Airbus’ made headlines during this week’s ILA Berlin with key developments spanning the company’s military, civil, air mobility and cybersecurity businesses – led by a landmark contract for Spain’s acquisition of 20 latest-generation Eurofighter combat aircraft.
ILA Berlin was the first significant European air show since 2019, Airbus giving the opportunity to expose how it leads the field in sustainable aerospace for a peaceful and safe planet. At the interior exhibits and flight demonstrations at the Berlin Expo Center Airport, it featured a wide variety of aircraft.
Spain’s order for a fleet of Eurofighters fitted with E-Scan radar to replace F-18s deployed by the Spanish Air Force from Gando Air Base on the Canary Islands covered the news from ILA Berlin. Deliveries of these new single- and twin-seat combat aircraft, which will start in 2026, will bring the Spanish Air Force’s total inventory to 90 Eurofighters, placing it among NATO allies with the most advanced fighter jet developed in Europe.
Initiatives, partnerships for sustainability and mobility
Six further announcements made at ILA Berlin highlighted Airbus’ efforts to promote the aviation industry’s objectives for aviation sustainability and enhanced air mobility. The company is launching to grow variety of initiatives and forming important alliances.
This includes Airbus’ support for the German Air Force’s start of upcoming flight tests utilizing A400M multipurpose airlifters powered by up to 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Looking further into the upcoming years, the objective is to make it possible for the German Air Force’s entire fleet of Airbus-built aircraft, from fighter jets to airlifters and VIP transports, to operate on SAF, which has proven alternative fuel that can reduce life-cycle CO2 emissions by up to 85% when it compared to conventional fuel. Airbus has started on a long-term path to achieve 100 percent SAF readiness and certification for the different countries operating A400Ms in addition to supporting such near-term initiatives at the national level.
A world’s first helicopter flight with sustainable aviation fuel
Another innovation revealed at ILA Berlin was the first helicopter flight ever made with both Safran Makila 2 engines powered entirely by SAF on an H225 rotorcraft. The trials are expected to retain on alternative fuel and engine architectures in other helicopter types with the goal of validating the usage of 100 percent SAF by 2030.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Airbus and the industrial gases and engineering company Linde to provide hydrogen infrastructure at airports throughout the world. As they evaluate the possibilities of Power-to-Liquid fuels, a type of SAF created from the synthetically manufactured liquid hydrocarbon through the conversion of renewable electricity, they will define and launch pilot projects at various airports starting in early 2023.
Driving the sustainable deployment of advanced air mobility solutions
Also at ILA Berlin, Airbus and Munich Airport International signed a (MoU) to start marketing turnkey solutions for cities and regions interested in building advanced air mobility (AAM) ecosystems globally. The successful integration of several AAM components, including Airbus’ City. Airbus NextGen(eVTOL) aircraft, requires good partnership between international and local stakeholders that combine important competences, including partners like Munich Airport.
In addition, Airbus announced a collaboration with KLK Motorsport and Modell- und Formenbau Blasius Gerg GmbH to design, create, and produce the rear structure for City Airbus NextGen. Utilizing each other’s capabilities in design engineering and manufacturing techniques, they will collaborate to create an ultra-lightweight rear fuselage based on premium composite components and solutions.
An A321LR delivery to the German armed forces
The first of two A321LR (Long Range) aircraft for the German armed forces was delivered during a ceremony at ILA Berlin. For flexible troop and passenger transport on short-, medium-, and long-haul routes as well as parliamentary flight operations, Lufthansa Technik AG upgraded it from the commercial version. The aircraft’s medical evacuation mission, which will expand its range of operations to cover the transport of sick, injured, and wounded passengers as a flying intensive care unit, was also prepared for by Lufthansa Technik.
Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus, said, “We have worked to ensure that the aircraft meets all expectations with our partner Lufthansa Technik. The A321LR not only flies longer trips but it also reduces CO2 emissions by 20% when compared to earlier aircraft and is approved to run on 50% sustainable aviation fuels, which can further reduce emissions
An innovation hub for cybersecurity and artificial intelligence
At ILA Berlin, Airbus signed a (MoU) with the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security, representing a major development in its strategy to continue enhancing its cybersecurity capabilities and expertise. This arrangement will result in the establishment of a cybersecurity and reliable artificial intelligence centre in Saarland, Germany.
The “CISPA-Airbus Digital Innovation Hub” will begin operations in 2022 and based in the CISPA Innovation Campus. With the following three years, it plans to increase its operation to about 100 experts, eventually reaching more than 500 experts.