Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

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SKB
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Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

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Introduction
The Airbus A400M Atlas is a multi-national four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. It was designed by Airbus Military (merged in January 2014 to Airbus Defence and Space) as a tactical air lifter with strategic capabilities to replace older transport aircraft, such as the Transall C-160 and the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules. As well as transport, the A400M can perform electronic surveillance and aerial refuelling.

The A400M's maiden flight, originally planned for 2008, took place on 11 December 2009 from Seville, Spain. Between 2009 and 2010, the A400M faced cancellation as a result of development program delays and cost overruns; however, the customer nations chose to maintain their support of the project. A total of 174 A400M aircraft have been ordered by eight nations as of July 2011. In March 2013, the A400M received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification. The first aircraft was delivered to the French Air Force in August 2013.

Origins
The project began as the Future International Military Airlifter (FIMA) group, set up in 1982 by Aérospatiale, British Aerospace (BAe), Lockheed, and Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) to develop a replacement for the C-130 Hercules and Transall C-160. Varying requirements and the complications of international politics caused slow progress. In 1989 Lockheed left the grouping and went on to develop an upgraded Hercules, the C-130J Super Hercules. With the addition of Alenia of Italy and CASA of Spain the FIMA group became Euroflag.

The A400M is positioned as an intermediate size between the Lockheed C-130 and the Boeing C-17. Originally the SNECMA M138 turboprop (based on the M88 core) was selected to power the A400M. Airbus Military issued a new request for proposal (RFP) in April 2002, after which Pratt & Whitney Canada with the PW180 and Europrop International answered; the latter was a new design. In May 2003, Airbus Military selected the Europrop TP400-D6, reportedly due to political interference over the PW180 engine.

The original partner nations were France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Belgium, and Luxembourg. These nations decided to charge the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) with the management of the acquisition of the A400M. Following the withdrawal of Italy and revision of procurement totals the revised requirement was for 180 aircraft, with first flight in 2008 and first delivery in 2009. On 28 April 2005, South Africa joined the partnership programme with the state-owned Denel Saab Aerostructures receiving a contract for fuselage components.

Delays and problems
On 9 January 2009, EADS announced that the first delivery was postponed until at least 2012, and indicated that it wanted to renegotiate "certain technical characteristics". EADS maintained the first deliveries would begin three years after the A400M's first flight. On 12 January 2009, the German newspaper Financial Times Deutschland reported that the A400M was overweight by 12 tons and may not achieve a critical performance requirement, the ability to airlift 32 tons; sources told FTD at the time that the aircraft could only lift 29 tons, which is insufficient to carry a modern armored infantry fighting vehicle, like the Puma. In response to the FTD report, the chief of the German Air Force stated: "That is a disastrous development," and could delay deliveries to the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) until 2014. The Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the Luftwaffe is delayed at least until 2017, leading to political planning of potential alternatives such as a higher integration of European airlift capabilities.

On 29 March 2009, Airbus CEO Thomas Enders told Der Spiegel magazine that the program might need to be abandoned without changes. The OCCAR reminded the participating countries that they can terminate the contract before 31 March 2009. On 3 April 2009 the South African Air Force announced that it would start considering alternatives to the A400M due to postponed production and increased cost. On 5 November 2009, South Africa announced it was cancelling the order citing increased cost and delivery delays. On 12 June, The New York Times reported that Germany and France had delayed the decision whether or not to cancel their orders for another six months, while the UK still planned to decide at the end of June. The NYT also quoted a report to the French Senate from February 2009, according to which "the A400M is €5 billion over budget, 3 to 4 years behind schedule, [...] aerospace experts estimate it is also costing Airbus between €1 billion and €1.5 billion a year."

The shortage of military transports caused by the A400M delay led the UK to lease, and subsequently purchase, eight C-17s. France and Germany have also been considering other aircraft, as all three countries need to support their operations in Afghanistan. The ADS Group has warned that shifting the British orders to American aircraft for the short term budget savings would cost much more over time in missed civil and military aerospace business, because they say that the technologies used in the A400M would be a bridge to the next generation of civilian aircraft. In June 2009, Lockheed Martin said that both United Kingdom and France had asked for technical details on the C-130J as an alternative to the A400M.

In 2009, Airbus acknowledged that the program was expected to lose at least €2.4 billion and cannot break even without sales outside NATO countries. A PricewaterhouseCoopers audit of the program projected that it would run €11.2 billion over budget without corrective measures, which would result in an overrun of €7.6 billion. On 24 July 2009, the seven European nations announced that they would continue with the A400M program, and form a joint procurement agency to renegotiate the contract with EADS. On 9 December 2009, the Financial Times reported that Airbus requested an additional €5 billion subsidy for the project. On 5 January 2010, Airbus repeated that the A400M may be scrapped, costing Airbus €5.7 billion unless €5.3 billion was added by partner governments. On 11 January 2010, Tom Enders, Airbus chief executive, stated that he was prepared to cancel A400M production if European governments did not provide more funding; delays had already increased its budget by 25%.

On 5 November 2010, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey finalised the contract and agreed to lend Airbus Military €1.5 billion. The program was then at least three years behind schedule. The UK reduced its order from 25 to 22 aircraft and Germany from 60 to 53, decreasing the total order from 180 to 170. In 2013 France's budget for 50 aircraft was €8.9bn (~US$11.7bn) at a unit cost of €152.4m (~US$200m), or €178m (~US$235m) including development costs. The 2013 French White Paper on Defence and National Security cut their requirement for tactical transport aircraft from 70 to 50, including aircraft for use by special forces, France envisaged their A400M order will be cut to 35-40 in the 2014-19 budget.

In May 2015 it emerged that the secretaries of state of the A400M member countries had established a Program Monitoring Team (PMT) to analyse and judge Airbus plans to bring the A400M project back on track, according to a German defence ministry letter sent to members of parliament. As well as monitoring progress in development and production, the PMT schedules on-site visits to the final-assembly line in Seville, Spain, and other A400M-production facilities. The first conclusions on program recovery made by the PMT include the observation that Airbus still does not have an integrated approach to production, development and retrofits, but treats these as separate programs.

Flight testing
Before the first flight, the engine's required airborne test time was gained using a C-130 testbed aircraft. The first flight of the C-130 test bed occurred on 17 December 2008. The A400M's maiden flight was carried out from Seville on 11 December 2009. The first A400M had flown 39 hours of test flights as of 9 March 2010. The second A400M completed its first flight on 8 April 2010. The third A400M took to the air in July 2010. With this flight the three A400Ms have taken more than 100 flights, totaling 400 hours.

In July 2010, the A400M passed a key test: ultimate-load testing of the wing. On 28 October 2010, Airbus Military announced that it was about to start refuelling and air-drop tests. By October 2010 the A400M had flown 672 hours of the 2,700 hours expected to reach certification. Cold weather testing is to be performed in either Canada or Sweden. In November 2010, the first paratroop jumps were performed from the A400M. Notably Airbus CEO Tom Enders and the A400M project manager Bruno Delannoy were among the group of skydivers in the test. In December 2010, the A400M fleet's flight time has risen to 965 hours. A fourth A400M joined the test fleet with its first flight of over five hours on 20 December 2010.

In late 2010, simulated icing tests were performed on the MSN1 flight test aircraft using devices installed on the leading edges of the wing. These revealed an aerodynamic issue causing buffeting of the horizontal tail, necessitating a six-week retrofit to install anti-icing equipment fed with engine bleed air; production aircraft are to be similarly fitted. Winter tests were done in Kiruna, Sweden during February 2011.

By April 2011, a total of 1,400 flight hours over 450 flights had been achieved. In May 2011 the A400M's EPI TP400-D6 engine received certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). In May 2011, the A400M fleet had totaled 1,600 hours over 500 flights; by September 2011, the total increased to 2,100 hours and 684 flights.

Due to a gearbox problem, an A400M was shown on static display instead of a flight demonstration at the 2011 Paris Air Show. By October 2011, the total flight hours had reached 2,380 over 784 flights. A minor problem that occurred during a test for landing on a wet runway led to reconstruction of parts of the main landing gear door which has been damaged by water infiltration.

High altitude start and landing tests were performed at La Paz at 4,061.5 m (13,325 ft) and Cochabamba at 2,548 m (8,360 feet) in Bolivia in March 2012.

The MSN2 flight test aircraft was due to spend the week of 22 May 2012 conducting unpaved runway trials on a grass strip at Cottbus-Drewitz Airport in Germany. Testing was cut short on 23 May, when, during a rejected take off test, the left side main wheels broke through the runway surface. Airbus Military stated that it found the behaviour of the aircraft was "excellent". The undamaged aircraft returned to Toulouse.

On 14 March 2013, the A400M received its Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency.

On 9 May 2015, an A400M crashed in Seville on its first production test flight. The German, Malaysian, Turkish and UK air forces suspended flights of its aircraft while the accident was investigated. Airbus is examining whether the crash was caused by new management software for the engine-fuel supply, designed to trim the fuel tanks to permit the aircraft to fly certain military manoeuvres, and have issued an update instructing operators to inspect all Engine Control Units (ECUs).

Production and delivery
Assembly of the first A400M began at the Seville plant of EADS Spain in early 2007. Major assemblies built at other facilities abroad were brought to the Seville facility by Airbus Beluga transporters. In February 2008, four Europrop TP400-D6 flight test engines were delivered for the first A400M. Static structural testing of an A400M test airframe began on 12 March 2008 in Spain. By 2010, Airbus planned to manufacture thirty aircraft per year.

The first flight, originally scheduled for the first quarter of 2008, was postponed due to program delays, schedule adjustments and financial pressures. EADS announced in January 2008 that continued development problems with the engines had resulted in a delay to the second quarter of 2008 before the first engine test flights on a C-130 testbed aircraft. The first flight of the aircraft, previously scheduled for July 2008, had again been postponed. Civil certification under European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) CS-25 will be followed later by certification for military purposes. The A400M was "rolled out" in Seville on 26 June 2008 at an event presided by King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

On 12 January 2011, serial production of the A400M formally commenced. On 1 August 2013, delivery of the first aircraft to the French Air Force, it was formally handed over during a ceremony on 30 September 2013. On 9 August 2013, the first Turkish A400M conducted its maiden flight from Seville, and in March 2015 Malaysia got its first A400M.

Design
The Airbus A400M increases the airlift capacity and range compared with the aircraft it was originally set to replace, the older versions of the Hercules and Transall. Cargo capacity is expected to double over existing aircraft, both in payload and volume, and range is increased substantially as well. The cargo box is 17.71 m long excluding ramp, 4.00 m wide, and 3.85 m high (or 4.00 m aft of the wing).

The A400M operates in many configurations including cargo transport, troop transport, and medical evacuation. The aircraft is intended for use on short, soft landing strips and for long-range, cargo transport flights.

It features a fly-by-wire flight control system with sidestick controllers and flight envelope protection. Like other Airbus aircraft, the A400M has a full glass cockpit. Most of the aircraft systems are loosely based on those of the A380, but modified for the military mission. The hydraulic system has to two 3,000-psi channels powering the primary and secondary flight-control actuators, landing gear, wheel brakes, cargo door and optional hose-and-drogue refueling system. As with the A380, there is no third hydraulic system. Instead, there are two electrical systems; one is a set of dual-channel electrically powered hydraulic actuators, the other an array of electrically/hydraulically powered hybrid actuators. The dissimilar redundancy provides more protection against battle damage.

The A400M's wings are primarily carbon fibre reinforced plastic. The eight-bladed Scimitar propeller is also made from a woven composite material. The aircraft is powered by four Europrop TP400-D6 engines rated at 8,250 kW (11,000 hp) each. The TP400-D6 engine is to be the most powerful turboprop engine in the West to enter operational use.

The pair of propellers on each wing of the A400M turn in opposite directions, with the tips of the propellers advancing from above towards the midpoint between the two engines. This is in contrast to the overwhelming majority of multi-engine propeller driven aircraft where all propellers turn in the same direction.[citation needed] The counter-rotation is achieved by the use of a gearbox fitted to two of the engines, and only the propeller turns the opposite direction; all four engines are identical and turn in the same direction. This eliminates the need to have two different "handed" engines on stock for the same aircraft, simplifying maintenance and supply costs. This configuration, dubbed DBE (Down Between Engines), allows the aircraft to produce more lift and lessens the torque and prop wash on each wing. It also reduces yaw in the event of an outboard engine failure.

A forward-looking infrared enhanced vision system (EVS) camera provides an enhanced terrain view in low-visibility conditions. The EVS imagery is displayed on the HUD for low altitude flying, demonstrating its value for flying tactical missions at night or in clouds. EADS and Thales provides the new Multi-Colour Infrared Alerting Sensor (MIRAS) missile warning sensor for the A400M.

The A400M has a removable refuelling probe mounted above the cockpit to allow the aircraft to receive fuel from drogue equipped tankers. Optionally, the receiving probe can be replaced with a fuselage mounted UARRSI receptacle for receiving fuel from boom equipped tankers. The aircraft can also act as a tanker when fitted with two wing mounted hose and drogue under-wing refuelling pods or a centre-line Hose and Drum unit.

The A400M features deployable baffles in front of the rear side doors, intended to give paratroops time to get clear of the aircraft before they are hit by the slipstream.

Operational history
The French Air Force used the A400M on its first operational mission, a flight to Mali, on 29 December 2013.

British Orders
Originally ordering 25, the RAF is now expected to receive "at least 22" A400M's.

Accidents
The first crash of an A400M occurred on 9 May 2015, when aircraft MSN23, on its first test flight crashed shortly after take-off from San Pablo Airport in Seville, Spain, killing four Spanish Airbus crew members and seriously injuring two others. Once airborne, the crew had contacted air traffic controllers about a technical failure, and collided with an electricity pylon while attempting an emergency landing. "...one of the surviving aircrew has told investigators that the aircraft suffered multiple engine failures." The aircraft had been scheduled for delivery to the Turkish Air Force.


Crew: 3 or 4 (2 pilots, 3rd optional, 1 loadmaster)
Capacity:
37,000 kg (81,600 lb)
116 fully equipped troops / paratroops,
up to 66 stretchers accompanied by 25 medical personnel
Cargo compartment: width 4.00 m x height 3.85 m x length 17.71 m (without ramp 5.40 m)
Length: 45.1 m (148 ft 0 in)
Wingspan: 42.4 m (139 ft 1 in)
Height: 14.7 m (48 ft 3 in)
Wing area: 225.1 m2 (2,423 sq ft)
Empty weight: 76,500 kg (168,654 lb) ; operating weight
Gross weight: 120,000 kg (264,555 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 141,000 kg (310,852 lb)
Fuel capacity: 50,500 kg (111,330 lb) internal fuel
Max landing weight: 122,000 kg (268,963 lb)
Powerplant: 4 × Europrop TP400-D6[113] turboprop, 8,250 kW (11,060 hp) each
Propellers: 8-bladed Ratier-Figeac FH385 and FH386 variable pitch tractor propellers with feathering and reversing capability (FH385 anticlockwise on engines 2 and 4, FH386 clockwise on engines 1 and 3)[114], 5.3 m (17 ft 5 in) diameter
Cruising speed: 780 km/h (485 mph; 421 kn) (Mach 0.68–0.72)
Initial cruise altitude: at MTOW: 9,000 m (29,000 ft)
Range:
3,298 km (2,049 mi; 1,781 nmi) at max payload (long range cruise speed; reserves as per MIL-C-5011A)
Range at 30-tonne payload: 4,540 km (2,450 nmi)
Range at 20-tonne payload: 6,390 km (3,450 nmi)
Ferry range: 8,710 km (5,412 mi; 4,703 nmi)
Service ceiling: 11,300 m (37,073 ft)
Tactical takeoff distance: 980 m (3,215 ft) (aircraft weight 100 tonnes, soft field, ISA, sea level)
Tactical landing distance: 770 m (2,526 ft) (as above)
Turning radius: (ground): 28.6 m

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

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RAF receives delivery of its first Airbus A400M Atlas in November 2014

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

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Kudos for remaking this one. :)

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

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Daily Mail, 9th May 2015. 'RAF grounds new military transport planes after Spanish version crashes into field near Seville airport, killing up to five people" http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z3bZSiCDdB

Aviation Week, 29th May 2015. "Incorrectly Installed Engine Software Caused A400M Crash, Airbus Official Says" http://aviationweek.com/defense/incorre ... icial-says

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

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Statement Regarding Accident Information Transmission (AIT) to A400M Operators As Follow Up to AOT of 19 May
(Source: Airbus Defence and Space; issued June 3, 2015)
Airbus today said that the May 9 crash of an A400M transport was caused by three of its four TP-400 engines remaining stuck in “flight idle” mode because of badly installed control software. It says no other faults were discovered. (Wikimedia photo)
Airbus Defence and Space has sent an Accident Information Transmission (AIT) yesterday evening (2 June) as an update to the Alert Operator Transmission (AOT) of last 19 May to all operators of the A400M.

This AIT informs that the DFDR (digital flight data recorder) and CVR (cockpit voice recorder) readouts have been successfully completed and that preliminary analysis has been conducted by CITAAM with representatives from Airbus Defence and Space providing technical advice.

CITAAM confirmed that engines 1, 2 and 3 experienced power frozen after lift-off and did not respond to the crew’s attempts to control the power setting in the normal way, whilst engine 4 responded to throttle demands.

When the power levers were set to “flight idle” in an attempt to reduce power, the power reduced but then remained at “flight idle” on the three affected engines for the remainder of the flight despite attempts by the crew to regain power.

This statement is consistent with those three engines being affected by the issue addressed with our AOT.

Preliminary analyses have shown that all other aircraft systems performed normally and did not identify any other abnormalities throughout the flight. Accordingly, Airbus Defence and Space does not have any additional specific recommendations beyond those specified in our AOT of May 19th.

The investigation continues and further updates will be given if significant new information becomes available.

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articl ... crash.html

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

Post by shark bait »

Jane's reporting 3 atlas are sat in Seville, currently grounded, waiting for delivery to the RAF .

Soon we should have a nice little fleet!
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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

Post by sea_eagle »

Latest news on the reasons behind the recent crash. Doesn't explain any detail of who could delete the data but I would have thought it has to be in maintenance?

"...it has now emerged that Spanish investigators suspect files needed to interpret its engine readings had been deleted by mistake."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-33078767

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

Post by bobp »

@Shark Bait
Hey the article you refer too states that there is actually six RAF Transports awaiting delivery, three more having just rolled of the assembly line.

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

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bobp wrote:@Shark Bait
Hey the article you refer too states that there is actually six RAF Transports awaiting delivery, three more having just rolled of the assembly line.
Oh yes good spot, plus another that's due to be complete today, giving us 7 in Spain and 2 in the UK.

If they we're all flying we would have the biggest fleet now.
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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

Post by Pymes75 »

shark bait wrote:
bobp wrote:@Shark Bait
Hey the article you refer too states that there is actually six RAF Transports awaiting delivery, three more having just rolled of the assembly line.
Oh yes good spot, plus another that's due to be complete today, giving us 7 in Spain and 2 in the UK.

If they we're all flying we would have the biggest fleet now.
According to Flightglobal, ZM401 was delivered on 7th May (ready for testing) making it three in the UK - although it isn't part of the RAF fleet yet.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... ts-412105/

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

Post by serge750 »

Hi guys

Wouldn't it be awesome to get them all delivered to brize at the same time :D :D :D

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

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serge750 wrote:Hi guys

Wouldn't it be awesome to get them all delivered to brize at the same time :D :D :D
That would certainly make a good you tube video!
Airbus should just do that anyway. They need some good publicity for the type.
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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

Post by The Armchair Soldier »

Airbus Says U.S. to be Biggest Customer for A400M Military Jet
European plane maker Airbus believes the United States will be the biggest customer for its A400M military transport jet, despite a fatal crash involving one of them during a test flight last month.

"By the next decade at the latest, the U.S. armed forces will be the biggest customer for the aircraft," Airbus chief executive Tom Enders told the weekly magazine WirtschaftsWoche in an interview.

Despite its current technical problems, there was no other rival product at the moment, Enders argued.

Boeing's C-17 was larger and Lockheed Martin's C-130 was smaller.

"But a lot of countries don't want either extreme. For the next few years, there will only be one alternative, the A400M, which is also a lot more fuel-efficient and more versatile," he said.
Read More: http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/181857

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

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UK to resume flight training on A400

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... on-413705/

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

Post by downsizer »

Yep, up this afternoon.

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

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downsizer wrote:Yep, up this afternoon.
Lets hope it stays there !

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

Post by marktigger »

the A400 has missed a few boats even in europe wonder if the RAF will be the only operator to switch from the C130J to A400M

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

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Well who else in Europe is using the C130J? Italy were part of the A400M programme but dropped out. They have about 20 C130 variants. Spain and Belgium are replacing their C130J with A400M for a start.

I think the A400M, despite the development troubles (which all major programmes have), is looking to be a very successful (and European built) transport aircraft for the future. C130J are getting long in the tooth and doesn't have the necessary size to take the new larger military vehicles. Lockheed don't have a replacement for the C130J in design. Although the C130 will continue in service with many air forces for years.

Current Orders total about 170
France replacing 50 Transall C160 wanted 70 but ordered 50 A400M but probably will reduce to 35-40.
Germany replacing 60 Transall C160 ordered 60 reduced to 53 and want to sell 13 of those.
UK ordered 22 to replace its C130J fleet, cut from 25 (and bought 8 C17 which was very welcome)
Spain will replace their 12 C130J and ordered 27 which they reduced to 14 and want to sell the other 13.
Belgium will replace their 10 C130J and ordered 7 plus 1 for Luxembourg.
Turkey has ordered 10 and still about about 12 older C130 being upgraded.

This leaves 40+ potential European orders from:
Italy 20 C130J but no money in the pot.
Greece with 15 older C130H, which have been updated, but Greece has no money to buy anything.
Norway & Denmark with 4 C130J each
Netherlands with 4 C130H
Sweden with 8 C130H
Portugal with 6 C130H
Austria with 3 C130K

I can see France, Germany and Spain, all with approx 13 orders each they want to unload, talking to these countries. I would like to see the RAF get the 25 originally ordered so maybe we can get a deal for 3 from one of them. Would like to see 2 deployed to the Falklands replacing the C130J transport and a Voyager for refuelling. Both should be fitted with the refuelling capability. No need to waste a Voyager down there and 2 aircraft of the same type reduces logistics and increases resiliency.

Overseas Malaysia ordered 4 and has about 15 C130H in service so potential to order more. Australia already operate the Airbus A330 MRTT and have 12 C130J in service. Canada has a mix of about 21 C130H and 17 C130J in service. Of course the big opportunity is the US AirForce/Marines.

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Hat tip to the UK proc org, who, to protect the fleet numbers, took the expensive DAS off (and now it is back on, with the EP numbers balancing better over the 10-year horizon... is it now out in its 3rd edition).
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

Post by S M H »

The air to air refuelling of the Merlin and Other probe certified helicopters (U K none equipped) would allow the use of the Atlas installed fittings for refuelling helicopters. This should be allowed as the Air tanker P.F.I. contract cannot practically cover this requirement.
This would allow some secondary fixed wing refuelling capability in emergency if the leased P.F.I. are not recalled in time?

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

Post by sea_eagle »

Just saw my first A400M in the flesh! Flying low overhead with undercarriage down heading towards Bournemouth Airport (don't know why?). Looked simply fabulous. :D

I think the Atlas should be equipped to refuel the Chinook's and Merlin. As I said earlier seem sensible to me if 2 were stationed on the Falklands to replace a C130J and a Voyager. It could cover both roles which would be a cost saver in logistics and free up a precious Voyager.

Would be great is we could pick up 3 more from the countries wanting to offload orders. But then I forget the Govt. has no money for defence. :cry:

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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

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sea_eagle wrote:Just saw my first A400M in the flesh! Flying low overhead with undercarriage down heading towards Bournemouth Airport (don't know why?). Looked simply fabulous. :D
I think I saw my first over Glastonbury last week, couldn't be sure but the affiliation with Bristol convinced me it was. Saw plenty of military aircraft having a jolly over the site mostly merlin, wildcats and a coupple of tornadoes.

sea_eagle wrote:
I think the Atlas should be equipped to refuel the Chinook's and Merlin. As I said earlier seem sensible to me if 2 were stationed on the Falklands to replace a C130J and a Voyager. It could cover both roles which would be a cost saver in logistics and free up a precious Voyager.

Would be great is we could pick up 3 more from the countries wanting to offload orders. But then I forget the Govt. has no money for defence. :cry:
I think it's a no brainer, maximising the usage and getting the best value for money is more important than ever now. I think could be possible if the other countries of loaded at a discount, but right now that money should be used for as many F35 as possible
@LandSharkUK

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Gabriele
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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

Post by Gabriele »

The US have never exported the special forces Chinook with the refueling probe. Not even to the UK. There is no Chinook in-flight refueling capability available, even in the case the A400M overcomes the turbulence issues which prevent it from tanking for helicopters. Airbus has admitted recently that the problem might well not be solved.
You might also know me as Liger30, from that great forum than MP.net was.

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Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

RobWilliams
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Re: Airbus A400M Atlas (RAF)

Post by RobWilliams »

French SF are getting around it by getting a pair of KC-130's too IIRC.

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