Airbus’ A400M Aerial Transport: Delays, Development, and Deployment
March 26/18: French deliveries France received its 14th A400M Atlas military airlifter and meets a major milestone. The delivery took place several months in advance of the scheduled date, thanks to significant improvement in the quality of the aircraft delivered. Delivery of the 14th unit means that the French air force now has a large enough fleet of A400Ms to fly operational missions and test further tactical capabilities such as in-flight refueling of fighter jets. France ordered a total of 50 A400Ms. The 15th A400M is due to be shipped next year, the first of the 11-strong batch of units scheduled for delivery in the draft 2019-2025 military budget law. Airbus’ A400M is a €20 billion program that aims to repeat Airbus’ civilian successes in the full size military transport market. A number of smart design decisions and versatility leave the aircraft well positioned to tale overall market share form Lockheed Martin’s C-130 Hercules.
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
2008 and earlier
Appendix A – The A400M Program: Dilemmas & a Deal
Background: A400M Program
News and Views
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