Airbus Friedrichshafen has opened Europe’s most state-of-the-art satellite integration and space technology centre, known as the Integrated Technology Center (ITC). By tripling the clean room space available, the centre makes a quicker building of satellites, probes, space instruments and experimental technologies possible.
Bigger and Better: The ITC-Building
Comprising of a total of 4,000 m2, cutting-edge satellite and space technologies will be developed in this space. The ITC building is part of an expansion of the current satellite integration hall, which means that projects can be executed more efficiently and economically. The expansion also enables the development of many new, exciting projects for the future, as large space telescopes can now be manufactured in Friedrichshafen.
Complex Clean Room Spaces Make High-Tech Developments Possible
The very heart of the ITC is comprised of its large clean room. The final integration of satellites will take place under clean room conditions of various “cleanliness classes”. Wherein a highly-complex system circulates air through the clean room and thus ensures that there is a consistent elevated air pressure and a controlled humidity and temperature.
Manufacture of lighthouse projects of European Space Travel
The first two projects have already moved into the ITC, they are the European environmental and security programme “Copernicus” with four sentinel satellites, and the European-Japanese earth observation satellite EarthCARE. Within the first half-year of 2019 the integration work for JUICE, a mission to the icy moons of Jupiter (starting in 2022) is set to begin, thus meaning that the ITC in Friedrichshafen will contribute massively to the development of European space travel.
Government Supports Venture
“Airbus’ significant investment in this building also represents an investment in the future – both for the Airbus site at Lake Constance and for Baden-Wuerttemberg as an aerospace location”, said Baden-Wuerttemberg’s Minister-President, Winfried Kretschmann. “When it comes to space technology, we are now a step ahead of the rest of Germany – in terms of science and research, development and technology, and enthusiasm for the aerospace industry.”
“Thanks to the new satellite hub, production at Airbus’ Friedrichshafen site is optimally positioned in terms of both quality and quantity compared to our competitors”, added Nicolas Chamussy, Head of Airbus Space Systems.
The Minister President of Bavaria, Dr Markus Söder, visited the Airbus site in Ottobrunn and emphasised the importance of aerospace for Bavaria and Germany.
To mark the beginning of the building of the Industry 4.0 factory in Ottobrunn, the Minister President of Bavaria, Dr Markus Söder, has visited the Airbus site. This factory of the future enables the automatisation and digitalisation of production of solar arrays for satellites. This includes science satellites like Europa Clipper or Juice as well as numerous satellite constellations.
With approximately 2,500 employees, Ottobrunn is one of the most important Airbus sites and a crucial economic factor in the region. A broad range of components are manufactured at the Airbus plant, including solar generators (solar panels), which produce electric energy for manned and unmanned space systems. Airbus is now investing 15 million Euros in the site. Processing time and costs will be halved through new automated assembly lines. This strengthens the competitiveness of Airbus and the whole region.
Minister President Dr Markus Söder is certain that the site is best-equipped for the times ahead: “Airbus knows: technology is the futue.”
Recently there have been reports that aircraft have occasionally dumped kerosene before landing. There is no such dumping of fuel in regular flight operations.
Fuel dumping is subject to a mandatory internationally recognised standard procedure to be used exclusively for air traffic safety. This procedure is only used in rare emergency situations. According to the German Aviation Association (BDL), this happened on average only 21 times a year between 2010 and 2017, so it is extremely rare.
The need for this measure may arise from the fact that the take-off weight of large passenger aircraft may exceed the maximum permissible landing weight, depending on the amount of fuel used. If this difference between the maximum take-off weight and the maximum permissible landing weight is particularly large, the aircraft must be able to dump fuel for safety reasons. Therefore, only long range aircraft such as the A350 or A380 have a fuel dump mechanism. For smaller aircraft, such as those in the A320 family, this is not necessary because they are lighter. When designing these systems, the aircraft manufacturers strictly abide by the requirements from certification authorities such as EASA in Europe.
Dumping means that an aircraft can land safely during a medical emergency, for example, where every second counts. Other factors also play a role in the decision to land, such as aircraft design, runway length and current weather conditions. As a general rule, no aircraft operator gains from dumping valuable fuel for no reason and without there being an emergency. Such a measure would not be cost effective either.
The implementation of such an emergency measure is done in consultation with the air traffic control unit in charge, such as German Air Traffic Control (DFS), and only at a minimum flight altitude in an airspace with low air traffic density over uninhabited areas. In addition, the amount of kerosene dumped is strictly limited.
Further information can be found on the German website of the BDL: https://www.bdl.aero/de/veroffentlichungen/luftfahrt-aktuell/luftfahrt-aktuell-15/#
Dr. Peter Tschentscher has visited the Airbus plant in Hamburg and highlighted the importance of the site during this inaugural visit.
Every sixth aircraft in the world is delivered by Airbus in Hamburg. With more than 300 companies and over 42,000 employees, the Hanseatic City of Hamburg is the third largest site of the civil aviation industry in the world. The opening of the fourth assembly line for the A320 family last June was an important step on the way to the factory of the future. It reinforces one of the most important aerospace locations of the country, which will be able to produce an additional 10 aircraft per month in the future.
During his inaugural visit, the First Mayor highlighted the importance of the aviation industry in Hamburg. “The targeted networking of science and economy at the site makes Hamburg the Silicon Valley of aviation in Europe,” said Dr. Tschentscher.
Germany and its European partners – especially France – are facing important strategic decisions regarding their air forces. The countries have begun to flesh out procurement-related observations and to define requirements for future systems for air superiority. The development of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) will secure European sovereignty and technological leadership in air defence for decades to come. It is now time to chart the political course which will ensure the success of the project.
The System of Systems
FCAS is far more than an aircraft. It is considered to be a “system of systems” that coordinates a wide range of resources which work together intelligently: a next-generation fighter jet, medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles, existing aircraft models and future cruise missiles and swarms of drones. In a larger deployment scenario, the system can also be integrated with mission aircraft, satellites, NATO systems and land and naval combat systems. It is due to enter operation alongside the current-generation Eurofighter and Rafale fighter jets from 2040, and will ultimately replace these altogether. The involvement of other European defence companies and countries will be considered.
A boost for advanced technology
As the most important European defence policy project, FCAS will give Europe the capacity to continue to act autonomously in the future, while at the same time strengthening its political and military ties. What’s more, the ambitious development of such advanced technologies for FCAS can give European industry a much-needed boost, which experience shows will also be strongly reflected in the civil sector. It is therefore expected that FCAS will play a decisive role in shaping the industrial landscape of Germany and France over the next decades and that the countries’ competitiveness in advanced technologies will increase overall. Given the ambitious schedule, it is of crucial importance that Germany and France produce an initial joint study before the end of the year.
Securing sovereign technological leadership
A contract for the overall development of FCAS should immediately follow the study and will include the construction of demonstrators to support development as of 2025. Due to the tight schedule, an immediate start must be made on working out a roadmap which sets out how best to meet the so far undefined requirements and timescales of the two countries.
At this year’s ILA Air Show, Airbus and Dassault announced their intention to collaborate on the development of the FCAS. “Airbus and Dassault Aviation have absolutely the right expertise to lead the FCAS project,” declared Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. An important milestone was reached on June 19, 2018 with the signature of a letter of intent between Germany and France. FCAS is not only an outstanding European industrial and defence project for the coming years, but also a key integrator which will contribute to establishing a common European safety and defence architecture.
A strong, unified NATO is of vital importance in today's geopolitical environment. The upcoming NATO Summit must therefore strengthen the cohesion of the transatlantic alliance. In parallel, we need to see closer defence cooperation within the EU.
The NATO Summit on 11-12th July 2018 comes at a time of strained transatlantic relations. This in itself illustrates how vital it is for the EU and NATO to work together towards common goals.
The aim: to break down transatlantic tensions
The 2018 NATO Summit should seek to boost NATO-EU cooperation and de-escalate current tensions. One contentious issue has been the defence budgets. European contributions to NATO missions and operations have increased over the last four years. The NATO Summit should recognise these achievements and at the same time encourage further steps towards ensuring that each country invests 2% of its economic power in defence, as per the jointly-agreed target.
A stronger EU means a stronger NATO
No one wins by threatening allies with a trade war. But these threats also underline the urgent need for closer cooperation in Europe. A strong EU and a strong NATO are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary: closer defence cooperation among EU member states would strengthen the transatlantic alliance.
Europe is beginning to heed this message. The EU recently proposed cooperative funding for specific defence expenditure – for the first time in history. Moreover, nine EU nations have already formalised a plan to create a European military intervention force. The EU now needs to follow through on these historic announcements.
Future sustainability thanks to new technologies
A strong, unified NATO is essential in today's geopolitical environment. The members must do everything they can to preserve the alliance from any threat. Furthermore, Europe needs to increase the mobility of its armed forces, deepen cross-border collaboration and provide adequate funding. By doing this, the EU and NATO can together create a more efficient and more effective defence network, for the benefit of all member states.
Futureproofing the alliance also means adopting the newest technologies. The A400M has already contributed significantly to improving Europe's air transport capabilities, and beyond this, Airbus’ ambition is to expand its cooperation with NATO on projects involving digitalisation, artificial intelligence and other "disruptive" technologies.
In view of the geopolitical challenges it faces, NATO needs strong partners, adequate resources and close cooperation from its European members. The upcoming summit provides the best opportunity to address these urgent, strategic questions. It must not be wasted.
Production line and production of over 60 aircraft will become possible beginning in 2019
Every sixth passenger aircraft worldwide is produced by Airbus in Germany. Now production is being expanded by opening a fourth production line for the A320 family in Hamburg.
Towards the "factory of the future"
The new high-tech production facility sets standards in digitalisation, automation and efficiency. Thanks to numerous innovative developments and the implementation of important elements of Industry 4.0 from the middle of 2019, up to 10 aircraft per month can be assembled in the "Factory of the Future." Airbus lays the foundation for the digital future in production. These investments in Germany will enable Airbus to produce up to 60 aircraft from the bestselling A320 from next year, thus meeting the strong demand.
The world of politics pays tribute to digital manufacturing
Digitalisation makes production more efficient, protects resources and lightens the workload for employees. So, Airbus is taking a step forward in being internationally competitive and securing highly skilled jobs. Thomas Jarzombek, the German Federal Government Coordinator for Aerospace, and Frank Hoch, Senator for Economics, Transport and Innovation of the City of Hamburg spoke at the opening. Together with Guillaume Faury, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, and 500 guests of honour, they attended the ceremonial launch. "With the inauguration of our latest and most advanced production line for the A320 family, we are opening a new chapter in efficient digital aircraft manufacturing," said Guillaume Faury. In addition to the new production line, Airbus has also opened an enlarged and modernised delivery centre for the A320 family in Hamburg.
The A320 family is the world's most successful Single Aisle programme with over 14,000 orders and more than 8,100 aircraft delivered so far. The aircraft of the new A320neo family fly with the latest technology at least 15 percent more economically from the day of their delivery. With over 6,000 orders from 100 customers, it has captured a market share of almost 60 percent. The production of the A320 family is distributed around the world, with Airbus manufacturing facilities in Europe, China and the US.
Airbus as a pioneer in Industry 4.0
The digitalisation of production and a more flexible industrial organisation are the guarantors of Industry 4.0. The fourth production line sets new standards in both areas and thus strengthens competitiveness so that in the future Germany can continue to play a central role in the global aerospace industry.
The EU will shortly be finalising its budget for the years from 2021 to 2027, a major course of action for Europe's future. The EU must seize this opportunity so as not to lose the increasingly fierce global competition for technological and economic leadership.
Europe must become more innovative to remain globally competitive. The basis for this is education as well as research and development. The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) is therefore not only a budgetary instrument, but an expression of political priorities. Now is the time to set an example for Europe with the MFF. At the negotiations in Brussels, the German Federal Government must work to encourage more investments in research and innovation.
Cohesion funds and agricultural subsidies still account for two thirds of the EU budget. In order to ensure competitiveness, the EU should invest much more in the future of Europe. This means prioritising research and innovation in future EU budgets. Only in this way can technology leadership and highly qualified jobs be preserved in times of global upheaval.
Preserve capacity to act globally
Europe stands between the traditional economic power that is the USA and China, which has evolved from being an imitator to an innovator. With regard to a potential trade dispute with the US, Europe should focus on its own strengths. In China, a quiet educational revolution is underway, allowing the country to achieve technological dominance. Europe must prepare for these challenges.
Europe needs flagship projects in artificial intelligence, digitalisation, mobility and aerospace to promote innovative technologies. Therefore, the EU needs to be innovative in developing the research and innovation sector. Only this way can Europe grow intelligently and interactively.
Double the research budget
The idea of the "Innovation Union" needs sufficient investment to not just remain a political banner. In concrete terms, the EU's research framework programme budget should be doubled to 160 billion euros for it not to be left behind in pioneering innovations.
Europe does not have to be in the shadow of the US and China. The EU is still the biggest trading community worldwide. If Europe gets on the right course now, it can maintain its position as a technology leader and secure hundreds of thousands of highly qualified jobs.
More about this topic can be found in a recent guest article on the EU budget by Airbus CEO Tom Enders in Politico.
The ILA Berlin stands for Innovation and Leadership in Aerospace. As a global leader in innovation, Airbus will present the latest technologies that will significantly contribute to European competitiveness, defence, and reductions in emissions and noise over the coming years in the German capital from April 25-29.
Given the political and strategic importance of the industry, high-profile political visitors are expected to be in attendance. The ILA Berlin 2018 will be officially opened by Chancellor Angela Merkel. As part of her tour, the Chancellor will see the innovations and latest technologies in the aerospace industry. She will be accompanied by the German Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Andreas Scheuer. The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Peter Altmaier, and Thomas Jarzombek, who has just been appointed Federal Government Coordinator for Aerospace, will also visit the ILA.
High-calibre guests are also expected from France, the partner country of ILA Berlin 2018. The joint arrival of Defence Ministers Ursula von der Leyen and Florence Parly in an A400M will paint an impressive image of the Franco-German partnership.
Airbus is once again the largest single commercial exhibitor this year. Airbus will be showcasing numerous breakthrough innovations in the air and on the ground for its 150,000 visitors:
Independence due to the Ariane 6 - The 18-metre-high 1:4 scale model of the launcher cannot be missed in the ILA Space Pavilion. The launcher is manufactured by a European collaboration. There are also two original Ariane 5 engines. The Ariane programme ensures Europe has independent access to space.
Reducing emissions with the A340 BLADE - The Airbus test aircraft (Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe) significantly reduces air resistance with revolutionary laminar wings. The wings were rebuilt in the framework of the European research project Clean Sky, to analyse new aerodynamic concepts for so-called laminar flow. This way, aircraft emissions and consumption in the future can be reduced.
Progress with CityAirbus - A model of the battery-powered electric aircraft will be exhibited for the passenger transport of the future. It can start and land vertically and should also fly autonomously in a later version. The CityAirbus is designed to take up to four people to their destination, above the mega-city traffic jams, in a fast, affordable and environmentally friendly way. This can significantly relieve existing traffic systems. The maiden flight is scheduled for 2019.
Solar Energy with Zephyr - The unmanned solar drone with a wingspan of 25 metres, which can remain in the sky for weeks as an altitude glider, could become an alternative to commercial satellites.
Save lives with Racer - The future high-speed helicopter. A model of the helicopter will be exhibited at the European Clean Sky Programme stand. An innovative box-wing design, guaranteeing optimal aerodynamic efficiency, ensures buoyancy in straight-line flight and shields passengers from the lateral rotors used as propulsion propellers. Racer paves the way for new uses, such as medical emergencies and rescue operations.
How do digital technologies change aviation? What do the mobility concepts of the future look like? And how does Europe have to position itself to be optimally prepared for defence policy challenges? Airbus discussed this and other issues with high-ranking guests from politics, business and research at the Airbus Berlin Reception on March 20, 2018.
Airbus CEO Tom Enders welcomed the guests with an insight into the current topics of aerospace. At the top of the list is the current trade dispute between the US and the EU. "What I feel is missing so far is a big hit from the European side," says Enders. He called digitisation the most important topic of the future. A technological race has broken out. "We’re already well on the way here, but it will be important for politics to create the right framework conditions." With regard to Franco-German relations, Enders said: "We are ready to fight for the integration of Europe day and night."
Representing the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Bareiß addressed the guests with a speech in which he emphasised the strategic importance of the industry for Germany and Europe. "As a ministry, we support industry like hardly any other," said Bareiß. "And we will work hard to ensure that Airbus can continue to play its important role in the future."
Moreover, the event provided a wonderful setting to thank the former German Federal Minister and Federal Government Coordinator for Aerospace, Brigitte Zypries, for her commitment over recent years. Zypries paid tribute to the Airbus’ efforts. "I'd like to thank Airbus for taking the issue of CSR seriously," said Zypries.
With the event, Airbus once again underscored the importance of Germany as a location for the aerospace industry. As the industry's largest employer and a driving force in terms of innovation, Airbus makes a special contribution.
The Airbus Berlin Reception put the next generation in the spotlight. In this vein, Airbus presented a donation of 10,000 euros to the Germany national mentoring program "ROCK YOUR LIFE". The program trains students to become mentors who volunteer to help students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, economically disadvantaged backgrounds or marginalised family backgrounds to choose a job or a high school, and thus improve their educational opportunities.
The evening welcomed 20 young ambassadors. The young ambassadors, all junior staff members of the Airbus family, welcomed the guests, steered the evening programme and presented the "ROCK YOUR LIFE" CSR programme.