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keesje
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:39 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 148):
Summary: As is, the A400M will not hit its empty weight and thus range targets. Airbus is openly campaigning for more money and more time to re-engineer the plane or to be granted relief on the requirements side.

Do you agree or disagree with that statement?

I see no sources, just aviation week quotion anonimous industry people. Maybe its McVitie or Richard A again. I do not understand how you can be so sure "as is".

Quoting Revelation (Reply 148):
And, by the way, do you care to address KC135TopBoom's corrections of your misinformation on C-17 pricing?

Nobody here knows the real costs of C-17.


Boeing C-17 Globemaster III

How much does it actually cost to purchase or to lease a C-17? We have some historical evidence about C-17 unit costs. In 2000, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a ‘lease-and-support’ agreement with Boeing and the United States Air Force for the use of four Boeing C-17s ( three + one “active reserve” ) for the period 2001 to 2007.

The price was US $750M for the lease and US $400M for support arrangements (maintenance, training, services etc). The total cost was thus US $1.15B.

Based on this British precedent, a 7-year lease of six (6) C-17s for the Canadian Forces would cost at least US $1.725B [US $1.15B ÷ 4 = US $287.5M per aircraft x 6 aircraft = US $1.725B] or Cdn $2.0B. Thus, Canada would pay about $333M per aircraft in total, or $47.6M per aircraft, per year (assuming a 0.8584 exchange rate).

This is, of course, if we are talking about a 7-year lease only – not the purchase price. In the case of an outright purchase, the price would be higher. According to Boeing data, USAF C-17 purchase prices range from US $175M to US $232M.

[Ed: the USAF cite unit costs of FY1998 constant US $236.7M. A 2002 contract for 60 more C-17s dropped to US $161M per aircraft due to order size and cost- controlling measures. Note that the USAF costs generally do not reflect complete aircraft – the US government furnishes some C-17 components and equipment.]

http://www.casr.ca/id-antonov-2.htm

This was 3 yrs ago. We have seen serious $ inflation since then.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 124):
Today, that means the unit cost of a new build C-17A/ER is slightly under $175M US, thanks to the devalued dollar.

Revelation, do you believe in instant price meltdowns, cost implosions, fire sales and scale magic when it come to large defense orders?
 
bennett123
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:50 pm

Revelation

On the issue of the Algerian MIG's, is it clear that the contract said that they were new aircraft, rather than re worked existing aircraft. My understanding is that the contract was not released.

AFAIK Russia says one thing and Algeria another.

It is not not unknown for customers to buy a product and then try to pull this sort of stunt to try to get some of their money back.

Very often the key is the price, if it is below the usual price, then they probably knew what they were getting.

Besides, at this level do customers really pay up without looking in the box first.
 
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Revelation
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:23 pm



Quoting Keesje (Reply 150):

Quoting Revelation (Reply 148):
Summary: As is, the A400M will not hit its empty weight and thus range targets. Airbus is openly campaigning for more money and more time to re-engineer the plane or to be granted relief on the requirements side.

Do you agree or disagree with that statement?

I see no sources, just aviation week quotion anonimous industry people. Maybe its McVitie or Richard A again. I do not understand how you can be so sure "as is".

Because I don't think the Airbus CEO would be making such emotional statements if the only problem was some engine software.

It'd be nice if you'd give us your stand on it instead of posting other people's quotes and pictures.

Quoting Keesje (Reply 150):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 124):
Today, that means the unit cost of a new build C-17A/ER is slightly under $175M US, thanks to the devalued dollar.

Revelation, do you believe in instant price meltdowns, cost implosions, fire sales and scale magic when it come to large defense orders?

Apparently A380 fans believe aircraft become more profitable once one writes down the R&D and startup costs, and I believe this is exactly what's happening with C-17. All the R&D costs are long in the past, and the only way C-17 will bring in more money is if it sells more. Otherwise, it's time to shut down the production line.
 
osiris30
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:20 am



Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 142):
I do not think that pulling out of Afghanistan is politically an option.

David,

By the time the A400M is in service, Afghanistan will likely be a VASTLY reduced or finished mission. It's still at least what 4 years from EIS??
 
bennett123
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:37 am

Assuming that the RAF can wait for 4 years.
 
Beaucaire
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:53 pm

This ( German ) article spells doom for the A400M..
EADS do truely consider to shell the whole thing !!

http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/0,1518,605070,00.html
 
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Stitch
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:46 pm

Well it appears the Luftwaffe has minimum payload and range requirements it can accept with the A400M which the current frames do not appear to be able to deliver. So effectively the plane could end up being no better then what they have now for the missions they wanted to use it on.

So that means they continue with the C-160J Transals, saving all the money they would have spent on the A400M, or they have to buy more expensive C-17s to get the payload and range they wanted the A400M for.

Still, Germany is a major supplier of components to the A400M, so if the Luftwaffe cancels and that cancellation kills the program, will the German government allow it? Or will instead the Germans, in addition to having to upgrade existing aircraft and/or buy new ones from a foreign supplier, also end up subsidizing France and Spain's buys to keep the A400M in production to keep those people employed?
 
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Revelation
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:56 pm



Quoting Beaucaire (Reply 155):
EADS do truely consider to shell the whole thing !!

I ran it through Babelfish.

To set the tone, the article is titled "EXPENSIVE TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT: Airbus project A400M stands on the dump".

Here's the lead sentence:

Quote:
The Air Force counts on drastically retarded supplies, and with airbus the costs explode: The planned military flier A400M becomes the flop for all involved ones. Both sides suggest now: If no solution is, the project could die.

It has lots of quotes of Enders at the World Economic Forum in Davos. These are repeats of the quotes we've already seen above. In particular, he says Airbus was "dämlich" (translates to "daft") to sign a fixed-price contract, and the engine choice was "not the preference of Airbus". Clearly he's unhappy that not only does that contract obligate them to deliver the plane at a loss-making price, but it will also force them to pay compensation for delays.

Also lots of quotes from unnamed sources within the German AF about how dissatisfied they now are. In particular, one officer says "we are not married to Airbus" and within the AF unflattering parallels are being drawn between A400M and A380 The one quote from a named source is as follows:

Quote:
The inspector of Luftwaffe, lieutenant general Klaus-Peter Stieglitz, is afraid of taking time according to “Financial Times Germany”, the first flier for Germany could until 2014 - thus airbus would lie four years over the time. A “desaströse development”, says Stieglitz.

For those of you screaming "SOURCE!" for the four year quote, this is a second source.

The article goes on to say they think they can get another 2 years out of the Transall but beyond that, they're not sure what they should do. It says they expected the first A400M end of 2009 but now the projection is some time in 2014. The translation gets garbled but it says "names of American and Russian producers" are circulating within the German AF.

Clearly EADS is saying there needs to be a new contractual arrangement or they will step away from the program. The translation is garbled, but it quotes Enders as saying "“On the rail, on which we are now, it does not have to continue".

So both sides are holding firm to their positions.

As for the weight issue, the article says:

Quote:
And above all the first machine is still clearly too heavy, as also Enders admits openly. With the aircraft construction the “fight” is against the predominance however a typical problem, adds it. According to “South German newspaper” ("Süddeutsche Zeitung") goes it at present around full twelve tons.

So, for those of you who screamed "SOURCE!" on the 12-ton weight issue, this is a second source.

I'd be amazed if the A400M program ("the largest arms program in Europe") gets canceled, but these articles are starting to make me wonder.
 
osiris30
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:02 am



Quoting Revelation (Reply 157):
I'd be amazed if the A400M program ("the largest arms program in Europe") gets canceled, but these articles are starting to make me wonder.

Here's the catch 22 with the 400M:

If it's a job's/infrastructure project (which I has no issue with, on a philosophical level, then selling the frames at a loss does harm to EADS, which defeats the whole purpose (a loss generating program like that would lead to layoffs, and not job creation).

If it is *not* a job/infrastructure program, superior solutions exist for almost all propsoed configurations (i.e. use 2 c17s for 3 400m, or grab some russian life, or c130s, or .. insert force requirement alternatives here). Given that the currently contracted prices are a loss for EADS, it's fairly safe to assume we're not talking just 1 or 2% (that can be optimized away). It's probably safe to assume the current price is *at least* 10% too low, and that's probably very conservative...

All in all this is turning into a true disaster of a program. Ender's being as frank as he is, is pretty interesting. As for the German lift, I see C17s in their future. Same for the UK. I give the 400M a 50/50 chance at best right now. It is a loss dollar wise for Airbus, it can't meat it's goals performance wise, and it's waaaay late (hell it makes the 380 and 787 look ontime)
 
txjim
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:10 pm



Quoting Nomadd22 (Reply 106):
Big defense corporations and agencies wouldn't go near someone like Kelly Johnson now, even if someone of his genius and cajones came around today.

Very true. He'd need more staff managing SAP than actually designing the product.

Come to think of it, the current Earned Value requirements probably go a long way to delaying most major design efforts these days.
 
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Revelation
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:17 pm



Quoting Osiris30 (Reply 158):
It's probably safe to assume the current price is *at least* 10% too low, and that's probably very conservative...

I think it is being very conservative.

Being 12T overweight on a machine designed to carry 37T is not an easy problem to solve.

Thus the frankness in Enders's statements.

I think we're looking at a situation similar to that being described in the VH-71 thread.

That program already is at 100% cost overrun, and still climbing.

The VH-71 needs major structural redesign to meet its goals, and it seems the A400M does as well. How else will they get rid of 12T?

The difference in the VH-71 case is it's the US defense industry, where they are used to passing on outrageous cost overruns and getting away with it.

It seems Germany is no where near as ready to solve the problem with the checkbook.

So, it would not surprise me if the best case end result is a negotiated 50% - 100% cost overrun, and a negotiated reduction in capabilities (i.e. terrain following with no emissions) for the A400M.

Not sure where Germany is going to find the Euros to proceed, though.

I'd be very leery with proceeding with ex-Sov partners too. They have a bad history of disappointing the customer too.

It seems you can't depend on anything except a product coming off a mature production line, and even then, if you change more than the color of the paint, there will be cost overruns.
 
TheSonntag
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:12 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 160):
Not sure where Germany is going to find the Euros to proceed, though.

Well, the fact that we have federal elections this year certainly does not improve the situation either. But airlift (I do not say the A400M) is badly needed, as the Transalls are really getting old, and Germany does need new planes for the missions it is doing...

So I still think they will stick with the A400M, as the alternatives are probably even worse. Buying some C-17s, though, would be the best...
 
Beta
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:18 pm

As poorly managed as the A400M is I fully expect EADS/Airbus to get what they want-more money, at the end of the day. Make no mistake about it this is a jobs-creating, infrastructure-investing project. And in light of the current economic slow-down and the likely $900 billion pork-barrel "stimulus" package the US is considering, pouring more money in the A400M is actually a true-stimulus. All this barking from both sides, EADS and the German military, are just negotiating tactic for the "Price is Wrong!" In the end both sides will get what they want. EADS/Airbus will get more money, and the customers will get a good airlifter on specs.
 
Lumberton
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:09 pm

Quoting Beta (Reply 162):
As poorly managed as the A400M is I fully expect EADS/Airbus to get what they want-more money, at the end of the day. Make no mistake about it this is a jobs-creating, infrastructure-investing project. And in light of the current economic slow-down and the likely $900 billion pork-barrel "stimulus" package the US is considering, pouring more money in the A400M is actually a true-stimulus.

   Let's do "stimulus" in Everett, WA, and buy a couple hundred KC-767s. Those Europeans are on to something here.  

Quoting Beta (Reply 162):
All this barking from both sides, EADS and the German military, are just negotiating tactic for the "Price is Wrong!" In the end both sides will get what they want. EADS/Airbus will get more money, and the customers will get a good airlifter on specs.

I agree with you, except the "good airlifter" remains to be seen--if the rumored weight issues are correct.

[Edited 2009-02-04 11:10:45]
 
texl1649
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:24 pm

But, it will be more efficient than an AN-70, remember? A plane this size, that, sans engines, is 12 tons overweight is nothing short of incredible. And how that is discovered after it's built is absolutely stunning.

You can excuse the lame "well, we screwed up pretty much where all the wires go" or "wait, what fasteners did we use? Did we put them all on backward?" as simple incompetence/poor coordination in assembly. Building a plane in this class with an empty weight which is 12 tons higher than specified, in the 21st century, reeks of gross, complete negligence; management, engineering, quality control, assembly, integration, all of it.
 
bennett123
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:45 pm

Lumberton

Perhaps it would be best to buy the best product.

If that means KC330 for the USAF and C130J/C17 for Europe, then so be it.
 
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Revelation
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:08 pm



Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 165):
Perhaps it would be best to buy the best product.

If that means KC330 for the USAF and C130J/C17 for Europe, then so be it.

Indeed, but strange things happen when politics are involved, and by definition, politics are a part of all defense purchases.

The best product for tankering, at least in terms of bang for the buck, is the KC135 with new engines. They can be run out till 2025-2035. That's what the USAF itself was saying till 9/11 came along and Congress got the idea of throwing Boeing a bone to make up for canceled airliner sales. And then the fun and games started.
 
474218
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:25 pm



Quoting TexL1649 (Reply 116):
Dusting off a 30-year old design (that lost) isn't likely the ideal answer.

You also have to consider that it lost to a design that was 20 years old at the time.
 
Lumberton
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:47 pm



Quoting 474218 (Reply 167):
Quoting TexL1649 (Reply 116):
Dusting off a 30-year old design (that lost) isn't likely the ideal answer.

You also have to consider that it lost to a design that was 20 years old at the time.

How old is the A400 design?
 
Beta
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:12 pm



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 163):
I agree with you, except the "good airlifter" remains to be seen--if the rumored weight issues are correct.

Quite true. However, Airbus does have a history of making very good airplanes, so I'd like to extend the courtesy of believing it will deliver a plane on specs (engineering-wise) in this one, until I am proven wrong.
 
texl1649
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:24 pm

Notionally, the A400 is aerodynamically/layout-wise just a copy of the Antonov from the mid-80's. Electronically, it's pretty much a mid-90's design, the engines are essentially state of the art today, and the hull/composites use (materials) are state of the art, though there is a lot of speculation as to their suitability in this application (as well with the V-22.)

I think it was first sketched in 1982...
 
474218
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:30 pm



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 168):
How old is the A400 design?

The suggestion was to bring back the YC-14, which lost out to the C-130.

Quoting Alien (Reply 112):
I think if Boeing had any brains they would dust off and modernize the YC-14 prototypes. Two of them where built and flownin the 70s and its seems they are everything the A400 was intended to be. The specs are here:

 
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Revelation
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:56 pm



Quoting TexL1649 (Reply 170):
and the hull/composites use (materials) are state of the art

Hmmm...

787 overweight.
A400M overweight.

Do I see a trend?

A350 overweight?
 
Lumberton
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:07 pm

Business Week has published an article from Der Speigel on he A400. Same as the one in German linked earlier?
http://www.businessweek.com/globalbi...+news+index+-+temp_global+business

Quote:
The same fate seems to have befallen the A400M. There are troubles with the software that controls the planes engines. The steering mechanism has proven challenging. The propeller engines are too loud. And the entire thing is too heavy, as Enders himself admits, before adding that excess weight is a common challenge for new plane models. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the plane has to shave off fully 12 tons.

The result has been major delays costing billions of euros. Originally, the first planes were to be delivered this year. Now, the German air force fears that it could be 2014 before the first A400M arrives. That, said Lieutenant General Klaus-Peter Stieglitz in the Financial Times Deutschland, would be a "disastrous development."

2014!!! Five years?
 
osiris30
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:49 am



Quoting Revelation (Reply 172):

Do I see a trend?

A350 overweight?

A bit premature yet I think.

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 173):
2014!!! Five years?

Well that could be as little as 4 years and 1 month depending on when in 2009. Let's stick with 4 years, that's plenty monumental enough.
 
baroque
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:30 am



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 163):
Let's do "stimulus" in Everett, WA, and buy a couple hundred KC-767s.

By the time you have picked them apart and substituted to make sure all the bits were sourced in the USofA they are going to costs a deal more than even an A400.  angel 

Quoting Revelation (Reply 172):
787 overweight.
A400M overweight.

Do I see a trend?

A350 overweight?

Or, A400M and 787 overweight and A350 on target, the exception to prove your rule.  yes 
 
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Revelation
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:28 pm



Quoting Baroque (Reply 175):
Or, A400M and 787 overweight and A350 on target, the exception to prove your rule.

I guess time will tell.

I'm really beginning to have my doubts about composites.

On another thread we were discussing the cancelled A-12 project, and I found this info

Quote:
The A-12 proved to be the most troubled of the new American stealth aircraft in large part because of problems found in the extensive use of composites in its structure. These composites did not result in anticipated weight savings, and some structural elements had to be replaced with heavier metal components. The weight of each aircraft exceeded 30 tons, variously estimated at between 10% and 30% over design specification, and close to the limits that could be accommodated on aircraft carriers.

It doesn't fill one with confidence, does one?

And:

Quote:
By one estimate the A-12 had become so expensive that it would have consumed up 70 percent of the Navy's aircraft budget within three years.

I wonder what percentage of the German aircraft budget will be eaten by A400M?
 
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SEPilot
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:41 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 176):
I'm really beginning to have my doubts about composites.

I think composites have tremendous potential, but they also have pitfalls. The problem is that aircraft designers are used to designing in metal, and you can't just design the same way and change materials. Many things have to be done differently, especially the way parts are joined. I believe that once the designers get used to designing composite structures, that the gains will be realized. But they still have a lot to learn. After all, we have been designing aluminum planes for about 80 years and are still learning.
 
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Revelation
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:13 am



Quoting SEPilot (Reply 177):
I think composites have tremendous potential, but they also have pitfalls. The problem is that aircraft designers are used to designing in metal, and you can't just design the same way and change materials. Many things have to be done differently, especially the way parts are joined. I believe that once the designers get used to designing composite structures, that the gains will be realized. But they still have a lot to learn. After all, we have been designing aluminum planes for about 80 years and are still learning.

Thanks for that perspective.

It has been said here on a.net that one reason there is confidence in the A350 is that the same team designed the A400M's wing. It'd be interesting if the wing has met its projections both in terms of aerodynamics and in terms of weight. Clearly the two wings will have very different performance regimes, and clearly the team learned from what it did, but still, it'll be interesting to know how well (or not) they did do. Of course, I doubt this level of information will be made available, unless of course someone's PowerPoint falls into the wrong hands.
 
texl1649
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:12 pm

For all of their problems lately, the last wing which didn't meet specs was probably the MD-11 I believe (somehow re-worked slightly from the DC-10 I think).
 
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Stitch
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:18 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 178):
It'd be interesting if the wing has met its projections both in terms of aerodynamics and in terms of weight.

Well the wing has grown .8m in span per the latest data on Airbus's website (it launched at 64m and is now 64.8m and the wing area has risen from 440m2 to 443m2).
 
redflyer
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:54 pm



Quoting Beta (Reply 162):
As poorly managed as the A400M is I fully expect EADS/Airbus to get what they want-more money, at the end of the day.

It might be a good investment for them to pour more money into the project. They're at 190 orders right now, but that could balloon to many multiples in the future if it proves the A400M would be an ideal fit to plug the gap between the current lift capabilities within the USAF ( C-130 <--> C-17 ).
 
bennett123
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:30 pm

That would entail getting the damm thing into the air.
 
gsosbee
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:33 pm



Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 181):
It might be a good investment for them to pour more money into the project. They're at 190 orders right now, but that could balloon to many multiples in the future if it proves the A400M would be an ideal fit to plug the gap between the current lift capabilities within the USAF ( C-130 <--> C-17 ).

The USAF is not making an issue of the gap. The highest probability is continuing the C-130/C-17 mix.
 
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Revelation
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:55 pm



Quoting Gsosbee (Reply 183):
The USAF is not making an issue of the gap.

But the US Army is. It now looks like their next gen land vehicles will be too large for the C-130 but would fit in A400M, at least one that meets the specs.
 
Beta
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:18 pm



Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 181):
They're at 190 orders right now, but that could balloon to many multiples in the future if it proves the A400M would be an ideal fit to plug the gap between the current lift capabilities within the USAF ( C-130 <--> C-17 ).

Although I expect the A400M will eventually be a very good airlifter, I just dont see the USAF ordering it in any significant number. Because if and when a real capability gap does exist, it will most likely coincide with the time to replace the venerable C130. The C130 replacement market is huge with USAF's order alone is in the thousands. There is no way LM will just throw up the white towel and let EADS/Airbus eat the cake. And probably Boeing too for that matter. You would see LM and Boeing prototypes up and flying in no time with specs and capability closely matched the need of the US Army and USMC. It may be just a tad below the A400M in lift load. Besides the LM "mafia" in Congress will see to that no A400M would wear the USAF marking. One would think the Boeing's lobby in Congress is strong, it's nothing compared to the LM "mafia." I see the USAF airlift would consist of C17 > C130 replacement + C130J > C27J in a foreseeable future.
 
nomadd22
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:29 pm

Maybe this will give Lockheed some incentive to move on the C-130XL
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...s%20Niche%20For%20Widebody%20C-130
 
redflyer
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:44 pm



Quoting Beta (Reply 185):
Because if and when a real capability gap does exist, it will most likely coincide with the time to replace the venerable C130. The C130 replacement market is huge with USAF's order alone is in the thousands. There is no way LM will just throw up the white towel and let EADS/Airbus eat the cake. And probably Boeing too for that matter.

I don't expect the A400M to be a shoe-in to fill that gap, but it's much further along in the development cycle than anything else out there that could possibly compete with it. Which is why I said it would be a great investment if EADS poured money into the project to keep it alive in order make sure it comes to fruition. It's a far more known quantity than whatever anyone else can currently offer for that gap.

I'm not taking sides in this hunt, only pointing out that it would be a pity if EADS doesn't pursue this project with vigor because whatever risks are prevalent with their existing customers, they could be off-set considerably with an order from the DoD. Just one block order from DoD could equal the total number of orders they have captured thus far with their existing customers. That is a number they cannot ignore.

Quoting Beta (Reply 185):
Besides the LM "mafia" in Congress will see to that no A400M would wear the USAF marking.

I don't think it's that easy. The Boeing "Mafia" in Congress couldn't keep EADS from winning the KC-X contract.

Quoting Beta (Reply 185):
You would see LM and Boeing prototypes up and flying in no time

Two years ago I would have made the same comment without flinching. But I think these modern airplane projects have proven that they are far too complex to be "up and flying in no time".
 
Lumberton
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:48 pm



Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 187):
The Boeing "Mafia" in Congress couldn't keep EADS from winning the KC-X contract.

No, they can only keep Congress from appropriating the funds to pay for it.

And who knows how many secret, card-carrying members of the "Boeing mafia" there are in the Congress? Some may even be committee chairmen?  Smile
 
Beta
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:42 pm



Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 187):
I said it would be a great investment

I agree with you it's a good investment in the current economic condition. I guess we just have to disagree about the likelihood of a USAF order in the hundreds of frames. But it is certainly wise and beneficial to the overall program if EADS/Airbus entertains such scenarios and continue to invest money and engineering. Cant hurt.

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 187):
The Boeing "Mafia" in Congress couldn't keep EADS from winning the KC-X contract.

The Boeing lobby certainly was caught off guard and did not prevent EADS from winning, but it did succeed in getting the whole contract canceled, and the bidding scrapped. However, the LM "mafia" will make that looked like kiddy plays if push comes to shove. The AFSOC CSAR-helos comes to mind. LM has won every significant defense contracts (in the hundreds of billions dollars) in the last 10 yrs against Boeing in spite of cost over-run, lousy management (F22, F35, GPS II satellites, LCS ships, Marine One helos, etc). Not that Boeing management fares any better. But it shows the clout of LM in defense procurement.

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 187):
But I think these modern airplane projects have proven that they are far too complex to be "up and flying in no time".

I agree that such projects will be complex, but I'm talking about the few initial prototypes to dazzle the crowds, to promise the moon, and to win the contract. Remember the F35 prototypes were relatively on time. It's the delivery of production aircrafts that stinks.
 
TheSonntag
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:58 pm



Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 187):
Two years ago I would have made the same comment without flinching. But I think these modern airplane projects have proven that they are far too complex to be "up and flying in no time".

And one really has to wonder why. The B-52, the C-130, the KC-135 all flew in a few years, and are still used. So when it was possible in the 1950s to develop a sound design lasting more than 50 years, why is this so difficult today? After all, the civilian aircraft industry, despite the issues with the A380 and 787, IS able to do that.
 
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:20 pm



Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 190):
So when it was possible in the 1950s to develop a sound design lasting more than 50 years, why is this so difficult today?

The B-52, C-130, and KC-135 were far simpler than today's planes. Much of the delays concern electronic systems and software, both of which were in their infancy at the time these other planes were built. I don't think that the delays have all that much to do with the mechanical construction; and where they do, it is usually because of new technology, such as composite construction of large items (which while not new, is still comparatively in its infancy.) Whenever you try and push the boundaries of any technology (which most military projects do) you are extremely likely to encounter delays; the above mentioned projects were pushing far fewer boundaries.
 
osiris30
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:58 pm



Quoting SEPilot (Reply 191):

The B-52, C-130, and KC-135 were far simpler than today's planes. Much of the delays concern electronic systems and software, both of which were in their infancy at the time these other planes were built.

It goes beyond that. The B-52, C-130, KC-135 were built in a different environment. Where there was often open competition in terms of fully functional prototypes being built. The best plane (usually) won, and you see the results. Nowadays, all the decisions are made on paper, and paper promises are easy to make, but hard to deliver (A400M for example).
 
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:12 pm



Quoting Osiris30 (Reply 192):

It goes beyond that. The B-52, C-130, KC-135 were built in a different environment.

Excellent point.
 
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:44 am



Quoting Osiris30 (Reply 192):
Where there was often open competition in terms of fully functional prototypes being built. The best plane (usually) won, and you see the results.

There were fly-offs for both F-22 and F35. I hope they improved the final aircraft, but as we've seen, the gap between flying prototype and flying production example was/is huge in time and money.

It would seem the only poorer decision than having the flying prototypes would be to not have the flying prototypes.

IIRC there also was a fly-off for F-16, but not for F-14 and F-15, right?

Point being that having a flying prototype doesn't necessarily lead to a project being on time or on budget. It does seem to avoid total calamity, though.
 
osiris30
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:39 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 194):

There were fly-offs for both F-22 and F35. I hope they improved the final aircraft, but as we've seen, the gap between flying prototype and flying production example was/is huge in time and money.

Well welcome to part two of the equation... politics. Modern procurement is a MUCH higher issue in terms of public visibility and hence politics. When it comes to military procurement the various countries of the world have to decide what's more important; having the best war faring equipment or (as seems to be the popular choice) whatever will get the (insert name of government title here) re-elected.

The fact we know what we know about the various military programs around the world should tell you all you need to know about how the world has changed since the days of the B52, etc. I find it no coincidence that some of the best military hardware was developed in complete obscurity.
 
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:51 pm



Quoting Osiris30 (Reply 195):
Well welcome to part two of the equation... politics. Modern procurement is a MUCH higher issue in terms of public visibility and hence politics. When it comes to military procurement the various countries of the world have to decide what's more important; having the best war faring equipment or (as seems to be the popular choice) whatever will get the (insert name of government title here) re-elected.

I think it'd be simpler to decide on world peace instead!  Smile

Quoting Osiris30 (Reply 195):
I find it no coincidence that some of the best military hardware was developed in complete obscurity.

 checkmark 
 
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SEPilot
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:01 pm



Quoting Osiris30 (Reply 195):

The fact we know what we know about the various military programs around the world should tell you all you need to know about how the world has changed since the days of the B52, etc. I find it no coincidence that some of the best military hardware was developed in complete obscurity.

If you want to see a graphic example of how modern military procurement/development works watch "The Pentagon Wars" about the development of the Bradley fighting vehicle. It's a wonder that we get anything that works.
 
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:07 pm



Quoting Beta (Reply 189):
I guess we just have to disagree about the likelihood of a USAF order in the hundreds of frames. But it is certainly wise and beneficial to the overall program if EADS/Airbus entertains such scenarios and continue to invest money and engineering. Cant hurt.

Well, if LM moves forward with their 130XL project then we have to assume there's enough of a demand there within the USAF for an airlifter in the A400M category. If EADS can get their act together on the A400M, it might prove to be a potent option. Nothing speaks more than a tangible product vs. a paper airplane. And given the delays that all defense contractors are anchored with, it might look like a more palatable choice, at least with regards to addressing the mission requirements (meaning leaving politics out of the equation). Nevertheless, if the number of frames required to fill that gap numbers only a couple of hundred, and they comprise just a small fraction of all airlifters within the USAF arsenal, I don't see a lot of people (politicians) getting heartburn if the Europeans win such an order. It might even be a good political move to maintain trans-Atlantic ties. Inasmuch as I cheer for the home team, I loath protectionist moves by either side in a free market.

Quoting Beta (Reply 189):
But it shows the clout of LM in defense procurement.

We definitely agree on this point, which is that LM is very savvy when it comes to lobbying. Far more than Boeing is.

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 190):
And one really has to wonder why. The B-52, the C-130, the KC-135 all flew in a few years, and are still used. So when it was possible in the 1950s to develop a sound design lasting more than 50 years, why is this so difficult today?

As others have pointed out, politics has a way of screwing things up. We went from sub-orbital flights to the moon in just 8 years. We can't get a modern military fighter developed and into production in that amount of time. THAT speaks volumes about how crazy the procurement process has become. Besides the politics, we've also become risk-adverse. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but projects tend to move along faster when there's an urgency to them. Getting to the moon was a top national priority, and huge risks were taken along the way. I doubt we'll ever see those kinds of risks taken anymore.

Quoting Osiris30 (Reply 195):
I find it no coincidence that some of the best military hardware was developed in complete obscurity.

 checkmark 
The SR-71 comes to mind as one those projects, as does the F-117.
 
Beta
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:05 am

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 198):
Well, if LM moves forward with their 130XL project then we have to assume there's enough of a demand there within the USAF for an airlifter in the A400M category.

I believe there is not yet a strong demand for a military transport plane in the A400M category for the USAF Air Mobility at the present time. However, there might be a growing one in the next 10-15yrs when the military begins fielding a new generation of vehicles, e.g. FCS, Stryker-replacement vehicles, etc. Thus, the capability need in airlift will become more defined in the next 5-7 yrs, we'll likely see a RFP for airlifter in the A400M in that time frame. LM throws the 130XL concept out to gauge how strong the interest is NOW. From the C130XL I expect LM would offer a bigger C130 replacement airplane with built-in growth variant to compete eventually with A400M (with a less payload for less money approach). I'm sure its famed Skunk Works already has various prototypes on the drawing board, ready to go Day 1.

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 198):
Nothing speaks more than a tangible product vs. a paper airplane

Very reasonable and common sense! I entirely agree with you. Unfortunately, when it comes to government bureaucracy and defense procurement, I'm afraid common sense is not very common. I guess you have more faith in government bureaucrats and politicians than I do  

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 198):
if the number of frames required to fill that gap numbers only a couple of hundred, and they comprise just a small fraction of all airlifters within the USAF arsenal, I don't see a lot of people (politicians) getting heartburn

If the requirement runs in to a couple hundred frames, which translates to close to hundred of billions of $, I just don't see how LM and Boeing will just sit on the sideline, and not engage in close-quarter combat with EADS/Airbus. You can bet such an order will be fought tooth and nails, no mercy asked nor granted.

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 198):
It might even be a good political move to maintain trans-Atlantic ties.

I've never subscribed to throwing away tax-payers money just for the sake of maintain good political ties in any directions.

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 198):
I loath protectionist moves by either side in a free market.

I'm with you. I am a proponent of winning on merits. But I do not mind the home team enjoys a certain, limited, well-defined home field advantage. Otherwise there is no point in having home field advantage. If the home team sucks, then it deserves to lose.  

[Edited 2009-02-09 17:10:00]
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