Airbus’ A400M Aerial Transport: Delays, Development, and Deployment
March 26/20: Covid-19 The Spanish Ministry of Defense has utilized an Airbus-owned and operated A400M transport aircraft to deliver face masks to help combat the coronavirus. The airlift, which took place the day prior to Airbus’ announcement on 24 March, saw aircraft MSN56 fly “thousands” of masks from the company’s Toulouse headquarters in southern France to Getafe Air Base near Madrid, in Spain. As noted by Airbus, the masks which were part of a consignment of two million delivered to Europe from China, are destined for use in the Spanish health system. “This air-bridge will enable the delivery of a significant supply of masks to the Spanish public health network in support of current Covid-19 crisis efforts. This comes on top of donations by Airbus in recent days to provide thousands of masks to hospitals and public services around Europe. The company will continue to provide support with additional flights planned to take place in the coming days in co-ordination with national authorities,” the company said in a statement.
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 – 2020
Fill in the secure form below to activate your subscription right away (or pick another plan)