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Scipio
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A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Jan 09, 2009 7:59 pm

"The first delivery of the A400M would then occur around three years after the first flight, which was already not expected before the second half of this year."


http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idINL915166620090109?rpc=44
 
Lumberton
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:57 pm

Not only that, EADS wants the contract renegotiated. What are the odds that the countries involved will accede to their demands? I rate that very likely. What are their alternatives? Politically speaking, none at all.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/8225122

Quote:
PARIS, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Airbus parent EADS , seeking to bolster a troubled European military project, called on Friday for a renegotiated contract with NATO nations and indicated the A400M airlifter would not be ready before 2012.
The plane -- designed to plug gaps in transport capacity in conflict zones like Afghanistan or to carry out humanitarian missions -- has been hit by delays in building its massive turbo-prop engines, sparking a public row with suppliers.
EADS has in turn been unable to meet its obligations to seven European NATO countries that ordered the plane in the largest single European arms purchase in 2003, placed through procurement agency OCCAR.
In a statement after markets closed on Friday, EADS said it wanted to "discuss the programme schedule along with changes to other areas of the contract including in particular certain technical characteristics."
People familiar with the 20 billion-euro ($27.4 billion) project have said it includes extensive customisation to meet national military priorities.
So far 192 A400Ms have been ordered from the original seven nations -- Germany, France, Britain, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Turkey -- and export customers Malaysia and South Africa.
EADS last year effectively halted production and abandoned efforts to predict the timing of the first flight after postponements, saying it could not set a schedule until engine makers gave more guarantees.
The engine consortium led by Rolls Royce and France's Safran hit back by blaming Airbus for the delays.

 
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Stitch
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:48 pm

I wonder how cheap Boeing can build a C-17 for.

Maybe do it as another "NATO Group Buy" to spread the costs around and provide some political cover.
 
texl1649
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:26 am

Can a C-17 "lite" be made that is more fuel efficient while also flying further on a "full" payload? What if they simply put smaller engines on it, and took out the paratroop functionality?

The Pratt's are great but it's (package)inherent inefficiency is probably what killed it as a freighter, and fixing it just 5-15 percent might make it fly further (on a little more runway), cheaper, and be more of an "A-400-Late killer."
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:26 am



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 1):
Not only that, EADS wants the contract renegotiated. What are the odds that the countries involved will accede to their demands? I rate that very likely. What are their alternatives? Politically speaking, none at all.

The countries involved need it badly. The Transal are worn out. The Luftwaffe and 'French Airforce will likely need interim airlift.

The C-130J has a twice as low payload, the C17 nearly twice as high. Apart from that the C-17 is extreme expensive..

The first A400M is parked at Sevilla. Complete with engines, test equipment installed etc. Must be very frustrating for everybody involved. Its still not clear to me what went so wrong apart from the testairframe tail melting and engine software issues.

I have the feeling EADS is putting pressure at the euro governments this way..
 
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Stitch
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:29 am

The C-17 would not replace the A400M. As Keesje notes, it is a far more capable platform so if the various MoD's wanted that level of performance to begin with, they would have bought it.

But a smaller "group buy" undertaken by NATO would get airlift capability to those nations waiting for A400Ms quickly and would not saddle them with a dedicated fleet of higher-performance planes they would not need a majority of the time. NATO has enough missions to support more then the two to four C-17s they are planning for the NATO Strategic Airlift Capability program and it would allow Boeing to keep the line open longer and they know what the planes cost to manufacture so they can still price them to make a small profit - especially as they wait for the USAF and other customers to decide on their own purchase plans.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sat Jan 10, 2009 3:46 am



Quoting Keesje (Reply 4):
The first A400M is parked at Sevilla.

Which will fly first? The A-400M? Or the B-787-8?

Quoting Stitch (Reply 5):
The C-17 would not replace the A400M. As Keesje notes, it is a far more capable platform so if the various MoD's wanted that level of performance to begin with, they would have bought it.

Actually, the C-17 can replace nearly two A-400Ms. The price of the C-17 has come down a lot in recent years, while the price of the A-400M has skyrocketed. If the Europeans go for a new contract with EADS, they will be surprised the A-400M will actually cost more than a new build C-17. If France ordered C-17s today, they could get them BEFORE the current A-400M is delivered.
 
Lumberton
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:35 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
If the Europeans go for a new contract with EADS, they will be surprised the A-400M will actually cost more than a new build C-17.

Thus nullifying one of the two oft-repeated reasons I keep seeing here for buying the A400 vs the C-17, cost; the other being, of course, the old "tactical versus strategic" argument.

Frankly, I see nothing wrong with buying the home grown product to bolster one's own defense infrastructure. If this thing ends up costing twice that of a C-17 and they buy it to protect jobs, fine.

I have argued along similar lines in the KC-767 versus KC-30 debate as well.
 
texl1649
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:11 pm

I admire your intellectual honesty, lumberton.

Also, I would bet my next pay check that Boeing would proudly offer France a "killer deal" where they might actually lose money on a few frames so they could claim the moral victory of selling to them.

The real price delta is probably close to zero as between the current C-17 and the A-400M. A is trying to set the high price point for their line, and B is trying to kick out as many as it can at the end of their prod. run. Only one vendor can really afford to haggle at this point.
 
flexo
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:15 pm



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 7):
Frankly, I see nothing wrong with buying the home grown product to bolster one's own defense infrastructure. If this thing ends up costing twice that of a C-17 and they buy it to protect jobs, fine

Well, you don't pay the high taxes here in the EU, so I guess if I were you I wouldn't care either.

But why I as a taxpayer have to pay extra for less capable military equipment is beyond me. Even at this stage, if it turns out the A400M takes an extra 3 years to build and the costs are way higher than originally promised I would love for our government to buy C17s instead. Screw the sunk costs. But, of course, that'll never happen.

If EADS can't produce something worth its money then they should try something else, our military needs the best equipment for their money.
 
Lumberton
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:36 pm



Quoting TexL1649 (Reply 8):
I admire your intellectual honesty, lumberton.

Thank you!

Quoting Flexo (Reply 9):
Well, you don't pay the high taxes here in the EU, so I guess if I were you I wouldn't care either.

Well, there is that! But the A400 is a military program after all, fraught with political and economic considerations. It would be very difficult to find a major military program anywhere that didn't have economic considerations as a high priority. And...since we're discussing logistic aircraft...not the "tip of the spear"...why not get the most political and economic bang for the buck/euro?
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:43 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
Actually, the C-17 can replace nearly two A-400Ms.

Yes, or 4 C130's or 8 C27. Its a bit more complicated I think. The A400 can do things the C-17 can't.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
The price of the C-17 has come down a lot in recent years, while the price of the A-400M has skyrocketed.

No it hasn't. Thats part of the problem. Despite enormous focus internally the cost have grown, while the contracted price has sayed the same. EADS is fearing they therefor can make no more profit.That part of the conflict. The C-17 price has gone through the roof. More then 300mln aship now, more then a A380. The program was nearly cancelled multiple times because of it.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
If the Europeans go for a new contract with EADS, they will be surprised the A-400M will actually cost more than a new build C-17.

I hope / think its not that extreme.

Quoting TexL1649 (Reply 8):
The real price delta is probably close to zero as between the current C-17 and the A-400M.

I have no info that suggest so.
 
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Revelation
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:07 pm



Quoting Keesje (Reply 11):
The A400 can do things the C-17 can't.

Like fly?  Smile
 
Lumberton
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:31 pm



Quoting Keesje (Reply 11):
The A400 can do things the C-17 can't.

I'm aware that the A400 will have (or is supposed to have) a refueling capability, but what else is it expected to do that a C-17 can't?
 
gsosbee
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sun Jan 11, 2009 4:04 pm

The A400M is a political animal. The European governments wanted to spend their Euros in Europe so no one should disparage them for that. They have been doing this on their fighter programs for some time and felt that it was time for a large European airplane. In order to appease the fiscal conservatives in Europe, the airplane had to fit between the C-130 and C-17 and also handle more functions thus the size and mission requirements of the A400M. After going through all of this, there is no way in the end that the program will be canceled.

What we are seeing now is "after signing" contract negotiations brought on by serious under-bidding/over promising. The test will be non-European sales which will bear the brunt of the increased costs.
 
Lumberton
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:33 pm



Quoting Gsosbee (Reply 14):
The test will be non-European sales which will bear the brunt of the increased costs.

That will only work if there's no competition in the market place. IMO, it's the Airbus governments that will step up and pay whatever they have to to rescue this program.
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:11 pm



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 13):
I'm aware that the A400 will have (or is supposed to have) a refueling capability, but what else is it expected to do that a C-17 can't?

- FLy up to 40 tonne at less then half the fuel costs & probably much lower operating costs
- Auto terrain following low level flight
- Highly autonomous load / off load / drop systems
- Superior rough terrain capability
- Things a FBW / flight envelope protection can do, fly on the edge of the enveloppe.
- Superior thrust vectoring & taxi
- Aerial refuelling capability

 
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Spacepope
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:50 pm



Quoting Keesje (Reply 16):
- FLy up to 40 tonne at less then half the fuel costs & probably much lower operating costs
- Auto terrain following low level flight
- Highly autonomous load / off load / drop systems
- Superior rough terrain capability
- Things a FBW / flight envelope protection can do, fly on the edge of the enveloppe.
- Superior thrust vectoring & taxi
- Aerial refuelling capability

Though in the missions it is likely to be used in the near future for, the only thing that really matters is:
- FLy up to 40 tonne at less then half the fuel costs.

BTW what is this superior thrust vectoring and taxi? I don't quite understand what that's supposed to mean.
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:05 am



Quoting Spacepope (Reply 17):
BTW what is this superior thrust vectoring and taxi? I don't quite understand what that's supposed to mean.

Props provide quick relatively high efficient ( in comparison to conventional thrust reversers) reverse thrust. Taxiing around with turbofans is unresponsive / fuel wasting. Turbofans perform efficiently near there operating speed / rpm. Usefull thrust starts at high rpm and then builds up quickly. When you are taxiing around (turning, braking, stopping / move again) in bad terrain a prop is much better (constant rpm, change blade pitch).
 
474218
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:05 am

Quoting TexL1649 (Reply 8):
Also, I would bet my next pay check that Boeing would proudly offer France a "killer deal" where they might actually lose money on a few frames so they could claim the moral victory of selling to them.

I think you will find this is called "dumping" and it would be against the law.

Quoting Keesje (Reply 11):
The A400 can do things the C-17 can't.

Will we know one thing the C-17 can do that the A400 can't "fly".

[Edited 2009-01-11 17:38:34]
 
texl1649
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:20 am

Dumping is against the law, but fire sales are pretty standard fare...

"The manufacturer is offering the U.S. Navy more F-18Es for a bargain price of $50 million each. This proposal is intended as a stopgap to keep fighter strength up as older F-18As are retired, and the introduction of the new F-35 is delayed. With a max weight of 29 tons, an F-18E can carry up to eight tons of bombs. Combat range is 720 kilometers, and the aircraft was designed as a fighter."

http://www.strategypage.com/dls/articles/2009111184715.asp

This thing was previously costing about $95M a copy. My prediction on price for a C-17 above is hardly unprecedented.
 
474218
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:29 am



Quoting TexL1649 (Reply 20):
The manufacturer is offering the U.S. Navy more F-18Es for a bargain price of $50 million each.

Dumping is when a company sells things cheaper to the international market than it does to its home market.

Boeing selling to the US Navy at a "bargain price" would not be considered dumping.
 
XT6Wagon
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:43 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
Actually, the C-17 can replace nearly two A-400Ms

Not to be a jerk, but it can do more than 2 A400Ms if both of those are going to the same place.

Or more if you are pushing the A400 to the edges of its range, as it has to offload a higher % of its cargo than the C17 to get the extra miles needed. Been too long, but IIRC the C17 ends up hauling a A400m payload to hit the range the A400m can do with 0kg of cargo.
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:09 am



Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 22):
Not to be a jerk, but it can do more than 2 A400Ms if both of those are going to the same place

Not continue this valuable comparison, it must be the An-124 a superior aircraft to a C-17 .

2 An-124 can do the job of 3 C-17 and probably cost a lot less.. The old ones can do 122 tons of cargo



 boggled 
 
JoeCanuck
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:13 am



Quoting Keesje (Reply 16):
- FLy up to 40 tonne at less then half the fuel costs & probably much lower operating costs
- Auto terrain following low level flight
- Highly autonomous load / off load / drop systems
- Superior rough terrain capability
- Things a FBW / flight envelope protection can do, fly on the edge of the enveloppe.
- Superior thrust vectoring & taxi
- Aerial refuelling capability

Some of these don't seem right to me. The fuel costs will have to wait for flight testing. The C-17 is fly by wire and has low level terrain following auto pilot. It can be refueled in flight. The C-17B would be capable of landing on sandy beaches and other unimproved runways.
While props may be more responsive to pitch changes, the C-17 blasts reversing air above the wing, greatly reducing FOD issues, it would seem to me, compared to a huge prop blasting a cone of air forward. Imagine the comparative dust storms effecting ground operations.

According to wikipedia;

"In July 2006 a fixed price contract was awarded to Boeing to deliver four C-17s for US$780m (AUD$1bn).[40] Australia also signed a US$80.7m contract to join the global 'virtual fleet' C-17 sustainment program[41] and the RAAF's C-17s will receive the same upgrades as the USAF's fleet."

That works out to about 200 million per plane...pocket change, really...
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:33 am



Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 24):

That works out to about 200 million per plane...pocket change, really...

The price of the C-17 has always been covered by mist & smoke, for good reason. It immensely expensive 300M 2006 prices, today? The line is on the brink of being shut down, creative ideas to keep it open, politic pressure, special prices / deals all around. Question is does this really change the aircraft, its supply chain or producing / operating costs? Probably not.

Turbo props cores suck in much less air further away from the ground (props don't care for dirt) & provide superior quick powerfull thrust reverse.

 
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Francoflier
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:12 am



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 1):
What are the odds that the countries involved will accede to their demands?

Well, politicians are the ones who devised that 'politically correct' monstruous chimera that is the EuroProp group and made EADS choose it for the A400 engines against all logic.

Since most of the A400's woes come from its engines, then the same politicians will have no choice but to accept any term EADS presents to them. Had they let EADS choose the PW180 (which was even the lowest bidder apparently...) I'd bet the A400 would be flying with its own engines by now.

Yet another major european military program doomed from the start by our beloved politicos.
And guess who'll pick up the tab?

...Great.  grumpy 
 
texl1649
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:08 pm

Set a real accountant lose on the internal Boeing books and I bet you'd have a tough time coming up with more than 1/3 of the sale price to the USAF as a real cost per plane. There's a TON of fat margin in each -17 frame, and that is why it is possible to "fire sale" some now that the high-profit units are already booked.


After all of the KC-X bitterness at Boeing toward Airbus over their per frame prices offered to the USAF, it would be a a tit for tat move, and not one that would ever get caught as "dumping" in a legal sense.
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:00 pm



Quoting Francoflier (Reply 26):
Had they let EADS choose the PW180 (which was even the lowest bidder apparently...) I'd bet the A400 would be flying with its own engines by now.

The PW180 was a paper engine just like the TP400 and PW has never been in the 11.000 shp segment. PW did less then optimal on the PW4000, PW6000, PW 8000 and GTF lately. far from a guarantee everything would have gone smoothly. The Europrop group has a far more extensive track record on turboprops. they power the C-130 Hercules, C-27J, Hawkeye, Orions, Osprey, Apache, etc.

Quoting TexL1649 (Reply 27):
Set a real accountant lose on the internal Boeing books and I bet you'd have a tough time coming up with more than 1/3 of the sale price to the USAF as a real cost per plane. There's a TON of fat margin in each -17 frame, and that is why it is possible to "fire sale" some now that the high-profit units are already booked.

The program was nearly killed in the early nineties because of excessive costs, high pressure to reduce costs haunted the program. http://www.gao.gov/archive/1995/ns95026.pdf

Quoting TexL1649 (Reply 27):
After all of the KC-X bitterness at Boeing toward Airbus over their per frame prices offered to the USAF, it would be a a tit for tat move, and not one that would ever get caught as "dumping" in a legal sense.

KC30 would come from a high rate production line and be fitted in a low cost environment. The KC767 at ~1 a month / Boeing labor rates could not beat that. I think the bitterness would be misplaced, happy with a narrow hard lobbied escape would be more in place IMO.
 
osiris30
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:12 pm



Quoting Keesje (Reply 28):
The PW180 was a paper engine just like the TP400 and PW has never been in the 11.000 shp segment. PW did less then optimal on the PW4000, PW6000, PW 8000 and GTF lately. far from a guarantee everything would have gone smoothly. The Europrop group has a far more extensive track record on turboprops. they power the C-130 Hercules, C-27J, Hawkeye, Orions, Osprey, Apache, etc.

Keesje, there are so many things wrong with your statement above I'm not sure where to start, but I'll give it a go:

Re the PW4K, 6K, and GTF: Hard to judge the GTF when it's not in production yet, but it sure is looking like it may be quite a good engine. To the point where your beloved Airbus is hanging one off a 340 and flying it around in hopes of mating it to the 320. Also the PW4000 engine seems to be pretty solid in the field and at least it is flying unlike the engine for the A400M.

Re experience: I note you have excluded ALL of PWs prop experience which is vast, and not fraught with nearly the level of political wrangling that the Europrop folks are dealing with.

Finally, you are ignoring the fact that, from published reports, EADS seems to have wanted the PW engine and were told not to due to political reasons. To me this indicated that EADS thought that they would: a) get a better price and b) felt confident in PW's ability to deliver the engine. Now, if you want to call the folks at EADS/Airbus wrong you can go right ahead and do that.


Quoting Keesje (Reply 28):

The program was nearly killed in the early nineties because of excessive costs, high pressure to reduce costs haunted the program

And had the A400M been a military program in the US at the same time period it is very likely you could say the same thing about it. The costs on the A400M have undoubtedly risen, and I'm willing to bet fairly dramatically.

However, I'm fortunate in this instance as I have nothing riding on the A400M, and it's not MY tax dollars being pissed away for politics, so I really can't say anything too definitively. As others have said, I see nothing wrong with keeping know-how and money in ones own country. However, I would point out that you can go too far and I think we're seeing that with the Europrop engine.
 
texl1649
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:36 pm

American DoD programs universally manage to build up costs between the old dem/eval phase and production/IOC. It's just the way it works; the vendors push the edge on over-runs to ramp out as much $$ as they can from the taxpayor. The C-17 was no different, though in the early Clinton years there was a lot of angst, obviously.
 
norcal
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:37 pm



Quoting Keesje (Reply 25):
The price of the C-17 has always been covered by mist & smoke, for good reason. It immensely expensive 300M 2006 prices, today?

You keep throwing $300 million around despite being shown time and time again from press releases of C-17 purchases that number is not true. Show some proof, and not a bunch of crap about how it ran over budget in the early 90's. That doesn't matter anymore, all that matters is how much the frame costs today.
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:44 pm



Quoting Osiris30 (Reply 29):
Keesje, there are so many things wrong with your statement above I'm not sure where to start, but I'll give it a go:

Osiris, incorrect I'm afraid.

The GTF is being worked on for 20 yrs now. PW4000 was pushed out by GE & RR. I'm just saying the plan for PW180 & PW trackrecord since then is not a guarantee everything would have gone smoothly. It could have gone even worse, like the PW8000.

The fact that the costs on the A400M have probably risen, doesn't make the C-17 a cheap deal all of a sudden. Some specialists I know say the C-17 systems and technology were up to date 20 yrs ago, it doesn't meet the original short runway requirements by a margin originally specified, and its range is good but not for the Oceans.
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_S_yLsGvXiBM/Rh...J0u0u8PmnRg/s720/c17%20cockpit.jpg

Still the C-17 at this moment is vital and I think nobody want to live the day Russians/Oekranians say their transports have other priorities then Nato logistics..
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2192/2252687715_8de10094b0.jpg?v=0
 
Lumberton
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:55 pm

When discussing the "cost" of an aircraft, it is important to note which one. Here is a quick reference.

Quote:

R&D Cost
• These costs are spread over the entire buy of aircraft. Large fleet acquisitions help amortize this fixed cost over numerous airplanes.

Flyaway Cost
•This is the actual cost to manufacture the aircraft. It is very high for the first aircraft and then gets lower and lower for each additional aircraft as the manufacturer benefits from a learning curve. There are many factors that help the AF get the most for the taxpayer's dollar. Three important ways are: (1) order a large number of aircraft ... which permits the manufacturer to buy tooling to make the process efficient (2) commit to a multi-year procurement ... which permits the manufacturer to make economic order purchases on items it needs to buy and affords longer-range labor force planning and (3) limit the changes Congress/and or DOD/AF make to the numbers purchased and to the design.

Acquisition Cost
•This is basically the cost to fight with the aircraft--spare parts, ground equipment, training, etc.

Program Cost
• This is the total cost of everything needed for the aircraft, including hangers, squadron facilities, weapons, spares, etc

Life Cycle Cost
•This is the total cost of the program plus the costs to fly, maintain, and operate the fleet – this includes modifications, depot expenses ... everything over the life of the system.

Source: http://www.afa.org/members/GRL.pdf

Is there anyway to compare similar costs of the A400 vs the C-17, i.e., same year, same currency?
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:04 pm



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 33):
Is there anyway to compare similar costs of the A400 vs the C-17, i.e., same year, same currency?

That would be very hard indeed. Specially R&D costs, include everything ? materials used, systems, engines..

Large fleet aquisitions indeed help. I think more A400M are already ordered before its first flight the C-17's ever delivered and it has 20 yrs to go at least (with huge replacement markets & little competition). Supporting aging aircraft never is cheap, however the A400M will get in that situation too in the future..
 
Lumberton
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:23 pm

Uh oh, cracks in the facade...."Can' accept"? What's the alternative?
http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSLC46751820090112

Quote:
Britain says can't accept 3-4 year delay in A400M

LONDON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Britain cannot accept a three to four year delay in the delivery of Airbus A400M military transport planes, British Defence Secretary John Hutton said on Monday.

Hutton also confirmed that Britain, which has long sought to upgrade its ability to transport troops and equipment to conflict zones such as Afghanistan, is looking at acquiring more C-17 Globemaster cargo planes from Boeing (BA.N).


[Edited 2009-01-12 09:25:08]
 
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:23 pm



Quoting TexL1649 (Reply 30):
The C-17 was no different, though in the early Clinton years there was a lot of angst, obviously.

I am sure if one was to do a little research you will find: One of the reasons the C-17 costs were so high and the program was in real trouble, with cancellation a very serious threat, was because the C-17 wing failed the fatigue test. This required an lengthy/extensive/expensive redesign.
 
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Revelation
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:09 pm



Quoting Keesje (Reply 28):
KC30 would come from a high rate production line and be fitted in a low cost environment. The KC767 at ~1 a month / Boeing labor rates could not beat that.

So, tell me about the low labor rates being seen by the A400M.

I don't know why you think rate is so important to cost. As long as people aren't standing around doing nothing (i.e. you match the labor pool to the work rate), low rate isn't very consequential, especially if the facilities are all paid off. In fact, too high a rate drives costs up due to overtime.

I don't know why you can accept that A380 can be more profitable now since their R&D is already paid for out of previous cash flows, but the same can't be true for C-17.

Quoting Osiris30 (Reply 29):
Finally, you are ignoring the fact that, from published reports, EADS seems to have wanted the PW engine and were told not to due to political reasons. To me this indicated that EADS thought that they would: a) get a better price and b) felt confident in PW's ability to deliver the engine. Now, if you want to call the folks at EADS/Airbus wrong you can go right ahead and do that.

 checkmark 

Quoting Keesje (Reply 32):
The GTF is being worked on for 20 yrs now. PW4000 was pushed out by GE & RR. I'm just saying the plan for PW180 & PW trackrecord since then is not a guarantee everything would have gone smoothly. It could have gone even worse, like the PW8000.

But the folks at EADS were apparently quite willing to take that chance. Why would that be?
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:57 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 37):
So, tell me about the low labor rates being seen by the A400M.

Well its build in the south of Spain and its a militairy project. The KC30 comes from a hot commercial line.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 37):
I don't know why you can accept that A380 can be more profitable now since their R&D is already paid for out of previous cash flows

? Can I ? Source ?

I think the Europrop engine was defined after a first engine based on the M88 was seen as inefficient. What I'm saying is the assumption the TP180 would have been a better option could be true, but is based on nothing.

BTW I see a lot of market potential for the A400M and think the C-17 line will end in a few yrs, unless Boeing does a redesign to addresss strategic airlift.
 
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Revelation
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:28 am



Quoting Keesje (Reply 38):
? Can I ? Source ?

Sorry if I've mistaken you as one of the "A380 break even matters" persons, I thought you were one of those "A380 break even doesn't matter" persons.
 
osiris30
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:44 am



Quoting Keesje (Reply 32):
The GTF is being worked on for 20 yrs now.

Well how long it has been worked on doesn't mean all that much really. Many things took a long time to mature into a viable product. Hell one could argue the same thing about Airbus (they weren't an overnight success and took nearly 2 decades to become a 'credible' competitor in the marketplace).

Quoting Keesje (Reply 32):
PW4000 was pushed out by GE & RR.

Some of that was due to GE's deal with Boeing for exclusivity on new 777s. I'm not saying the PW4000 is a great engine, but it's certainly not a BAD engine either, and it is flying and was flying on time.

Quoting Keesje (Reply 32):
I'm just saying the plan for PW180 & PW trackrecord since then is not a guarantee everything would have gone smoothly.

Nor am I, I'm just saying that I feel you are dismissing PWs extensive prop experience far too quickly. Again, remember EADS/Airbus *wanted* the PW offering, I think that has to say *something*.

Quoting Keesje (Reply 32):
The fact that the costs on the A400M have probably risen, doesn't make the C-17 a cheap deal all of a sudden.

Please don't misunderstand my arguement. I'm not arguing for C17s over the A400M. I'm arguing that the wrong engine was selected for the project. The A400M as an aircraft fits nicely into a niche and is, at least, conceptually a very solid platform, but it's being mated to an engine that has caused no end of problems yet and we have NO idea what the in service reliability will be like (but if it's like any other engine with similar teething problems on the ground it will be an absolute DOG for years to come yet).

Frankly, I'm surprised by the troubles the engine is having so far.

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 36):
Uh oh, cracks in the facade...."Can' accept"? What's the alternative?

Ouch.
 
osiris30
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:29 am



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 36):
Uh oh, cracks in the facade...."Can' accept"? What's the alternative?

Not sure anyone caught it, but apparently there's an update to the article, I found this quote to be very 'interesting':

Quote:


A member of parliament asked Hutton if Britain was considering acquiring more C-17s from Boeing because of recent militant attacks on the main land supply route through Pakistan for Western forces in Afghanistan.

"We have recently acquired additional C-17s, and we are looking at the possibility of acquiring more," Hutton said.

Asked where this would leave the A400M programme, he said: "That's a very, very good question."

 
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Francoflier
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:15 am



Quoting Keesje (Reply 28):
The PW180 was a paper engine just like the TP400 and PW has never been in the 11.000 shp segment. PW did less then optimal on the PW4000, PW6000, PW 8000 and GTF lately. far from a guarantee everything would have gone smoothly. The Europrop group has a far more extensive track record on turboprops. they power the C-130 Hercules, C-27J, Hawkeye, Orions, Osprey, Apache, etc.

PW might have had some 'problems' with some recent programs (although I fail to see how the PW4000 did 'bad' apart maybe from sales...). They also are one of the oldest engine makers around with experience to throw out the window and very succesful engine programs.

Europrop has only ever designed one engine, which is turning out to be a problem child even before its birth.
All of the engine manufacturers involved in this hurried-together political creation might be very experienced and succesful in their own programs, but expecting them to suddendly all work together as if their combined experience would add up and make everything even better is just a childish expectation. The very notion of dividing the ownership of the engine manufacturer into parts equivalent to the related country's order of A400's is just ludicrous, yet so typically european, unfortunately.

We'll never know what PW would have come up with, but we know that it would have been a cheaper option and that they wouldn't have had to deal with how to make a motley crew of completely different engine makers work together to produce a completely new type of engine... That's just unnecessary risk in an already risky program.

Still, another perfect example of political involvment in an aeronautical industry that would fare much better without it.
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:02 am



Quoting Francoflier (Reply 42):
Europrop has only ever designed one engine, which is turning out to be a problem child even before its birth.
All of the engine manufacturers involved in this hurried-together political creation might be very experienced and succesful in their own programs, but expecting them to suddendly all work together as if their combined experience would add up and make everything even better is just a childish expectation. The very notion of dividing the ownership of the engine manufacturer into parts equivalent to the related country's order of A400's is just ludicrous, yet so typically european, unfortunately.

The combined relevant experience of the Europrop partners is enormous. Most succesfull engines are build by joint ventures for decades. GP7000, CFM56, V2500 to name a few. MTU doesn't make engines buit is in nearly everyone & no doubt would be in the PW180, as they are in e.g. the PW GTF. Nothing typical european. It seems your emotions took over.


What is interresting / worrying is this article:

The FTD cited sources which said the current version of the A400M can carry only 29-30 tons of material, instead of an expected 32 tons, and that it is itself 12 tons overweight.


It's a quote of a rumor from "sources", but if its only half truth there is a big issue. At least this article will force EADS to explain what is really going on.
 
Lumberton
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:31 am



Quoting Keesje (Reply 43):
What is interresting / worrying is this article:

Here's a link.
http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=3897605&c=EUR&s=TOP

If correct, then there are more issues that the engines to deal with.
 
allstarflyer
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:11 pm



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 44):

So what's the likely outcome then if Germany and other countries decide the A400M isn't worth the $$$ invested? I'm guessing EADS would finish what they could w/the $$$ on hand and farm them out to the EU countries still willing to take delivery.
 
Lumberton
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:01 pm



Quoting Allstarflyer (Reply 45):
So what's the likely outcome then if Germany and other countries decide the A400M isn't worth the $$$ invested?

My personal opinion, and I'm making no claims of expertise or insider knowledge, remains:

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 7):
Frankly, I see nothing wrong with buying the home grown product to bolster one's own defense infrastructure. If this thing ends up costing twice that of a C-17 and they buy it to protect jobs, fine.

In other words, there is no power on earth that will cause Germany, France, and Spain to walk away from the A400.

What is potentially worrisome for the project's solidarity is the UK defense secretary's comments. If Britain were to cancel in whole or in part, this would be a real blow to the program. Not that it would kill it, but losing even a portion of the UK's 25 (?) would not inspire a lot of confidence.
 
columba
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:09 pm

According to Reuters EADS is offering A330s as an interim solution

Link in German
http://de.reuters.com/article/deEuroRpt/idDEWEA143020090113

Sorry did not find anything on the English site  Sad
 
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Francoflier
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:36 pm



Quoting Keesje (Reply 43):
Most succesfull engines are build by joint ventures for decades. GP7000, CFM56, V2500 to name a few.

True (althought it's ironic that P&W is a major player in two of the three you cited  biggrin  ), but most of those partnership are based on no more than two manufacturer joining forces, each developping one entire section of the engine (CFM is the best example where GE does the HP section and Snecma does the LP stuff). And financial risk sharing is done according to who does what amount of the work.

IAE and their V2500 would be the example closest to Europrop where there were 4 main actors each providing different sections of the engine. But their partnership was still based on 'normal' commercial principles. EPI, in turn, divided the amount of work to be done on the engine by each partner depending on how many airframes the related country bought... Now if that isn't political manipulation of every last aspect of the program, I don't know what it is.

So here we have it, certainly the most complex association of manufacturers in an engine program I have personally witnessed:

Rolls Royce (25% work, 28% ownership):

- Whole engine integration and performance, HP compressor, LP shaft, Intermediate casing, Oil and air systems and structural parts of the bearing supports...

Snecma (32% work, 28% ownership):

- Combustor, HP turbine, Installation of the engine on the aircraft, engine control system and accessory gearbox (the latter done by Hispano-Suiza, an affiliated company)...

MTU (22%workshare, 28% ownership):

- IP compressor, IP turbine, IP shaft, and a stake in the engine control unit. Plus final assembly and testing.

ITP (21%workshare, 16% ownership):

- LP turbine, Turbine exhaust case, exhaust nozzle, engine dressings, front and rear structure, front bearing, external integration and certification testing.

Plus Ratier-Figeac who does the screw...

To the untrained eye, this all seems like a very complex project unnecessarily made even more complex than it ought to be. I'm sure all the pieces will fall together in time, but this seems like asking for more trouble than it could otherwise be.
Especially since this will probably not be a very succesful commercial venture (not that I don't wish it were) and very probably a one-off association between those partners for a limited amount of engines.

After all, it only took Airbus two different design centers in two different countries using a slightly different software to create one of the major blunder of aircraft design history... This is just asking for trouble.

Quoting Keesje (Reply 43):
Nothing typical european.

I don't know. It keeps reminding me of Airbus' early woes with politicians on both side of the Rhine seeking to get their country's share of the pie, business efficiency notwhistanding.

Quoting Keesje (Reply 43):
It seems your emotions took over.

You're probably right. And I don't even pay taxes in Europe...  Wink  duck 
But in my defense, there is not a lot to rejoice about this program so far.
I just hope the program is salvageable and the final product is as good as they promised.
 
texl1649
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RE: A400M Three Years Late?

Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:37 pm

The fat super-Herc C-130XL project suddenly might be picking up some engineers/$$$. With the Obama administration there certainly won't be excess money to pour into some notional program to get the vertical lifter in a Herc class (tiltrotor etc.) going quickly, so things could gt interesting VERY quickly...

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/th...ine/2008/09/hark-the-fat-herc.html

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...wider-larger-c-130xl-to-fight.html

I still think a downrated C-17, rather than the uprated C-17B, makes more sense than that. And what's with A offering A-330's as a supplement; the whole point made earlier was that turbo-props are absolutely essential?

The Yak-130 nee Aermacchi 346 "model" really does look like the way Europe should have gone...
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