Airbus A400M could Interest Pentagon Military Transport Needs

  • Our Bureau
  • 02:02 PM, June 12, 2015
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Airbus A400M could Interest Pentagon Military Transport Needs
Airbus 400M Transport Aircraft (Photo:Benurs via Wikipedia)

The US military could potentially be a huge market for the Airbus A400 tactical transport aircraft, the Airbus CEO Tom Enders said in an interview.

"By the next decade at the latest, the US armed forces will be the biggest customer for the aircraft," Airbus chief executive Tom Enders told the weekly magazine WirtschaftsWoche in an interview.

Despite its current technical problems, there was no other rival product at the moment, Enders argued.

Boeing's C-17 was larger and Lockheed Martin's C-130 was smaller.

"But a lot of countries don't want either extreme. For the next few years, there will only be one alternative, the A400M, which is also a lot more fuel-efficient and more versatile," he said.

The Airbus A400 military transport aircraft crash last month was caused by faulty software configuration that froze three engines, the company published details of the investigation earlier this month.

The initial findings of the crash released by Airbus officials confirmed that the erroneous engine control system software may have caused the engine to freeze but ruled our structural design flaws, the company statement said.

The A400M, designed as a troop and heavy cargo carrier for a group of European NATO nations, crashed shortly after takeoff on a test flight on May 9, killing four out of six crew.

Airbus said 'black box' data and cockpit recordings indicated that three out of four of the plane's turboprop engines became stuck at high power shortly after takeoff.

At first, the three affected engines "did not respond to the crew’s attempts to control the power setting in the normal way," Airbus said in a statement.

Britain, Germany, Turkey, Malaysia and Spain grounded their A400M planes after the crash.

Enders said Airbus was sticking to its sales and earnings targets for this year, despite the crash.

"We're on the right path to achieve our published goals for 2015," the CEO said. Airbus is looking to increase both sales and earnings this year.

"In 2014, our operating profit was four billion euros on sales of 60 billion euros," he said. Cash flow was positive, at 88 million euros, compared with a negative cash flow of around one billion euros in 2013.

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