Airbus takes another A400M charge

by Marc Selinger

An Airbus A400M at the Dubai Air Show in 2015. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Airbus took a EUR477 million (USD508 million) charge in 2022 on its long-troubled A400M military transport plane, the European aerospace manufacturer announced on 16 February.

Earnings charges for the A400M have totalled approximately EUR6.7 billion since 2014. The aircraft has experienced technical problems, schedule delays, and cost overruns since the programme was launched in 2003.

Despite these challenges, the A400M showed its worth by playing a significant role in evacuation operations in Kabul, Afghanistan, when the Western-backed Afghan government collapsed in 2021, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury told reporters at the company's annual press conference on 16 February in Toulouse, France.

Built in Germany, Spain, and the UK, the A400M flew for the first time in 2009, and the first production aircraft was delivered to the French Air Force in 2013. As of the end of 2022, Airbus had delivered 115 of the 178 aircraft ordered. Deliveries totalled 10 in 2022, up from eight in 2021.


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BlueHalo to provide autonomy capabilities for Kraken Technology Group's unmanned maritime platforms

by Jeremiah Cushman

BlueHalo is partnering with Kraken Technology Group to supply autonomy capabilities and payloads for its unmanned surface vehicles including the K4 Manta, pictured above. (BlueHalo)

US company BlueHalo has partnered with Kraken Technology Group in the UK to integrate its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-backed autonomous mission systems into Kraken's unmanned maritime platforms, the companies announced in a joint statement on 3 May.

The co-operation will focus on integrating BlueHalo's autonomy capabilities with various Kraken unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and unmanned surface/subsurface vehicles (USSVs) as well as multidomain ‘marsupial' capabilities. A marsupial capability involves the delivery of a payload to a forward position in a protected fashion, Jonathan Moneymaker, CEO of BlueHalo, told Janes on 16 May. In this case, the K4 Manta USSV dives and then surfaces near the target location to deliver a payload such as an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), a swarm of UASs, a counter-UAS (C-UAS) capability, or various systems for contested logistics, he said.


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GAO finds risk of additional delays to F-35 programme

by Zach Rosenberg

US Air Force F-35A Lightning II. F-35 deliveries are on hiatus until the Department of Defense certifies the TR-3 configuration for service. (US Air Force/Staff Sergeant Zade Vadnais)

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that problems with F-35 hardware and software have led to delays and cost overruns, the agency said in a report released on 16 May.

In 2023 most Lockheed Martin F-35s and the Pratt & Whitney (P&W) F135 engines that power them were delivered late, with the risk of delays to future deliveries.

“The engine contractor – Pratt & Whitney – did not deliver any engines on time in 2023,” noted the GAO. “Furthermore, in 2023, engines were delivered more than 2 months late, on average, compared with 1 month late in 2022.”

Engine deliveries were suspended following a December 2022 crash of an F-35B during a Department of Defense (DoD) acceptance evaluation flight. The cause was traced to harmonic vibrations in an engine fuel delivery tube, which cracked under the strain. Deliveries resumed in February 2023 following the development of a fix to prevent such resonance.


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OCCAR and MBDA sign HYDIS² concept phase contract

by Nicholas Fiorenza

OCCAR and MBDA have launched the HYDIS² concept phase. (MBDA)

The Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and MBDA announced on 15 May that they signed a European Defence Fund (EDF) grant agreement and a linked procurement contract to launch the three-year HYpersonic Defence Interceptor Study (HYDIS²) concept phase on the same day. MBDA signed the agreements on behalf of the 19 industrial partners in HYDIS². In its press release, OCCAR valued the programme at EUR140 million (USD152 million), EUR80 million of which is co-funded by the EDF.

The concept phase aims to mature critical technologies focusing on the operational requirements of participating countries France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, which will support the selection of a concept afterwards and will contribute to MBDA's Aquila counter-hypersonic interceptor concept. Another aim of the concept phase is to create an industrial network to develop future counter-hypersonic missile systems.

An MBDA spokesperson told Janes


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Airbus took a EUR477 million (USD508 million) charge in 2022 on its long-troubled A400M military tra...

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