A software version mistake causing the crash of the A400M

A400MInterviewed this morning on France Inter, Fabrice Brégier, Director Executive of Airbus has acknowledged implicitly: it is a software problem that caused the fall of the Airbus A400M may 9 last in Seville. The version of the software loaded in the shield of the appliance, computers control of 3 of the 4 turboprops were clearly failing. These software resulted in a decrease of 4 engine power that pushed the crew to try an emergency landing which has saved 2 of the 6 crew members. A drama that highlights the leading role taken by the software in modern devices, be they military or civilian.

A bad version of the ECU software would have cut all the A400M engines

What Marwan Lahoud called Thursday in an interview with the Handelsblatt an error of installation as the cause of the crash of the Airbus 400 M MSN23 is actually a software error. The software loaded into the shield of this device designed for the Turkish air force seemed buggy. It was in any case that would be the cause of the sudden loss of power which sent the aircraft to the ground, killing 4 crew members. A400M-landingThe TP400 turboprop engine that equips the aircraft has been the cause of many delays in the A400M program. This which is the most powerful turboprop designed to the West is the result of a cooperation between Safran, Rolls-Royce, MTU and ITP German. Its control computer, the ECU is the work of Saffron for the hardware part and German MTU for the software part. The development of embedded software controlling this engine proved to be particularly difficult for MTU engineers.
In a report prepared by Senator Jean-Pierre Masseret and Jacques Gautier financial and industrial implementation of the A400 M program conditions, the authors point out that the FADEC for the A400M consists of two computers: the ECU and an another calculator, EPMU (Engine Protection and Monitoring Unit), dedicated to maintenance. The report states that this FADEC controls well obviously the engine, but also the regulation of the propeller and the nacelle equipment. Result, the code of the ECU reached 275,000 lines of code, compared to 90,000 lines for engines for the A380 or the Rafale
The investigation will have to explain how this code, obviously buggy, was able to pass the unit tests and integration tests and then ending up load in the ECU of a plane ready to take to the air.

Translation : Bing Translator

Sources :

“Fabrice Brégier, Airbus : “Dans 50 ans, il y aura des avions de transport électrique””, Interview On n’arrête pas l’Eco, France Inter, May 30, 2015

“Crash de l’A400M : Airbus reconnait “un sérieux problème de qualité””, La Tribune, May 28, 2015

“„Ernsthaftes Qualitätsproblem in der Endmontage“”, Handelsblatt, May 28, 2015

“Airbus demande de vérifier les systèmes de contrôle moteur”, Reuters, May 19, 2015

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