Airbus A400M: Major defence contract for Rheinmetall
€72 million order for cargo hold electronics
Rheinmetall Defence Electronics (RDE) GmbH of Bremen has been awarded a contract to supply equipment for the new A400M military transport aircraft. Acting as subcontractor, the Bremen-based electronics specialist will be responsible for the complete Loadmaster Control System of the new aircraft throughout the entire period of production.
Under the currently envisaged order volume of 180 planes, the value of the order comes to approximately €72 million in 2005. RDE, a subsidiary of the Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall Group, expects the total value of this project – which is set to run 20-25 years – to be in the region of €200 million.
The order is of great strategic significance: after already scoring major successes in the field of civil aviation, the company is now taking part in a major military aircraft project.
Modern transport aircraft require a cargo hold system, which – both electrically and electronically – is easy to operate and completely reliable. The new Loadmaster Control System serves as the electronic brain of the entire cargo hold. It essentially consists of the following components: the Loadmaster workstation and control panel, as well as eight sidewall lock panels and a crew door panel.
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.
The introduction of the Airbus Military A400M will markedly improve the strategic airlift capacity of the armed forces of Germany and many other nations. Compared with the generation of transport aircraft it will replace, the A400M has twice the payload and twice the cargo space.
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