Rheinmetall Wins A400M Cargo Hold System
Rheinmetall Group subsidiary Rheinmetall Defence Electronics GmbH (RDE) of Bremen, Germany has been awarded a subcontract to supply the complete Loadmaster Control System for the new EADS Airbus A400M military transport aircraft throughout the entire period of production. Under the currently envisaged order volume of 180 planes, the value of the order comes to approximately EUR 72 million in 2005. RDE expects the total value of this project – which is set to run 20-25 years – to be in the region of EUR 200 million.
Modern transport aircraft require a cargo hold system that is easy to operate, and completely reliable both electrically and electronically.
The new Loadmaster Control System serves as the electronic brain of the entire cargo hold. It consists of the Loadmaster workstation and control panel, eight sidewall lock panels and a crew door panel, and the system for controlling them. On the ground, the system ensures safe, efficient loading of the plane. In the air, the Loadmaster enables effective control of numerous interface systems. For example, the Loadmaster and the other operating panels will permit cargo to be delivered while the aircraft is in flight – one of the main missions of the A400M.
In selecting Rheinmetall Defence Electronics to supply this system, Airbus will be working with a proven partner: RDE has already equipped numerous Airbus civil aircraft with advanced electronic cargo loading systems.
The current RDE-contract covers the 180 planes ordered by Germany, France, Spain, Great Britain, Turkey, Belgium and Luxembourg. With the exception of Britain, which already operates C-17s and stretched C-130Js, this will markedly improve their inter-theater airlift capacity.
Additional Readings & Sources
- Rheinmetall DeTec (July 27, 2005) – Airbus A400M: Major Defence Contract for Rheinmetall
- Aviation Today – Airbus A400M
- Canadian American Strategic Review – Airlifter Comparisons – Airbus Military A400M