Airbus’ A400M Aerial Transport: Delays, Development, and Deployment
July 21/16: Four more A400M cargo aircraft will be delivered to Germany from Airbus by the end of the year. Issues involving the aircraft’s gearbox have resulted in a reduction of unit delivery, with the company now capable of delivering a total of five in 2016 rather than the originally agreed nine. With 53 A400s ordered by Germany, the defense ministry convened a new working group on June 29 to look at the country’s transport needs, including how to bridge the capacity gap caused by delays in the A400M program.
Airbus’ A400M is a EUR 20+ billion program that aims to repeat Airbus’ civilian successes in the full size military transport market. A series of smart design decisions were made around capacity (35-37 tonnes/ 38-40 US tons, large enough for survivable armored vehicles), extensive use of modern materials, multi-role capability as a refueling tanker, and a multinational industrial program; all of which leave the aircraft well positioned to take overall market share from Lockheed Martin’s C-130 Hercules. If the USA’s C-17 is allowed to go out of production, the A400M would also have a strong position in the strategic transport market, with only Russian AN-70, IL-76 and AN-124 aircraft as competition.
Airbus’ biggest program issue, by far, has been funding for a project that is more than EUR 7 billion over budget. The next biggest issue is timing, as a combination of A400M delays and Lockheed’s strong push for its C-130J Super Hercules narrow the field for future exports. This DID Spotlight article covers the latest developments, as the A400M Atlas moves into the delivery phase. Will Airbus’ 3rd big issue become its own customers?
The A400M Program
A400M: Tech Specs and Issues
A400M: Industrial Team
Contracts & Key Events
2014 – 2016
2008 and earlier
Appendix A – The A400M Program: Dilemmas & a Deal
Background: A400M Program
News and Views
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