not meet requirements such as air dropping of paratroopers and equipment, and medical evacuations.
Germany’s military is concerned that the issues could lead to further delays, and has begun weighing possible ways to cover its military transport needs, according to a spokesman for the ministry.
Possible alternatives include joint purchases with France of other planes, such as the C-130J transport planes built by Lockheed Martin Corp or Boeing Co’s C-17 cargo planes, or service life extensions for its ageing fleet of Transall transport planes, said the spokesman.
Current plans call for Germany to phase out the Transall planes that were built in the 1960s by 2021.
A classified government defence report obtained by Reuters said the raft of problems facing the A400M made it difficult to plan for further deliveries given the “high number of manufacturer-caused risks.”
The report also questioned whether the aircraft would ever achieve the required self-defence capabilities and be able to refuel helicopters in mid-air, according to the report.
Despite the issues, the defence ministry is not considering terminating the programme, according to a spokesman. “The question of cancelling the programme is not up for discussion at the moment,” he said. (Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Berlin Newsroom; Editing by Mark Potter and David Evans) @reuters.com
C-160 Transall transport planes
The C-160 military transport aircraft was jointly developed and produced by West German and French companies.
First production aircraft were delivered in 1967. Originally this cargo aircraft was intended for French and West German air forces. However it has also been exported to Indonesia (6 units), South Africa (9 units, now retired) and Turkey. Production ceased in 1985. A total of 214 aircraft were built. Despite its age this aircraft still remains in service with Germany (60), France (50) and Turkey (20). The C-160 aircraft approach the end of their service lives. These are due to be replaced by the new Airbus A400M Atlas. However if necessary operational lifetime of the C-160 aircraft can be extended to 2018.
|Dimensions and weight|
|Wing span||40 m|
|Weight (empty)||29 t|
|Weight (maximum take off)||51 t|
|Engines and performance|
|Engines||2 x Rolls-Royce Tyne Rty.20 Mk.22 turboprop|
|Engine power||2 x 6 100 shp|
|Maximum speed||513 km/h|
|Cruising speed||495 km/h|
|Service ceiling||8.23 km|
|Range (with 8.5 t payload)||5 000 km|
|Range (with 16 t payload)||1 850 km|
|Ferry range||8 850 km|
|Maximum payload||16 t|
|Cargo compartment dimensions||17.2 x 3.15 x 2.98 m|
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