A400M at Farnborough International Airshow 2010

The A400M is a collaborative programme involving eight European nations (Germany, France, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg and United Kingdom), procuring a total of 180 aircraft. The expected UK cost is some £2.4 billion for 25 aircraft.

The A400M should provide tactical and strategic mobility to all three Services. The capabilities required of the A400M include the ability to operate from well established airfields and semi-prepared rough landing areas in extreme climates and all weather by day and night; to carry a variety of vehicles and other equipment, freight, and troops over extended ranges; to be capable of air dropping paratroops and equipment; and to be capable of being unloaded with the minimum of ground handling equipment.

The A400M should also meet a requirement for an airlift capability to move large single items such as attack helicopters and some Royal Engineers’ equipment.

Airbus Military SL of Madrid, a subsidiary of Airbus Industrie, is responsible for management of the whole of the A400M programme.

Companies involved in the programme are BAE Systems (UK), EADS (Germany, France and Spain), Flabel (Belgium) and Tusas Aerospace Industries (Turkey). Final assembly will almost certainly take place in Spain. In May 2003, the European consortium engine TP400-D6 was selected for the A400M military transport aircraft over the rival Pratt & Whitney proposal.

The most commonly quoted argument in favour of the A400M over the C-130J is that this aircraft could carry a 25 ton payload over a distance of 4,000 km. Thus, it is argued that a fleet of 40 x A400M could carry a UK Brigade to the Gulf within 11.5 days, as opposed to the 28.5 days required to make a similar deployment with 40 x C 130s. To operate a fleet of 40 x A400M would of course require aircraft from elsewhere in Europe.

A400M Specifications
Type Tactical and strategic transport
Manufacturer Airbus Military SL
Accommodation Two flight crew and two loadmasters, the cargo bay can transport up to nine standard military pallets (2.23m x 2.74m), including two on the ramp, along with 58 troops seated along the sides or up to 120 fully equipped troops seated in four rows. For Medevac, it can carry up to 66 stretchers and ten medical personnel
Armament None
Performance Max speed 560km/h (350mph)
Wing Span 42.4m
Length 45.1m
Height 14.7m
Cargo Box Length 17.7m
Cargo Box Height 3.8m
Max Payload 37t
Powerplant 4× EuroProp International TP400-D6[8] turboprop, 8,250 kW (11,000 hp) each

Photo Copyright Airbus Military SL