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EADS Construcciones Aeronauticas Sociedad Anónima (CASA)

EADS Construcciones Aeronauticas Sociedad Anónima (CASA) is Spain’s largest aerospace company and is part of the European consortium EADS. Created through the merger of Aerospatiale Matra, CASA and Daimler Chrysler Aerospace, EADS is the third largest aerospace manufacturer in the world. CASA’s activities are in three categories: military transport aircraft (such as C-212, CN-235, C-295 and C-101), aeronautics, and space (Hispasat satellites). EADS CASA has industrial centers throughout Spain and in eight other countries, including the United States. The company exports to more than 50 countries, and is a world leader in light and medium-sized military transport aircraft.

EADS North America has selected a site in Arkansas that is now the center of industrial activity for the KC-330, which EADS North America is offering to the U.S. Air Force as a replacement for the KC-135 refueling fleet. The facility began operations in 2006 with the establishment of an aircraft-engineering center. EADS North America initiated the KC-3304 industrial site selection process with a Request for Information (RFI) to all 50 U.S. states in January 2005. More than 70 candidate locations from 32 states responded to the RFI.

EADS’ Military Transport Aircraft Division (MTA) designs, manufactures and commercializes light and medium sized transport aircraft, all with different versions. It is responsible for the CASA Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) which is used onboard coast guard aircraft for tactical marine reconnaissance, transformation of the Airbus military derivatives, avionics overhauls of transport aircraft and for development and manufacture of aero structures.

EADS CASA is the world leader in the light and medium-sized military transport aircraft market with the CASA C-212, CASA CN-235 and the CASA C-295. More than 100 operators around the world are flying more than 700 of these aircraft. EADS CASA is the only manufacturer covering the 3-to-9 ton market. Final assembly of all these aircraft is at the San Pablo facilities in Seville.

The Spanish Air Force was the first to employ the new CASA C-295, while the Polish Air Force has just ordered eight more of this aircraft to add to its fleet. In addition, the United Arab Emirates Navy selected the CASA C-295 ASW with the CASA FITS mission system for its maritime patrol aircraft program.

EADS has majority participation in the future A400M large military-transport aircraft. It has been designed to meet the needs of the eight European countries that contributed to the project and that have ordered a total of 196 units. The A400M is the most modern and competitive of the solutions for European tactical transport, logistical, humanitarian and peacekeeping needs. It will replace the C-130 Hercules and C-160 Transall aircraft currently in operation. Manufacturing and management of this program is handled by Airbus Military. The Military Transport Aircraft Division of EADS will manufacture the horizontal stabilizer and engine nacelles and do final assembly of all the aircraft at the San Pablo facilities in Seville.

MTA is responsible for the transformation of Airbus A310-300 and A330-200 platforms into the Combi/Cargo/Passenger configuration and into the Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). The Spanish Air Force purchased two VIP versions of the aircraft.

With four other companies, the Military Transport Aircraft Division was also part of the joint Air Tanker Project to offer the British Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA). Addressing a new policy on defense purchases, the FSTA is designed to replace the existing tankers flown by the Royal Air Force with wide-ranging air transport services and in-flight-refueling solutions provided by industry.

CASA is seeking U.S. firms involved in the following technology processes: avionics equipment, viper fiber placement systems, CNC (computerized numerical control) specialized machinery and software, contour tape-laying heads for composite tape-laying machines, spare parts and components, landing gear, engine and airframe parts for the F5, F18, P3 and C130 that CASA delivers to the Spanish Armed Forces, as well as other equipment related to composites.

Construcciones Aeronauticas S.A (CASA), was among the leaders of European aircraft manufacturers in international cooperation. In the earliest developments in the world of aeronautics, the first work for the newborn CASA was a licensed production for the Army Engineers Flying Corps of the Breguet XD, a French design which was used by the pioneers of flying in their Madrid-Mamla and Madrid-Guinea Coast routes. Later, another licensed product, the Dornier-Wall hydroplane “Plus Ultra,” manufactured for the Aeronautica Militar, was used for the first non-stop South Atlantic flight.

In a period of deep social instability in Spain, with most national entrepreneurs and investors seeking rapid profits, and without the industrial base required to support indigenous R&D, licensed production was the firm’s trademark between WW I and WW II. International isolationism and sluggish economic recovery after the war left little opportunity for industrial adventures other than the licensed production and the extension of service life for the CASA aircraft built under German license. Production during this period included the re-motoring of the Messerschrnitt ME-109 with the Rolls-Royce Merlin II engine, which, because it rotated in the opposite direction of the original Daimler-Benz, induced on the aircraft the most perfect inverted spins ever known.

President Eisenhower’s establishment of a base rights agreement with Spain in 1953 brought some hope for the declining industry in the form of a flood of defense work. The maintenance of the North American F-86 “Sabre” and the Douglas D03 and DC-4 transports began a new era for CASA. The technology and experience gained from working with the U.S. fostered the commitment to attempt the first autonomous Spanish design, the T-9 “Azor,” a twin-engine medium range transport aircraft with 45 seats and 160 knots cruise speed. This first Spanish effort was not a great success. This product was sold only to the Spanish Air Force; even the Spanish national airlines shifted to the Convair Metropolitan instead.

The end of the 1960s was the landmark for the firm's modern activities, for the licensed production of the Northrop F-5 “Freedom Fighter” allowed the technological take-off for the company’s most successful manufacturing processes, honeycomb and composite structures. At this same time, national designs were aimed at the international market, specifically as a low-cost alternative for financially weak buyers or for countries which were politically sensitive to dealing with the major suppliers. The successful production of 345 military and civilian C-212 “Aviocar” aircraft in different versions in a decade of world industry expansion was the first CASA entrant in a major sector of the international market. At the same time, however, the Spanish Air Force bought the De Havilland DHC-7 “Caribou” for the joint light assault role. This purchase reflected insufficient consideration during the design phase of the military requirements which might be served by the C-212.

Later, the CASA 101 “Aviojet,” a tandem seat, single jet engine, light trainer for the Spanish Air Force followed as a national design for export. With the new Spanish political situation following the death of Francisco Franco in 1975, and the recovery from the oil crisis of the mid-1970s, CASA was caught in a situation of overcapacity, which was aggravated by the nationalized condition of the firm. The increasing power of the labor unions also prevented the company from easily adjusting to the new situation. Management was left with the fear of quick expansion which was reflected in later backlogs and loss of potential business, which can only be accepted within nationalized companies. Consequently, CASA’s search for international involvement was similar to that of many of the rest of the world’s aircraft industries which suffered the same economic conditions. With over 10,000 people in five factories as of 1990, CASA was about the same size as the German firm Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke (VFW) and a tenth the size of Boeing. CASA was a company offering the market efficient, low-priced products, thanks to the labor intensive production processes combined with modern technological output.

By 1990 the company was involved in a whole host of cooperative ventures with other aerospace firms throughout the world. As a part of the order for 72 F-18A aircraft for the Spanish Air Force, McDonnell Douglas a greed to $1.8 billion in offsets to Spain’s aircraft industry. The components involved were leading edge flaps, horizontal stabilizers, leading edge extensions, speed brackets, rudders, center-line pylons, aft side panels, and dorsal covers. New technology testing procedures by water jet for aerodynamic surfaces were transferred as a result of the offsets, and they represented the most advanced of the firm’s processes.

Other offset agreements included the contract with France’s Dassault-Breguet for manufacturing outer wings for the Falcon-10 and center fuselages for the Mirage Fl aircraft. Offset agreements with the French government had historically been very successful, as the disequilibrium between both countries’ balance of payments promoted natural, non-monetary offsets.

As a result of a licensing agreement with the German firm, Messerschmiitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB), CASA completed the assembly of the BO-105 helicopters for the Spanish Army. In addition, CASA participated in the assembly of the German-Japanese BK-ll7. Because of the German legislative prohibition on exporting war materiel, CASA was licensed to assemble armed BO-105s for the government of Iraq. In a reciprocal agreement resulting from the licensed production of the light jet trainer C-101 in Chile, CASA also produced under license the Chilean “Pillan,” a substitute for the Beech Bonanza, for the Spanish Air Force.

CASA was a full member of Airbus Industries and manufactures horizontal tail surfaces, landing gear doors, and forward passenger doors for the A-300 and A-310 aircraft. CASA manufacturered glass fibre honeycomb components, including underwing fillets for McDonnell Douglas DC-10s and upper rudder segments for Boeing transports. Sikorsky and CASA signed an agreement for the co-production of major components for the Sikorsky S-70/UH-60 helicopter. The components involved were the tail cone, tail pylon and horizontal stabilizer, in addition to final assembly and testing. The agreement also allowed for the collaboration on future joint projects for civil and military helicopters, plus provisions for product support, research and development, and other future programs.

In its early search for expanded defense markets, CASA began a joint venture with the Indonesian firm Nurtanio in order to nominally co-develop, but in fact merely co-produce the C-212 with an eye on the Southeast Asian market. As follow-on programs, both firms shared in the licensed production of MMB-BO-105 and AS-332 “Super Puma” helicopters. After the change in the Indonesian name to IPTN, both industries formed a new company known as Airtech Industries which developed a new commercial/military transport designated CN-235. Design and production of the new aircraft was on a 50-50 basis: IPTN built the wing outer section, rear fuselage, and the complete tail; CASA produced the inner wing sections, forward fuselage,center wing and engine nacelles. The first CN-235 prototype flew in 1983, received the Spanish Aviation Authority type certification in 1986, and its FAA type certification in December 1986.

By the end of the Cold War the most significant program in which CASA was involved was the European Fighter Aircraft (EPA). Never before had the Spanish company attempted such an ambitious project. The largest commitment of funds and resources ever poured into a single aircraft reflected the company management’s determination to profit from the opportunity to develop a first-line fighter aircraft with the latest technology. This program involved four European countries, the United Kingdom,Italy, Spain, and Germany, with a workshare and funds commitment proportional to the intended number of aircraft to be purchased. The U.K. and Germany both with 250 aircraft shared 33 percent of the program; Italy with 165 aircraft had 21 percent; and Spain with 100 aircraft got 13 percent.

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Page last modified: 16-01-2013 19:01:21 ZULU