Airbus’ A400M Aerial Transport: Delays, Development, and Deployment
August 1/18: German MEDEVAC The German Luftwaffe will have its first A400M in intensive care aeromedical evacuation (ICAE) configuration on standby starting from 1st August 2018. The “flying intensive care unit” can carry up to six medical patients to safety, including two in critical condition. That capacity will be expanded to reach 10 patients in time, surpassing the capability of the existing fleet of C160 Transall transports. Germany, which is the largest buyer of the multinational A400M, has received 20 of the 53 A400M aircraft it plans to buy. It has taken years to add certain capabilities to the aircraft, and officials are still working on enhanced protective measures. Introduction of the A400M in MEDEVAC configuration will complement the capability currently provided only by the Luftwaffe’s A310 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), which can also treat up to six patients in addition to providing intermediate care to 16 others and 22 less serious cases.
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 – 2018
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