SHAH ALAM:The first Airbus Defence and Space A400M new generation airlifter for the Royal Malaysian Air Force has taken another step towards its maiden flight with the start of full engine runs and taxiing trials.
The aircraft, known as MSN22 (RMAF M54-01) moved under its own power for the first time on January 26, 2015 at the Airbus Defence and Space facility in Seville, Spain.
A series of tests at increasingly high speeds will take place in the coming days leading to the first flight.
Can it fly home in time for Lima 2015? Stories about delays involving Royal Air Force and Luftwaffe examples – due to quality issues – are not too comforting at the moment.
Meanwhile, on Jan 30, Airbus Defence and Space named Fernando Alonso (58) as Head of its Military Aircraft business unit as per 1st of March. Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, will act as interim Head of Military Aircraft until this date. Fernando Alonso replaces Domingo Ureña-Raso (56), who has resigned from his position.
Further to the top management changes, the A400M programme will be restructured.
These organisational changes are designed to allow more efficient operations inside the Airbus Defence and Space Division and to put the A400M programme as well as its industrialisation in a position to best address currently existing shortfalls:
· Responsibility for all industrial-related activities is being shifted to the Operations organisation, which is led by Pilar Albiac-Murillo.
· Programme-related activities such as development and customer deliveries will remain in the scope of the Military Aircraft business unit, under the lead of Rafael Tentor, who serves as Head of the A400M programme.
“I expect that the new team will rapidly address existing shortfalls in the most efficient way”, said Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “Every pilot who has flown the A400M to date praises the aircraft’s performance. It has even already been deployed in military operations and it will be a strategic asset to any of our customer nations’ Air Forces. But as for the integration of military capabilities and the industrial ramp-up in particular, we have not been performing at the level which had been expected from us. That is unacceptable and we will fix that. We are fully conscious of how dependent the customer nations are on this new airlifter and therefore take their concerns very seriously. We will do our utmost to overcome them so the customers receive the aircraft they need in the shortest time possible.”
The current aircraft in service are showing good performance with the aircraft exceeding its specifications in its strategic, logistical role.
The military capabilities consisting of aerial delivery, cargo handling system, Defensive Aids Subsystems (DASS) and air-to-air refuelling with pods will be integrated in the second half of 2015, following certification and qualification for each capability. Flight testing of these capabilities is continuing at a high pace. Additional military capabilities will be integrated gradually up till 2018 as contractually agreed.
We are continuing our intense and constructive discussion with OCCAR and the customer nations regarding the delivery schedule and will communicate on this once those have been concluded. With regard to any potential financial impact of the revised delivery schedule a review is currently underway as indicated in November and its results are expected to be communicated at the Group’s 2014 Annual Results Disclosure on 27 February 2015.
–Malaysian DefenceIf you like this post, buy me an espresso. Paypal Payment