Apr 17, 2009
Delays in Airbus airlifter programme create unexpected opening for BoeingBack
Construction|Africa|Airbus|Boeing|Defence|DGA|EADS|Lockheed Martin|PROJECT|Africa|Australia|Belgium|Brazil|Britain|Canada|France|Germany|Luxembourg|Malaysia|Qatar|South Africa|Spain|Turkey|United Arab Emirates|United Kingdom|United States|Defence Procurement Agency|Interim Solution|Service|Solutions|Transitional Solutions|Transport|Carlo Gagiano|Laurent Collet-Billon|Simphiwe Dlamini|A400M|Airbus A400M|C-130|C-17|C-17 Globemaster III|C-390|Limpopo|Flight International|The C
© Reuse this
France stresses it remains committed to the A400M programme - the country's defence procurement agency DGA told respected British aerospace weekly Flight International that "the French defence ministry is determined to find a good solution to continue the A400M programme", and the C-17 enquiry is believed to concern only three aircraft. But it could result in France reducing its order for A400Ms.
In the middle of last month, DGA director-general Laurent Collet-Billon warned that his agency could, as it is contractually entitled to do, refuse to accept A400Ms delivered after the currently agreed final date. He said that it "was one of the alternatives which we have to examine. We have not yet finished examining the capability gap and that could lead to a reduction in the target" of 50 aircraft.
In a statement recently released to Flight, the DGA points out that there "is an operational gap for military transport and the French defence ministry is looking forward and studying all the transitional solutions. The C-17 is one of them, but there are several other options and nothing is decided at the moment." Nevertheless, its is reported that the French have written to the US Air Force about the possible acquisition of the C-17. It is not known if the French are thinking of buying the aircraft or leasing them as an interim solution.
There can be little doubt that these reports will be causing further concern in South Africa, a risk-sharing partner in the A400M programme, with eight of the aircraft on order for the South African Air Force (SAAF).
At the recent airpower demonstration in Limpopo province, SAAF Chief Lt-Gen Carlo Gagiano said that the air force was seriously considering alternative aircraft to the A400M, including Russian and Ukrainian aircraft and Brazil's C-390 project. "While the A400M is the most ideal replacement for the [SAAF's existing main transport aircraft, the] C-130, we do not wanty to be scrambling around to find a replacement if the project is permanently cancelled."
South African defence ministry spokesperson Simphiwe Dlamini added that the delays in the A400M programme were causing frustrations and problems for South Africa and were being watched by the government. "We are hoping that this will be resolved soon, one way or the other."
Meanwhile, giant European aerospace and defence group EADS has given the assurance that it remains fully committed to the construction of the Airbus A400M military transport aircraft. Airbus is a subsidiary of EADS.
However, EADS has also reasserted its view that the 2003 contract for the A400M "does not provide the necessary conditions for the successful development of the programme, firstly because of an unrealistic timetable, and secondly because the commercial nature of the contract dos not fit the reality of a military programme containing high technological risks". The group is urging the A400M partner nations to use a three month moratorium proposed by European defence procurement agency OCCAR to get the programme back on course under conditions acceptable to all involved.
In addition to France, Germany, South Africa and Spain, the A400M is also on order from Belgium, Britain, Luxembourg, Malaysia, and Turkey. The Boeing C-17 is already in operational service and has been so far been bought by the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. There is growing speculation that Britain will cut, even cancel, its order for 25 A400Ms and buy more C-17s and/or Lockheed Martin C-130Js instead. The A400M is meant to achieve a maximum payload of 37 t, while the C-17's figure is just over 76,6 t (the C-130J has a maximum payload of almost 21,8 t).
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other News This Week News
Article contains comments
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
This Week's Magazine
As the City of Ekurhuleni continues its bid to develop the largely industrialised metropole into the continent’s first aerotropolis, executive mayor Mondli Gungubele has committed the city to creating a predictable, stable and enabling business environment in which...
While Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) did not have “significant issues” with power supply in Gauteng, it was a different story in the Eastern Cape, said FMCSA and American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa president Jeff Nemeth earlier this month....
In 2000, exports into Africa from South Africa represented less than 5% of the turnover of Federal Mogul Motorparts Africa, with sales largely centred around Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. Today, African exports represent 30% of sales, with trade expanded...
The Malawi government has launched a $50-million project to upgrade the Kamuzu barrage, on the Shire river, an outlet of Lake Malawi, which is used to control the flow of water from the lake to the lower Shire area. The project will run from this year to 2017 and...
Our new Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges will replace the Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges which have served us for the past twenty years. The buildings will be the same and most of the staff will be the same but as the...