Airbus Program Updates Shared with Media at the 8th Trade Media Briefing (TMB 2019) in Germany

Together with Airbus Helicopters, Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) held the 8th edition of its traditional Trade Media Briefing (TMB 2019) at its facilities located in Donauwörth and Manching in Germany, November 4-6. The three-day event was attended by some 60 journalists representing defence and aerospace media around the globe including Defence Turkey Magazine from Turkey. The last TMB event was held in June 2016, also in Germany. Airbus Helicopters has been participating in the TMB event since 2016.

Tarih: Issue 96 - December 2019

Over the course of the three day Trade Media Briefing 2019 event, press representatives got first-hand information and updates on current ongoing programs from Airbus Helicopters and ADS such as FCAS/Combat Cloud, SmartForce, H145M, H160M, A400M, A330 MRTT, C295 and Space.  Detailed presentations were delivered by senior Airbus executives including Dirk HOKE, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airbus Defence & Space. 

During the event, in addition to facility tours that took place at the Donauwörth Airbus Helicopter site and the Manching ADS site, media representatives were also hosted at the 74th Fighter Wing of the German Air Force’s Neuburg Air Base, the smallest air base of the Bundeswehr, on the afternoon of November 5th. 

Hosted by the Lieutenant Colonel Swen JACOB, Commanding Officer the 74th Fighter Wing (JG74, Takt LwG 74) at Neuburg Air Base, media representatives found the opportunity to be briefed on EuroFighter operations by the German Air Force. During his address Lt. Col. JACOB provided his perspective of the EuroFighter Typhoon and provided fascinating insight into a recent aircombat training encounter with USAF F-35s. “F-35s came here recently from Swindon and said lets dogfight/visual. They did their 60 knots high Angel of Attack (AoA) maneuver, and we still gunned them... It was a four-on-four engagement in 90 seconds with neutral and offensive maneuvers...” said Lt. Col. JACOB. According to Lt. Col. JACOB the JG74’s EuroFighter Typhoons get scrambled ~60 times a year, with about a dozen of these cases leading to aircraft getting airborne. The reasons for the scrambles usually get resolved in the 12 minutes taken to get airborne. Most scrambles are due to radar contact loss.

November 4, 2019 Donauwörth Airbus Helicopter Site

On November 4, talking to journalists at the Airbus TMB 2019 in Donauworth, Germany Airbus Helicopters Defence Programs Executive Vice President Matthieu LOUVOT stressed that their proposal under the LAND 4503 Program (Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter [ARH] replacement) will cover not only the upgrade of the current Tiger ARH fleet of the Australian Army but also the delivery of an undisclosed number (believed to be 7) of H145M Armed Light Helicopters to provide additional ARH capability. The three contenders lining up for the LAND 4503 Program include Airbus Helicopters, Textron subsidiary Bell (AH-1Z), and Boeing (AH-64E). The LAND 4503 Program involves the acquisition of up to 29 attack helicopters. The new helicopters will serve as a replacement for the Australian Army’s current stock of 22 EC665 Tiger ARHs. The Tiger ARH Upgrade proposal would use technologies developed for the French/German Tiger Mk III Program. Airbus Helicopters is marketing its Tiger Mk3 as the “Tiger platform beyond 2020” that will provide not only a serviceable platform with local industrial opportunity for Australia, but also a cheaper alternative. According to Airbus, by selecting the Tiger Mk3 Upgrade Australian taxpayers and the Army shall save up to A$3 Billion (US$2 Billion). “The Tiger Upgrade and H145M together will provide enhanced capabilities and will cost A$3 Billion less than buying a new helicopter type,” LOUVOT said.  LOUVOT also underlined that the H145Ms offered for LAND 4503 would be in addition to Airbus Helicopter’s bid for the Army’s special operations support helicopter program being delivered under LAND 2097 Phase 4, which covers the off the shelf purchase of up to 16 helicopters in the four-ton weight range along with a range of requirements for various mission roles for use by Special Forces based out of Holsworthy. Entry into service is scheduled for 2022.  The Tiger Mk III Program is now the subject of de-risking activities, prior to the selection of a definitive configuration, but will likely involve a significant enhancement of the existing helicopter’s avionics system, for which the Thales FlytX System developed for the H160 helicopter is being considered, together with new mission systems and enhanced and additional sensors. LOUVOT confirmed that Airbus Helicopters is proposing to extend the life of Australia’s Tigers out to at least 2040.

As part of the ongoing H145 development programs the service entry of the H145 and H145M with 5-bladed main rotor system are expected in Q2 2020 and Q2 in 2021 respectively. Retrofit for the 5-bladed main rotor system takes 220 hours (15 days). Thanks to new 5-bladed main rotor system the H145/M helicopters MTOW increases 100kg, which is equal to +150kg useful load. Showcased at TMB 2019 to trade media and journalists, the versatile & multi-purpose H145M is the new Battlefield Support Helicopter designed for demanding operations.

Fitted with HForce, which was introduced as a “cost-effective, retrofittable, plug & play approach for attack helicopter capabilities” the H145M can be armed with wide range of air-to-ground weapons including HMP400 12,7mm Gun Pod, NC621 20mm Cannon Pod, FZ231 70mm Rocket Launcher, Air to Ground Missile (on request), Air to Air Missile (growth potential) and FZ275 Laser Guided Rocket. HForce is a modular suite of avionics and weapons that can be installed on all Airbus helicopters. For HForce qualification & deliveries are expected to take place in 2020. Roketsan’s CİRİT Laser Guided Rocket is also expected to be integrated on Airbus Helicopters H135M and H145M Helicopters via HForce and to the Tiger UHT Attack Helicopter. For this purpose, in June 2016 Roketsan signed MoUs for the integration of the CİRİT Laser Guided Rocket to H135M and H145M Helicopters during Eurosatory with Airbus Helicopters and to the Tiger UHT during ILA 2016 with MBDA Deutschland GmbH.

While each A400M can carry one H145M, up to four H145M helicopters can be carried aboard a C-17A Globemaster III and up to six H145Ms can be carried aboard a An-124 transport aircraft. As of August 2019, 51 H145M helicopters have been ordered, 15 for German Special Forces, 5 for Royal Thai Navy, 6 for Serbian Air Force, 3 for Serbian Police, 20 for Hungary Air Force and 2 for Luxemburg. Meanwhile, Germany Army Aviation (HEER) is set to receive the first of seven H145M LUHs configured for SAR operations ‘imminently’ according to Airbus helicopters. Additionally, the Philippines Coast Guard is about to take delivery of its sole example.  

Airbus Helicopters operates in 148 countries with a € 5,934 Billion turnover as of 2018. 2,450 military helicopters of Airbus are in service operated by 160 military customers. Military Markets account for 50% Airbus Military Revenues. Airbus Helicopters is also a forerunner in the training helicopter field.   Today over 130, modern twin-engine H135 training helicopters are in service for military training worldwide. The H135 is also expected to be offered to meet the Turkish Army’s new training helicopter requirement. In July 2019 the Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) issued a tender/RFP document to acquire basic training helicopters for the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC). Airbus Helicopters is one of the potential contenders of this project.

Speaking at Donauwörth Airbus Helicopter site on November 4, H160M Program Manager Vincent CHENOT underlined that the H160M, a dedicated military version of the Airbus Helicopters’ clean sheet civilian six ton H160, includes 68 new patents. According to CHENOT, the H160M configuration is the result of 10 years of joint collaboration between Airbus Helicopters and the French Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force).

The Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger (HIL, Joint Light Helicopter) Program of the French Armed Forces will be officially launched in France in 2021. The Airbus Helicopters’ H160, civilian variant, is due to enter service next year, whereas the H160M Guépard (Cheetah) prototype is expected to make its first flight at the end of 2023. The first delivery of next generation medium helicopters H160M Guépard (Cheetah) will be to the French Army in 2026, the French Navy in 2028 and then the French Air Force. The French Armed Forces split on the 169 H160Ms it requires is: 80 for the Army, 49 for the Navy and 40 for the Air Force. 

Airbus continues its efforts to obtain EASA certification for the H160 before the end of this year. Once the approval of the EASA has arrived, Airbus is planning to obtain American FAA approval within the following six months. If Airbus Helicopters can obtain EASA certification before the end of 2019, the H160 will be the first fly-by-wire civilian helicopter that is certified. The Bell 525 is also in the race. After starting series production, Airbus Helicopters plans to produce around 30 H160s per year. In 2026 when the first deliveries of the H160M will take place Airbus would increase the production rate to 50 units per year. Other countries are also interested in the H160M, but the French Armed Forces are given priority.

The H160 and H160M helicopters have a number of other innovations in addition to the fly-by-wire control system. Both versions are completely built in composite material and are equipped with a full glass cockpit and with Blue Edge rotor blades. The Blue Edge rotor blades realize a significant reduction in helicopter noise. Airbus prides itself on being able to talk in the H160 without headsets. Powered by a pair of Safran Arrano turboshaft engines (certified in June 2019), each generating 1,280 shp and offers a 15 percent fuel-burn reduction compared to similarly powered engines. The H160M Guépard (Cheetah) features the Thales FlytX Avionics Suite, with four 15-inch touchscreen displays that will be used for display of all data, including imagery from sensors and other tactical displays. In addition to 2 pilots, the H160M will also be able to carry 5 fully equipped commandos (12 passengers in civil configuration) at a cruising speed of 150 kts. The flight range is 458 nm (with 20-minute reserve). The H160M Guépard (Cheetah) is being tailored to meet the French program that is replacing five of aging helicopter types currently serving in the French Army, Navy, and Air Force. As part of the militarization, the H160M will be equipped with a range of communications systems, tailored to meet cyber-security requirements and varying levels of data classification. Sensors planned for the H160M Guépard (Cheetah) include a EuroFLIR 410 Electro-Optical System (EOS) and a Thales multirole tactical radar that is currently under development. The radar will offer various search and targeting capabilities and will feature three flat electronically scanned antenna arrays that will be located in an arrangement that provides near 360-degree coverage around the helicopter. Weaponry will comprise axial side-mounted gun and rocket pods, including the ability to fire laser-guided rockets. The naval version will also be able to launch the MBDA Sea Venom anti-ship missile. 7.62 mm pintle machine guns and pintle sniper rifles can be mounted in the cabin doors. The H160M Guépard can be also equipped with an Air-to-Air Refueling Probe for which technical feasibility has been demonstrated and the development launch is to be confirmed by the French Armed Forces.

November 5, ADS Manching Site

On November 5th at  Airbus TMB 2019, the event started with Alberto GUTIERREZ, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space (ADS). “Our building blocks supporting our future growth in 2019 are: A400M Stabilization, LTE (Long Term Evaluation) for EuroFighter Typhoon, Smart A330 MRTT, the FWSAR (Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue) for C295, Digitalization with SmartForce and FCAS (Future Combat Air System)” GUTIERREZ said. He also underlined that their biggest MRTT opportunities are in Europe, Asia-Pacific and Middle East. “You will hear more about this at the Dubai Airshow 2019” GUTIERREZ added. According to GUTIERREZ there is no plan for the MRTTneo version. Regarding the A400M export order GUTIERREZ said “The sooner the better.” Answering questions about the ADS approach to the Indian market GUTIERREZ said Airbus is still talking to the Indian Government about AWACS having already been selected once and also bidding for the tanker with the A330 MRTT having won the competition twice already. He also expressed his belief that the A400M is the right sized airlifter for India.

Addressing journalists at Airbus TMB Day 2 at ADS’ Manching facility in Southern Germany on November 5, Kurt ROSSNER, Head of Combat Aircraft, Military Aircraft at ADS underlined that the EuroFighter LTE (Long Term Evolution) will be an enabler of the European Future Combat Air System (FCAS). The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) is planning to retire its 38 Tranche 1 EuroFighters and replace them with Tranche 3 aircraft fitted to the new Quadriga configuration. ROSSNER disclosed that ADS is close to signing a contract with the German MoD to replace the Luftwaffe’s 38 Tranche 1 Eurofighters under a the Quadriga Program. The retired Tranche 1 EuroFighters would then be sold to the international market before being replaced in Luftwaffe service by new-build EuroFighter Tranche 3 aircraft that will include the E-Scan Mk 1 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and updated software. “I would say that we are within weeks of signing the Quadriga contract with the German Government, we are now in the final stages,” ROSSNER said. He added, “Project Quadriga will be a 38 German new production aircraft requirement for 7 twin seaters, 26 single seaters plus 5 single seaters optional. It will replace German Tranche 1 fleet.” ROSSNER also disclosed that Switzerland would be a good match also as it looks to replace its ageing Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II and Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fleets. ADS has proposed up to 40 Eurofighters, built to Quadriga configuration, for Switzerland, with type selection by the Federal Council due at the end of 2020 or early 2021. According to ROSSNER, 110 Luftwaffe EuroFighter Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 aircraft will begin receiving the E-Scan Mk 1 AESA radar from Q2/2022 to be followed by 19 Spanish Air Force EuroFighter Tranche 3 in Q3 2022. ROSSNER also disclosed that the first EuroFighter Typhoon will be delivered to Kuwait Air Force in 2020 April and the aircraft will be equipped with pre-series Radar Mk 0 previously known as Mk1+. According to ROSSNER German Air Force is seeking Tornado replacement (estimated at 85 Eurofighter, 45 with “strategic” capabilities and 40 with offensive jamming capability) beginning in 2030 and ADS is proposing Electronic Combat Reconnaissance (ECR)/Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) version of to meet Luftwaffe’s Tornado replacement requirement.

The ECR/SEAD variant of the EuroFighter Typhoon is expected to be in twin-seat configuration with an Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) in the back seat. The front and rear cockpit will be independent from each other and the EWO will have a multi-function panoramic touch display and a dedicated mission cockpit at its disposal to perform Electronic Warfare (EW) & Electronic Attack (EA) missions. However, the computer-generated images of the EuroFighter Typhoon ECR/SEAD variant does not feature the conformal fuel tanks that would free-up three underwing pylons. The configuration presented by ADS shows the EuroFighter Typhoon ECR/SEAD variant carrying two Escort Jammer Pods, three 1,000 liters fuel tanks and six MBDA SPEAR-EW air-to-ground missiles (under development for the Royal Air Force), in addition to the standard air-to-air armament including of four Meteor and two IRIS-T missiles. Some images also depict the capability to employ the AGM-88B HARM or the AGM-88E AARGM. The Escort Jammer Pods will be complemented by two Emitter Locator Systems installed into the EuroFighter Typhoon’s wingtips. According to an infographic provided by ADS, escort and stand-in jammers can be carried simultaneously on the same aircraft.

The ECR/SEAD configuration is part of a wider Long-Term Evolution (LTE) plan for the EuroFighter Typhoon combat aircraft that will span the coming decades. During Paris Air Show 2019 the Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH and the Eurojet Turbo GmbH consortiums announced that the NATO Eurofighter & Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) have assigned contracts worth € 53,7 Million to support the LTE of the EuroFighter Typhoon combat aircraft. The initial capability for the Eurofighter ECR is expected by 2026 with a podded solution, while the full capability will be implemented by the end of the 2020s into the new airframes built as a EuroFighter Typhoon LTE Program standard. The new technologies will be further developed and fully integrated into the FCAS.

Addressing journalists at ADS’ Manching facility on November 5, Dirk HOKE, CEO of ADS underlined that a European approach to Defence has been created again and added, “Our ambition is to be at the heart of the future European aerospace power. Our key differentiator: We know how to manage large programs in a complex set-up. No other company in Europe can provide such diverse resources than Airbus.  We continue to push Europe to use a common approach (to defence) not a national approach so that we can compete with the likes of the USA and China.” Commenting on whether Tempest & FCAS could merge in the future, HOKE said, “Once Brexit clears, I strongly believe British pragmatism will offer a solution. It would be a major step back for Europe to have two competing defence projects, same negatives as Rafale vs Typhoon… I hope when Brexit is settled there will be some discussion with the Tempest FCAS partners about the future. And maybe work together. It’s not good to have two different FCAS solutions that will split European collaboration and sales…” Regarding the A400M Program HOKE said, “We are very optimistic that the speed of discussions (with new customers) will increase as we continue to demonstrate capabilities.” HOKE also stressed that with a certification flight test executed in early October for the simultaneous dispatch of 80 (40+40) equipped paratroopers from both side doors of an A400M on a single pass, Airbus has demonstrated clearly that this capability is on the right track. The flight test for the simultaneous dispatch of 116 (2x58) paratroopers is expected to be carried out soon. Certification activities for the A400M paratroopers dispatch capability are planned to be completed in the first half of 2020. According to HOKE, ADS is optimistic and confident about existing efforts in India. “We have been running campaigns there for a decade. Avro-replacement contract for transport aircraft is super-important for us and for India, because it is a real ‘Made in India’ contract. We would build 16 C295s in Europe and 40 with Tatra in India” HOKE said. In October 2014 Airbus announced that it has teamed up with Indian private firm Tata Advanced Systems to bid for the US$2 Billion deal to replace 56 aging Hawker Siddeley HS-748 Avro transport aircraft, which were in service since its induction from 1962. Under the project ADS has offered its C295. HOKE believes that there is a market for up to 150 C295s in India.


Airbus Unveils LOUT Stealth Testbed

After more than a decade as a secret project, Airbus Defence revealed the LOUT (Low Observable UAV Testbed), a holistic platform approach to stealth, covering Signature Reduction, Electromagnetic Emission Control, Electronic Countermeasures

On November 5, during TMB 2019 Airbus unveiled for the first time a 4-ton classified Low Observable UAV Testbed (LOUT) that it has been developing in secret for almost 12 years at the Manching facility with a Shunk Works approach for the German Government. The Editor of Chief of Defence Turkey Magazine also attended the launch ceremony held at the ADS Manching facility where the LOUT model was revealed in a hangar with an anechoic chamber. On this non-flying 12m x 12m diamond-shaped subsonic UAV, Airbus has been working on very low observable (VLO) technologies in terms of designs, coatings and antennae that might be fed into the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) Project. LOUT design is focused on broadband radar, IR and acoustic signature reduction. It is claimed that the LOUT’s stealth profile makes it completely undetectable from air defence threats and radar-based detection. “It will make a valid contribution to the FCAS,” said Mario HERTZOG, FCAS Senior Project Manager. 

According to HERTZOG the initial concept work on LOUT began in 2007 through Airbus internal funding, and the development continued in Skunk Works-like secrecy. LOUT was contracted by the German MoD in 2010 as a VLO ground testbed to demonstrate wideband signature reduction technologies and refine configuration and material choices for a potential configuration of a VLO-platform. Noting that ADS has been involved in VLO technologies for several years, HERTZOG said, “Bringing all our experience into one program was a logical conclusion. “Stealth is and will remain an enabler for survivability,” he added. During the development process, several configurations were elaborated. The company started with 2D platform evaluations, followed by 3D layouts, and then 3D configurations. The testing of the three most promising configurations was launched in 2014, and following the tunnel tests of scale-models, Airbus decided on a diamond platform shape in 2015.

LOUT covers all aspects, from simulation and development to production and measurement. The program aims to demonstrate a holistic approach to low observability. It is designed to offer visual, acoustic, radar (VHF to Ka-Band), and infrared signature reduction against ground-based threats, as well as the use of electronic countermeasures and electromagnetic emission control. The aircraft features an internal weapons bay located in between the engines with all-aspect stealth design features. The model has low-RCS diverterless air inlets mounted on top of the aircraft and a thrust-vectoring flat exhaust nozzle that is protected against ground-based sensors. LOUT also features a cockpit to test the properties of several transparency technologies that do not affect the aircraft's low observability. The canopy represents the installation of electro-optical sensors and does not indicate any manned capability for the aircraft. To further contribute to the low-observability, the aircraft features minimized gaps between surfaces as well as surface-wave attenuation that decouples mutually spaced scattering effects.

The model, which does not incorporate any traditional flight control surfaces, bears a striking resemblance to the twin-engine Airbus SAGITTA UAV that flew for the first time on July 5, 2017. Airbus launched the SAGITTA demonstrator in 2010 to jointly develop advanced technologies for unmanned flight. The project started as a feasibility study for the flying-wing configuration and developed in conjunction with institutes from the technical universities of Munich and Chemnitz, the University of the Federal Armed Forces (Universität der Bundeswehr), the Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). Airbus stated that the research vehicle was constructed to a scale of 1:4 with a 3m wingspan, which corresponds to the 12m wingspan LOUT design.

The LOUT Program does not aim to produce a flying testbed; it intends to provide the means for developing and understanding low observable technologies. It focuses on testing radar-absorbent materials, LO structure, radar frequency, and infrared signature reduction, as well as analyzing the acoustic characteristics of such a design. Airbus affirmed that it completed contracted work on LOUT, and the first phase of testing has been completed but stated that additional phases could follow. It is expected that the technological gains from the LOUT Program will be available for EuroFighter Typhoon Long Term Evolution (LTE) activities and the proposed Future Combat Air System (FCAS/SCAF) being developed by France, Germany, and Spain.

November 6, ADS Manching Site

The last day of Airbus TMB 2019 began with Jana ROSENMANN, Head of UAS at Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) providing an update on the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) of Airbus including European MALE RPAS, Zephyr and FCAS.  Being developed by France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, the European MALE RPAS (Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance Remotely Piloted Air System) is planned to perform its maiden flight in early 2023. During her address ROSENMANN underlined that Airbus is now heavily engaged with its partners Dassault and Leonardo, as well as with the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), in closing out two critical aspects of the European MALE RPAS (also known as either EuroDrone or EuroMALE) to form part of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). “We are now in a very intense convergence phase of the program, with the four nations and OCCAR. We hope to conclude later this year in determining the scope and price of the system, which is the culmination of two-decades of collaboration,” ROSENMANN said. She stressed that EuroDrone hasn't replaced ‘European MALE RPAS’ official name yet, but they would rename it once they sign the contract. According to ROSENMANN European MALE RPAS is an important ‘brick’ in what they are building on the FCAS, and a major step for Europe. ROSENMANN also pointed out that if a development program begins now, they would be able to prove a Typhoon + remote carrier (fighter + drone set) capability under a Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) approach by 2026-27, and it will be a big step towards the first FCAS delivery in 2040. Germany, France and Spain announced the start of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) Project at the Paris AirShow in 2019. As an integrated system, FCAS is not limited to creating a sixth-generation stealth fighter, other than that, the FCAS Project also includes engine support with new technology, air combat cloud, various advanced sensors and remote carriers. In a video presentation at the ADS Manching facility, ROSENMANN showed the pattern of deployment of remote carriers from the Airbus A400M heavy transport aircraft. In the simulation, the A400M ramp door can launch up to six wingman drones for FCAS. Unlike drones that are launched from the surface, the design of a remote carrier is identical to cruise missiles, characterized by the presence of a folding wing shape. The remote carriers which act as an extension of fighter jet eyes by expanding the radar range are also popularly referred to as Loyal Wingman. The presence of a ‘companion’ drone can provide pilots with an overview and extensive information about the battlespace.

After ROSENMANN, Eric ISORCE, Head of Flight Test & Operations at ADS and Ioannis PAPACHRISTOFILOU, Head of Marketing at ADS provided updates on the troubled A400M Program.  In his address ISORCE disclosed that the Thales automatic low-level flight system on the A400M certified down to 150ft in VMC conditions and night flight test with the IMC will be performed in 2020.  ISORCE pointed out that as part of Air-to-Air Refueling (AAR) tests with A400M dry contacts with H225M Caracal helicopter performed in September 2019 and wet contacts will be performed between the two platforms in December 2019. With this test, 10 years of H225M AAR development will be completed. Certification for A400M AAR capability is planned to be completed in 2021. According to ISORCE, scheduled to be delivered in 2020, the A400M MSN 104 will be first aircraft with full airdrop capability. Out of 174 A400Ms that were ordered by 7 European Launch Nations and the sole export customer Malaysia, 85 of them have been delivered. 31 delivered to Germany, 20 to the UK, 15 to France, 9 to Turkey, 6 to Spain and 4 to Malaysia. As of October 2019, more than 60,000 flight hours have been flown by the A400M fleet. According to Ioannis PAPACHRISTOFILOU, ADS has slowed the A400M production rate to 8/year to extend the window to attract more export customers. “The decision was taken with our existing customers and ensures the even flow of deliveries to them,” PAPACHRISTOFILOU said. He stressed that the A400M has brought strategic lift into tactical situations and they have had very positive feedback from users on the A400M’s performance in unpaved runway operations. “The A400M is now proving its game-changing characteristics,” PAPACHRISTOFILOU said.

Then Dider PLANTECOSTE, A330 MRTT Head of Program took the stage together with PAPACHRISTOFILOU to provide update on the A330 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport) Program under which ADS received 60 orders and has already delivered 41 of them to 13 nations around the globe and accumulated over 200,000 flight hours. During the Dubai AirShow 2019 the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’ Air Force and Air Defence (UAEAFAD) announced on November 19th that it was in the closing stages of negotiations with ADS for the procurement of 3 more A330 MRTT aircraft. The UAE already has three MRTTs and the platforms are used heavily in support of UAE Air Force fighter deployments and operations across the region. No details of a contract value for the additional MRTTs has been revealed. According to PLANTECOSTE apart from the capacity (payload) and ability to distribute fuel in the air, the A330 MRTT Tanker Aircraft that is classified as a Strategic Vehicle, is equipped with a number of self-protection systems/sensors able to provide adequate protection standards to the end users. In this context, the Airbus A330 MRTT has been equipped with a cockpit armoring and self-protective DIRCM (Directed Infrared Countermeasure) to deal with potential infrared guided MANPADS missile attacks. In addition to protection from the threat of attack from the surface, it turns out that the tanker that has been used by Singapore also has secure communications features for low detectability and tactical scenarios that are integrated with the Onboard Information Terminal (OIT) and there is a provision of NRBC (Nuclear, Radiological, Biological, Chemical) suits.  In his address PAPACHRISTOFILOU disclosed that the A330 MRTT has achieved 94% market share in the past 10 years and announced an improved variant of the A330-200 MRTT aircraft. According to PAPACHRISTOFILOU the improved aircraft is geared toward a number of expanding roles and capabilities with a goal to evolve the market-leading tanker-transport aircraft into a versatile multi-mission platform of choice for future customers. As outlined by PAPACHRISTOFILOU, the expanded roles include VVIP transport; Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR); and as an airborne communications node through enhanced connectivity. The new capabilities center around predictive maintenance and Automatic Air-to-Air Refuelling (A3R). PAPACHRISTOFILOU disclosed that the A330 MRTT’s New Mission Planning System has been certified and delivered to customers and the certification of the A3R capability on the A330 MRTT will be achieved in 2021.

Delivering a C295 briefing to media representatives at Airbus TMB Day 3 at ADS’ Manching facility, Ioannis PAPACHRISTOFILOU, Head of Marketing at ADS underlined that the renewed configuration of the C295, which is dubbed “The New C295” has been configured mainly to meet Canadian Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) Program requirements. Under the Canadian FWSAR Program contract was awarded in December 2016. The renewed configuration is built around an enhanced avionics suite as well as other system and performance improvements. As explained by PAPACHRISTOFILOU the New C295 configuration features; Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion avionics suite that includes 14.1-inch (35.8 cm) touchscreens compatible with Night Vision Goggle (NVG), improved situational awareness with a head-up display (HUD), Enhanced Synthetic Vision System (ESVS), Weather Radar (with wind shear and turbulence prediction), Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS), a FITS Mission System Tactical Situation Window and video feed to the cockpit, a Next Generation FITS Mission System with larger 24-inch screens and more powerful processors, a Gravel Deflector on the landing gear to protect the aircraft's underside during rough-field operations, improved ditching characteristics with a strengthened under-fuselage and an escape hatch in the forward upper-fuselage, tweaked winglets, 50% more electrical power generation and aerodynamic improvements (thanks to its newly designed nacelles landing gears are now fully enclosed when retracted so you can no longer see the lower wheels and drag reducing microwaves [vortex generators] are fitted to around the rear fuselage). PAPACHRISTOFILOU said that, while many of these features can be retrofitted (aerodynamic enhancements etc.), some cannot (the structural enhancements for ditching etc.) on the existing C295s. PAPACHRISTOFILOU stressed that with C295’s new features that enhance mission capability of the aircraft, strengthening its position as the market leader in its category. According to PAPACHRISTOFILOU the first of 16 Canadian C295W FWSAR (CC-295W FWSAR) aircraft, which was rolled out in its full livery (in the typical yellow-red livery of the Royal Canadian Air Force) on October 8, 2019, will be handed over to the end user before the end of 2019 and the performance based contract (covering 8,525 flying hours per year) also includes simulators, MRO & support services. According to PAPACHRISTOFILOU they are still planning to conduct a flight with a C295 armed gunship (27mm cannon/guided weapons) version and disclosed that they are still in discussions with potential customers on this variant - which was highlighted at the 2017 Dubai AirShow.