A400M Completes Low Speed Take Off Tests
March 25, 2011 - The Airbus Military A400M has completed a challenging series of tests to determine the lowest speed at which it can take off, known as minimum unstick speed or Vmu.
During the tests, performed at Istres in
The Airbus A400M is a multi-national four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. It was designed by Airbus Military as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities.
The aircraft's maiden flight, originally planned for
2008, took place on December 11, 2009 in
|In the close-up photo sparks can be seen flying from the bumper as it drags on the runway|
also indicated that it wanted to renegotiate "certain technical
characteristics" of the aircraft. Airbus has long maintained the
first deliveries would begin three years after the A400M's first
flight. The German newspaper Financial Times Deutschland has
closely followed the A400M program and reported in January 2009
that the aircraft was overweight by 12 tons and may not be able
to achieve a critical performance requirement, the ability to
airlift 32 tons. Sources told FTD at the time that the aircraft
could only lift 29 tons, which is insufficient to carry a modern
armored infantry fighting vehicle such as the Puma.
report prompted the chief of the German Air Force to say, "That
is a disastrous development," and could delay deliveries to the
Luftwaffe until 2014. The Initial Operational Capability (IOC)
for the Luftwaffe is delayed at least until 2017. This leads the
political planning to potential alternatives in the shape of a
higher integration of European airlift capabilities.
reminded the participating countries that they can terminate the
contract before March 31, 2009. On March 29, 2009, Airbus CEO
Thomas Enders told Der Spiegel magazine that the program may
need to be abandoned without changes.
shortage of military transports caused by the A400M delay forced
2009, Lockheed Martin said that both
The NYT also
quotes a report to the French Senate from February 2009, according to
which "the A400M is €5 billion over budget, 3 to 4 years behind
schedule, aerospace experts estimate it is also costing Airbus between
€1 billion and €1.5 billion a year."
acknowledged in 2009 that the program is expected to lose at least 2.4
billion euros and cannot break even without sales outside NATO
countries. A PricewaterhouseCoopers audit of the program projected that
it would run €11.2 billion over budget unless corrective measures were
taken, which would result in an overrun of only €7.6 billion.
On July 24, 2009,
the seven European nations announced that they would continue with the
A400M program, and form a joint procurement agency to renegotiate the
contract with EADS. The ministers of the seven European launch customers
were supposed to meet October 15, 2009 in
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