A Step Closer to First Flight

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.

RMAF first A400M M54-01 out of the paint shop. Airbus photo
RMAF first A400M M54-01 out of the paint shop. Airbus photo

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 Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2200 Articles
Shah Alam

1 Comment

  1. SavvyKL says:
    February 1, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Airbus DS 2nd unit A400M come to LIMA also bring tiger Helicopter and other defense product sample for LIMA exhibition if not wrong.
    SavvyKL says:
    February 1, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Early A400 only 1.0 spec logistic capabilities , From MSN015 start A400M is in production 1.5 Spec. so our A400M only on A400M 1.5 spec, which only have initial tactical capabilities (include logistic capabilities), next 2.0 spec posible on end of this year only get Additional Tactical/initial AAR capabilities. A400M only get full AAR capabilities on 2.5 spec around 2017-18, at full all A400 capability 3.0 spec on 2018-2020, so all A400M receive before 3.0 will get re-trofit to version 3.0 start 2018 if delay possible 2020.  
    … says:
    January 31, 2015 at 9:29 am

    @ marhalim

    The AAR “probe” that you mention is standard on all A400M. It is the long stick on top of the cockpit of the aircraft.

    I think what you meant is the AAR Pod underneath the wings which has a “drogue” basket at the end of a retractable hose.

    Yes you are correct. My bad.
    D.W says:
    January 31, 2015 at 7:45 am

    @ SgWay

    “Updated Jan. 29, 2015 3:51 p.m. ET

    PARIS— Airbus Group NV on Thursday replaced the head of its military plane operations and said it would face “financial consequences” due to problems with the A400M military airlifter.

    Domingo Ureña-Raso, who previously ran the A400M program, offered to resign from the role and will be succeeded by Fernando Alonso Fernández, the head of flight testing, the plane maker said in a statement.

    Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders said the company would owe governments buying the plane money to compensate them for delays. “I cannot say at this point what the financial consequences are,” he told reporters in Paris.”
    kerberosWXIV says:
    January 31, 2015 at 6:48 am

    An sight of Su-30s refueling in-air from the Atlas at LIMA 2015 would be wonderful…

    Unfortunately they cannot do it even if M54-01 arrived in time or even with the backup A400M. Why? Because the AAR probe is not fitted yet on the A400M, it will be ready by mid year only! Furthermore I am not sure whether the AAR probe and DAS will come standard on our A400M. Of course whatever A400M could fly in a formation with two MKMs to simulate AAR though!
    SgWay says:
    January 30, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Looking at airbus track record..a delay in the delivery has a high chance of happening.
    fird says:
    January 30, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Do we have a comparative image, a Charlie next to A400?

    Yes there are.
    kerberosWXIV says:
    January 30, 2015 at 6:02 am

    Any chances the MRCA winner will be announced in LIMA 2015? Hopefully the A400 will make an appearance, major technical issues should have been ironed out with the previous roll-outs, unless RMAF installed some drastically different add-ons on theirs…

    Nothing different from the other users. The aircraft is too new.
    bujot says:
    January 29, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Suddenly I feel it looks very small like Hercules not as C17. Do we have Lima this year? Wondering what fighters left to take part.

    Its bigger than a C130. The A400m maximum payload is 37,000Kg and the cargo hold volume is 340 square metre while the C130J is 21,770kg and the hold is 170.5 square metre. The A400M is width is 4 metres while the Hercules is 3.05 metre.
    Yes Lima will be held in March. Sukhois, Rafale, Super Hornets and F16s etc.

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