A400M passes key certification tests

jueves, 22 de septiembre de 2011

The Airbus Military A400M new generation airlifter has passed a series of key tests in the last week as the aircraft continues to progress towards civil and military type certification.

On 17th September the aircraft (Grizzly 1) successfully performed the high-energy rejected take-off test which confirms the capability of the braking system to stop the aircraft safely following a rejected take-off at high speed and high weight. During the week the emergency evacuation tests were also carried out to demonstrate that the aircraft can be safely evacuated in a specified time when loaded with troops or other passengers in various configurations.

The high-energy rejected take-off test is one of the toughest in the programme and, because of the risk of damage to the aircraft, is among the last items performed before preparation of the aircraft flight manual. It was carried out on runway 14R at Toulouse Airport and required the aircraft, loaded to the maximum take-off weight, to make a simulated take-off run which was aborted at the V1 decision speed. V1 is the maximum speed at which the pilot has to decide whether to continue a take-off or abort it.

As specified by the testing authorities the aircraft was then taxied clear of the runway and stopped for five minutes before firefighters were allowed to cool the brakes and wheels. As is typical in this test, three of the aircraft´s tyres deflated. There was no further damage and the test was highly successful.

The emergency evacuation tests were performed over several days at the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville using the fifth development aircraft which is mostly complete and due to fly before the end of the year. All the tests required for certification were passed. They were performed with, respectively, paratroopers, conventional troops, in a medical evacuation configuration, and in a mixed configuration of troops and cargo.

Airbus Head of Flight Operations Fernando Alonso said: “These are vital tests to satisfy highly specific certification requirements and it is very satisfying to see the aircraft performing so well against them. We look forward to more strong progress in the next few weeks as we work towards type certification.”



46th successful launch in a row of the Astrium-built Ariane 5

Kourou,  22 September 2011

Ariane 5, the European launch vehicle developed and manufactured by Astrium, today successfully lifted-off from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

For François Auque, Astrium CEO, “This 46th consecutive success confirms the reliability of Astrium as a prime contractor for Ariane. Astrium’s particular expertise in cryogenic propulsion enables the launch vehicle to answer the customer requests on a very comprehensive range of missions.”

For this 204th flight, Ariane 5 placed 8,974 kilos into geostationary orbit.


MBDA Germany prepares the way for C-RAM laser weapon system

22 September 2011

MBDA Germany prepares the way for C-RAM laser weapon system

The ability to direct 10 kW laser power over a long distance and reach a target with a high quality beam is a decisive forward step. MBDA Germany has conducted several successful tests with its laser demonstrator. This is evidence of major progress in terms of achieving a C-RAM (Counter Rocket, Artillery, Mortar) laser weapon system. The results also confirm MBDA Germany’s leading position in Europe in this domain.

For the first time, 10 kW laser power reached a moving target located more than two kilometres away while retaining a high quality beam. The tracking of dynamic objects and the effects on the object were demonstrated over a distance of more than 2,300 m and an altitude differential of 1,000 m under real-life environmental conditions.

These results are of major significance. The successful combating of RAM munitions is of major importance for the protection of soldiers in the field. However, this also represents several technical challenges. Defence against RAM munitions is only possible to a limited extent with current cannon systems or missiles. These difficulties arise from the high speed of artillery munitions, the small signatures of mortar munitions, the required combat distance in excess of 1,000 m and the necessary combat velocity. In this respect, laser weapons are exceptionally well suited for use against RAM munitions.

However, since countermeasures against RAM must be carried out within a few seconds, it is necessary to achieve high laser power and a high quality laser beam against a fast moving target at distances of between 1,000 m and 3,000 m. This is the only way to guarantee the protection of a field camp using such a laser weapon.

The experts at MBDA Germany have now proven that their laser demonstrator is already able to deliver high laser power and a high quality laser beam at a moving target over long distances. Currently, it is only possible with the geometric coupling principle that has been patented by MBDA Germany. This therefore lays the groundwork for the development of a C- RAM laser weapon system.

A European consortium led by MBDA Germany has been developing the major aspects of the system in a study being conducted on behalf of the European Defence Agency (EDA) since 2009. Integration investigations with appropriate hardware have also been carried out. The final selection of a platform for the laser weapon system will be made once all the relevant conditions have been established. This process is currently underway in close consultation with users and suppliers.

The successful tests by MBDA Germany have been conducted on behalf of the German Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB) at the latter’s WTD 52 testing site.

Notes to editors

MBDA Germany comprises LFK-Lenkflugkörpersysteme GmbH together with its subsidiaries (TDW and Bayern-Chemie). As a part of Europe’s MBDA Group, MBDA Germany employs around 1,300 persons at its sites in Schrobenhausen, Unterschleissheim, Ulm and Aschau am Inn.

With industrial facilities in four European countries and within the USA, in 2010 MBDA achieved a turnover of 2.8 billion euros with an order book of 10.8 billion euros. With more than 90 armed forces customers in the world, MBDA is a world leader in missiles and missile systems. MBDA is the only group capable of designing and producing missiles and missile systems that correspond to the full range of current and future operational needs of the three armed forces (land, sea and air). In total, the group offers a range of 45 missile systems and countermeasures products already in operational service and more than 15 others currently in development.

MBDA is jointly held by BAE SYSTEMS (37.5%), EADS (37.5%) and FINMECCANICA (25%).


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