Airbus Military has provided the go-ahead for industrial launch of its next-generation A400M airlifter, which will lead to production of the first four series aircraft during 2012.
Having reached this key milestone, the A400M programme’s leader for four years, Rafael Tentor, is now set to hand over his responsibilities to current EADS Sogerma President and CEO Cédric Gautier.
“My most sincere thanks go to Rafael for all the work he and his team have performed over the past years. His enormous commitment and dedication have enabled the A400M to become the aircraft it is today,” said Airbus Military CEO Domingo Ureña-Raso. “The industrial launch means a turning point. I am convinced that, with all his engineering and above all industrial expertise, Cédric will be the best person to manage this new phase.”
Beginning 1 April, Gautier will oversee the A400M through its certification, delivery and service entry with launch customers; while Tentor is moving on to become head of Airbus Military aircraft programmes.
To be produced at a rate of 2.5 aircraft per month by the end of 2015, Airbus Military’s A400M is an all-new military aircraft conceived for the airlift and transportation requirements of the world’s armed forces, today and tomorrow.
The A400M is powered by four 11,000-shp.-class turboprop engines, and is able to fly higher, faster and farther than other military airlifters – all while retaining high manoeuvrability, good low speed handling characteristics, and the capability to operate from short, soft and rough airfields. To date, Airbus Military holds 174 A400M orders from eight customers.