An Update on European Aircraft December 2011


12/13/2011: This posting provides an update on several developments regarding European built aircraft.  The slideshow provides some glimpses of ongoing developments at Eurocopter and Airbus Military in the global marketplace.

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Credit: Eurocopter and Airbus Military

  • The first photo shows the Tiger helicopter, a key element of the French participation in the Libyan operation, in flight.  Eurcopter released the photo during the Malaysian Langkawi Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA).

According to the Eurocopter press release:

Eurocopter is fully dedicated to assisting Malaysia in establishing a highly capable attack helicopter force,” stated Eurocopter President & CEO Lutz Bertling. “Our proposal will be based on the Tiger’s effectiveness, which is proven with combat deployments in both Afghanistan and Libya – during which it demonstrated operational reliability rates of over 90 percent and confirmed a high level of maintainability. Designed for armed forces’ 21st century requirements with the latest cutting-edge technology, we believe the Tiger is the right helicopter to bolster Malaysia’s defense capabilities.

Meanwhile, the Airbus tanker program is moving ahead, while the USAF waits for its tankers.

The third tanker has been handed over to the Aussies. The first FSTA will be transferred to the UK in the coming weeks, for official delivery in two months. The Saudi program is also on track with the UAE to receive its first tanker early next year.

  • The third Aussie tanker can be seen in photo 2.
  • The third photo shows the latest C-295 being prepared for the French Air Force.

According to the Airbus Military press release:

The Flight Test Centre of the Direction Générale de l’Armament (DGA) of the French Ministry of Defence has taken delivery of the first of eight CN235 medium airlifters ordered from Airbus Military by the French DGA last year. These eight aircraft will be operated by the French Air Force, to add to the 19 examples it already has in service. The last of the remaining seven aircraft ordered will be delivered by the end of 2012.

  • The final two photos show the first production A400M being prepared by Airbus Military for delivery to the French Air Force.

According to the Airbus Military press release:

Following the launch of A400M series production last February, Airbus Military has begun final assembly of the first A400M that will be delivered to a customer –the French Air Force. The fuselage for this aircraft, known as MSN7, arrived at the final assembly line in Seville (Spain) on board an Airbus Beluga. The wings and nose arrived some days earlier and the integration of the central box and outer wings has already begun. The horizontal tailplane (HTP) is expected next week and the vertical tailplane (VTP) in two weeks time.

France will receive its first A400M military airlifter around the turn of the year 2012/2013. Eight serial A400M aircraft are already at different stages of production.

  • The (fourth) photograph shows the unloading of the fuselage from an Airbus Beluga in the A400M final assembly line in Seville (Spain). The additional picture (fifth photo) shows the same operation for the wings and nose of the aircraft.