An Update on Airbus Military
By Robbin Laird
06/18/2011 – This update at the beginning of the Paris Air Show in mid-June 2011 is built around the presentations given at the Airbus Military Media event last month. SLD published an initial update from the Media event, and subsequently posted several follow up pieces associated with the presentations. This overview provides both a recap and a linked list of stories and topics.
In mid-May Airbus military held a Trade Media Briefing, which provided an update on their various products and programs. Given the manufacturing capabilities revolve around lift and tanking, the briefings provided an update on the latest elements of the Airbus military portfolio in these areas.
The oldest elements of the portfolio are the CASA legacy products. But here the focus was upon how Airbus Military was working to build multi-mission capabilities across the legacy platforms. The highlight of this development was the presentation of the C-295 test bed for an AEW capability.
As a senior representative of Airbus Military underscored, “We can offer maritime patrol, we can offer a transport platform, and we can offer for early warning, and not only for military operations but also for maritime and border security operations. We offer a multi-mission platform able to be customized for a wide variety of security and military needs.
And one of the highlights of the time in Spain were the presentations by users of the light and medium lift products to do precisely that. French, Spanish, Brazilian and Portuguese users discussed the various ways in which they used the Airbus Military products across the spectrum of operations and even in variety of business model approaches.
Updates on the A400M and A330MRTT tanker were provided as well. And both sets of briefings underscored that these products were maturing with the A400M to be delivered the French military in 2013, and the A330MRTT tanker to the Australians this year. Indeed, on the tarmac were four tankers getting ready for either delivery of final approval testing for the British and the Australians.
Frankly, it was the first time I witnessed advanced equipment going to the Australians significantly earlier than to American forces. And I would argue that in terms of con-ops and capabilities the A330MRTT tanker is clearly superior to the offering the DOD is buying and which is still in development.
An interesting factoid is that the Aussies, the Saudis and the UAE are all buying the air refuelable tanker, which will provide with significant advantages in operational capabilities and savings as well.
A final element of interest was a wide-ranging briefing on the evolution of business models to support customers. Airbus Military is seeking to provide a wide range of business options to provide service and support to its global customer base.
And most notable, to an American, was the global nature of the customer base highlighted. Both the lift and tanker products have customers in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The European based company is clearly shaping a global approach and strategy.
The following stories have been posted which follow-ed up from the media event:
A NEW APPROACH TO AIRLIFT AND TANKING
THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL SYSTEMS
AN UPDATE ON THE A330MRTT TANKER
AN UPDATE ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE TANKER BOOM
AN UPDATE ON THE A400M PROGRAM
CRAFTING A NEW AEW PLATFORM
A NEW AEW AIRCRAFT: FOLLOW-UP
SHAPING A SERVICES APPROACH
Four users of the CASA series products:
A SPANISH APPROACH TO MARITIME SECURITY: THE ROLE OF SALVAMENTO MARÍTIMO
THE PORTUGUESE 502 SQUADRON “ELEFANTES”: LEVERAGING THE C-295M
BRAZIL AND RUGGED AIR OPS
THE C-235 IN THE FRENCH AIR FORCE
Several videos on the A400M test process were posted as well.
A400M AIR REFUELING (Video)
A400M FLIGHT TEST HIGHLIGHTS (Video)
A400M AIR DELIVERY TESTING
UK PILOT COMMENTS ON FLYING THE A400M