Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why is Airbus Military is yet to make a mark?

Looks like Airbus Military is facing trouble again........... After UK and South Africa,its Germany`s latest  decision to cut its orders for Airbus A400M tactical transport aircraft by reselling 13 of its 50 aircraft on order to " save costs".The present cuts, as a part of Germany`s reduced defence spending strategy, have further cast doubts on the commercial  success of the highly publicized, over-budget program , which attempts to eclipse Lockheed Martin`s highly reliable and  C-130 and C-17 as the market leader in this area.

However, the larger point to note is Airbus Military`s virtual "struggle" to compete in the highly lucrative military aviation sector, which is dominated by its arch rival in the commercial arena- Boeing. It seems Airbus has not yet fully focused its energies in tapping the military market.A casual comparison of http://www.airbusmilitary.com (Airbus Military)  and http://www.boeing.com/bds/phantom_works/index.html (Boeing Phantom Works) will show the vast difference between the two.... Boeing`s range of dozens of aircraft to Airbus`s 4 planes , with some variants (I have not compared with Lockheed Martin since it specializes only in military aviation) which makes me wonder the reason for Airbus Military`s  inability to match its big brother Airbus Commercial`s market power and product range, despite being one of the most respected names in the aviation industry.
The reason may be attributed to entirely financial  reasons, as well as the spending power of the EADS member nations ( France, Germany,Spain,UK,Italy etc. ). The United States pumps in billions of dollars annually into Boeing R & D centers , in addition to what the bosses at Boeing spend themselves in University partnerships and research.
On the other hand, Hardly anything can be said for the EU nations, which had suffered "massive" losses due to the cost escalation of the Airbus A400-M program ( talk about the billions the US had invested in numerous experimental aircraft before throwing the program down the drain :-)   ) . With European economy hardly going strong,  R & D funding can be a hard ball to catch for Airbus Military. The A400-M program has been seen as AM`s strongest response to critics who undermine its military capabilities, but with its orders dwindling and prices soaring, it seems the AM guys sure have some bad weather to navigate through.
Lets hope AM gives Boeing Phantom Works a run for its money... Aviation geeks would love to see a little more competition in the air :-)


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