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EADS offers to build military, civilian aircraft in US

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jan 14, 2008
The European maker of Airbus planes said Monday it would build both military and civilian jets in the United States if it wins a massive US Air Force contract for refueling tanker planes.

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS) said it would put production of the Northrop Grumman KC-30 Tanker platform and the Airbus A330 civilian freighter aircraft at its Mobile, Alabama, aerospace center if it wins the contract.

Both the KC-30 Tanker and A330 commercial freighter are based on the Airbus A330 twin-engine jetliner.

Boeing Co., which is locked in a fierce battle with EADS and its US partner Northrop Grumman for the contract which could be worth up to 200 billion dollars, countered that its proposed aircraft based on a Boeing 767 was significantly more fuel efficient.

The US aerospace giant said a Boeing-funded study showed "a commercial 767 airplane is substantially more fuel efficient than the larger Airbus 330."

The study by Conklin & de Decker Aviation Information found the 767 fleet burned 24 percent less fuel than the A330s and would save approximately 14.6 billion dollars in fuel costs, the Chicago-based company said.

The US Air Force is expected to announce the winner in the first quarter of the year.

EADS said in a statement that the projects in the southern US state would result "in a robust final assembly line that ensures low risk, high efficiency and increased capacity for both military and commercial customers."

"This decision ... is dependent on US Air Force selection of Northrop Grumman's KC-30 Tanker as its new aerial refueling platform," the European company said.

Thomas Enders, Airbus president and chief executive, said the commitment by EADS and Airbus would be positive for the US aerospace market.

"For many years the production of large commercial aircraft has been a monopoly business in the US. An expanded Mobile final assembly facility would re-introduce competition back into the US commercial aircraft sector," Enders said at a speech in the Alabama city.

"Airbus will further gain by expanding our operations in the dollar-denominated US economy and through access to the superb workforce and supplier base that exists in the US."

EADS is struggling with costly delivery delays at Airbus, notably in the A380 superjumbo program, as well as the negative impact of a steadily appreciating euro against the dollar.

The loss-making unit is undergoing a vast industrial reorganization and cost-cutting drive that will also see the elimination of 10,000 jobs, mainly at Airbus sites in France and Germany.

Airbus and Boeing have been locked in a subsidy war at the World Trade Organization in recent years, with each company accusing the other of getting government aid.

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Purdue Wind Tunnel Key For Hypersonic Vehicles And Future Space Planes
West Lafayette IN (SPX) Jan 07, 2008
By using the only wind tunnel capable of running quietly at "hypersonic" speeds, Purdue University engineers have conducted experiments to yield critical data for designing an advanced aircraft called the X-51A, powered by engines called scramjets. The X-51A test vehicle is expected to evolve into missiles capable of flying at Mach 6 - or six times the speed of sound - enabling them to hit mobile "time-critical" targets.

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