European Airbus rolled out the first A400M military transport aircraft on June 26 from its assembly line in Seville, Spain. Spanish King Juan Carlos I presided over the ceremony to mark the event. “This event demonstrates our joint determination to show that EADS can design and manufacture a long-range military transport aircraft which will set new standards in airlift and open further potential in international markets,” said Louis Gallois, CEO of Airbus parent EADS in a company statement. Indeed Airbus hopes to break into the market for medium and larger sized airlifters now dominated by Lockheed Martin C-130s and Boeing C-17s. The program has had its share of challenges. In fact, Reuters news wire service reported June 26 that the A400M’s first flight, already delayed by months, has been pushed back even further until the fall. Launched in 2003, the A400M program has 192 aircraft on order for nine customers (initial participants Belgium, Britain, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, and Turkey, and follow-on orders from Malaysia and South Africa).
As the Air Force moves forward with its efforts to operationalize the concept of agile combat employment, leaders need to embrace an iterative approach that builds on itself, recognizing that ACE may never be fully complete, said Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.