Tuesday, January 22, 2013

First production Airbus Military A400M in French Air Force colours



7 comments:

  1. Why are we lifting their stuff to Mali with C-17's if they have these?

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    1. Because the A400M has significant payload and range limitations.

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    2. Because they only currently have one of 'em, and it is this first example. Brand new design.

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    3. In addition to range and capacity issues, this is the first French A400M and has not been delivered IIRC.

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    4. Because the first A400M isn't going to be handed over to France until Q2 2013. It has all the capabilities to handle Mali or any other lift situation.

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  2. They're not using it in Mali because they don't have one yet. Payload capacity for the A4500m is 37,000 kg (81,600 lb) and range is 3,298 km (2,049 mi; 1,781 nmi), which is about 20% less than the c-17, but still sufficient for a mission such as Mali.

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    Replies
    1. The problem with that analysis is that it leaves out the C-17 carries more than twice the load of the A400M but the A400M costs about the same as the C-17. The A400M is an interesting aircraft. It's a very large tactical air lifter that originally was designed to replace the C-160, an aircraft smaller than a C-130, but is in fact almost the size of the C-141 but lacking much of that aircraft's range. It's not in fact a strategic air lifter. It's probably a very good compromise design for flying from Europe to Africa; however, nations will often require actual strategic aircraft as well as smaller tactical transports.

      Thus if a nation operates a C-17 and C-130 force the A400M could certainly replace the C-130 but one would then require some numbers of smaller transports in the C-235/295 class as well. The main problem with the A400M is that it costs so much. It's almost as expensive as a C-17 and costs significantly more than two C-130J's. In my view A400M was never going to make sense unless the cost was around $100 million or about half a C-17 and ballpark 50% more than a C-130J. At the current projected $180 million it simply costs too much, leaving aside if that class of aircraft really makes sense.

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