Today marks another key milestone in the A400M military transport aircraft programme, with Airbus delivering the first A400M VTP (Vertical Tail Plane) from Stade, Germany, to Getafe, Spain, where the static test aircraft final assembly is taking place.
As the VTP left Airbus' Stade site today by truck, Thilo Liebig, Head of the A400M Team for Fuselage and VTP said: "This is a major milestone for the A400M programme. The team has done an excellent job to produce this component to such a high standard and on time."
The A400M VTP is again like all other Airbus VTPs a full composite (carbon fibre reinforced plastic, CFRP) structure. Though it is much more complex than any other VTP before, due to the HTP (Horizontal Tail Plane) on top of the VTP for the first time at Airbus and the resulting higher loads.
The first VTP to be delivered is destined for the A400M static test aircraft. After the arrival in Getafe, at EADS CASA, the VTP will be joined with the HTP from EADS CASA, Tablada and afterwards being assembled on the central rear fuselage, delivered to Getafe on 20.3.2007.
Firm orders for A400M now stand at 192 aircraft; 180 in the original order for seven European NATO nations through OCCAR (i.e. 60 for Germany; 50 for France; 27 for Spain; 25 for the UK; 10 for Turkey; seven for Belgium and one for Luxembourg) plus 12 aircraft ordered by two further customers (eight aircraft for South Africa and four for Malaysia).
Airbus is an EADS company.