Now a related and rather public controversy has boiled over, thanks to a United Press International article by Theodore Gaillard. Gaillard’s piece cites testing and reliability issues with the missile, but it also goes a step further and argues that JASSM is the wrong concept. In response, his articles have provoked an official reply from Lockheed Martin that directly addresses his arguments.
EADS recently put out a release informing all of its Airbus A400M military transport customers that deliveries of the aircraft are now expected to start 6 months later than initially planned, with a risk of a further slippage of up to a half year. This pushes delivery of the first production aircraft back from 2009 to 2010 or early 2011, and delays all anticipated orders by up to 12 months. Current orders on the books include Germany (60), France (50), Spain (27), Britain (25), Turkey (10), South Africa (8), Belgium (7), Malaysia (4), Chile (3), and Luxembourg (1).
Key contributing factors in the A400M’s schedule slippage include slower than expected development of the plane’s 10,000 shp TP400-D6 turboprop engines from the EuroProp International consortium (Rolls-Royce, Snecma Moteurs, MTU Aero Engines and Industria deTurbopropulsores, plus Ratier-Figeac’s FH386 propellers), schedule overruns in systems development, and “a flight test program that differs significantly from that of commercial Airbus aircraft” [implied: and for which Airbus was no fully prepared]. The first test A400M is currently in production on the new final assembly line in Seville, Spain and is expected to make its first flight in summer 2008. Milestones reached to date include inauguration of the Aircraft Test Facility, and presentation of a fully functional A400M Systems Simulator demonstration at the end of July 2007.
Odebrecht Construction Inc. in New Orleans, LA received a $41.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a hurricane protection levee in New Orleans, Loisiana. Work is expected to be complete by Oct. 30, 2008. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web on Sept 5/07, and 5 bids were received by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans, LA (W912P8-08-C-0007).
Aptly-named mall business qualifier Sprung Inc. in West Jordan, UT won an $8.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for sprung structures to be used in support of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle Program. You might think this means vehicle springs, or something like that. No – these are a form of relocatable, semi-rigid “instant buildings”. The firm has come a long way since 1887, when it made chuck wagon covers & tepees… OK, maybe it hasn’t. Still, a product that has been used as a Utah church can surely help a program whose vehicles may be one of the few places one finds more fervent prayer.
Work will be performed in Iraq, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 25, 2007. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web on Oct. 13, 2007, and 8 bids were received by the Joint Contracting Command-Iraq/Afghanistan jn Baghdad, Iraq (W91GDW-08-M-0003).