The time has come. The comparison between the C-130J and the A400M must be made.
This contest will be held on several different levels. First. Cost. Second. Payload. Third. Variants. Fourth. Availability.
The Scoring Table
+1 indicates a clear advantage
0 indicates a neutral position
-1 indicates a clear disadvantage
This is a no brainer. The list cost for the A400M is now up to One Hundred Eighty Four Million Dollars per airplane! The evolutionary C-130J comes in at Sixty Two Million Dollars. +1 for the C-130J -- Because of the extreme price of the A400M (which is actually priced like the C-17...) -1.
This is to the advantage of the bigger airplane. The A-400M has a published payload of 30 tons. What I find interesting is that the airplane is listed with a mission radius, showing the C-130J's 20 tons. What is even more interesting is when you break down the payload to its individual parts...Paratroopers, stretchers etc...
- 92 passengers or
- 64 airborne troops or
- 74 litter patients with 2 medical personnel or
- 6 pallets or
- 2–3 HMMWVs or
- 1 M113 armored personnel carrier
- 116 fully equipped troops / paratroops,
- up to 66 stretchers accompanied by 25 medical personnel
The C-130 has numerous variants..from the KC-130, MC-130, WC-130 and AC-130. The A400M being a new design is only being proposed in the cargo and tanker roles. This will change but it will cost money. C-130 +1 A400m 0
The C-130J is here now. Its ready. Its in production for the US Military and is serving world wide. The A400M has suffered another delay. C-130J +1 A400 -1 (negative score reflects delays)
C-130 J +3
The cost issue, the fact that it just doesn't lift enough to justify the high price, the fact that its been delayed--again and the issue with it just not being as versatile as the C-130J settled this competition. Three C-130J can easily do the work of one A400M and provide more flexibility to a force.
If it were possible to build the A400M and keep the price within 20 million of the C-130J then it would be a bargain. But that's not the case. In summation the A400M costs too much and delivers too little.
I'm going to try and contact THINKDEFENCE to write a rebuttal. In the meantime here are links to his site to provide their views on the A400. Views which are the polar opposite of my own.