1) No, but they are producing the first parts for the prototype.
2) The A400M was designed according to the joint prerequisites of air forces from the seven countries participating in the project (Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and Turkey). Apart from the aircrafts ordered by the particpating countries further eight have ordered by South Africa in April 2005 and four by Malaysia.
DL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11436 posts, RR: 81 Reply 5, posted (7 years 6 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 3861 times:
I wonder how much more useful it will be in light of the fact that almost all existing light vehicles are designed to fit inside of the C-130, and I don't really see the airforces that may order these putting tanks in them all that often.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12735 posts, RR: 79 Reply 6, posted (7 years 6 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3833 times:
The problem with the C-130, is the width of the fuselage.
C-130J is perfectly OK for most air forces, OK for large ones too that have bigger freighters.
But, despite the RAF now set to buy the eventual 5 C-17's, A400M is still on order for 25 airframes, which could yet be increased.
These are to replace the remaining 'legacy' C-130K's, officially.
Unofficially, an increased RAF A400M order might yet replace C-130J's too, their sale helping to fund the additional A400M buy
The RAF has been less than impressed with the long delays in getting C-130J fully up to full operational spec.
IMHO, though a needed and on the surface, impressive upgrade of a tremendous, legendary aircraft, the C-130J's very protracted path to full operational use, is the silent scandal of recent defence procurement.
Back on topic, it's been for some time, a very legitimate US complaint that European NATO forces have a very limited airlift capability, relying way too much on the US.
A400M should largely address this, a major across continent C-130J-30 buy, though better for US industry, would not allow the significant improvement needed, C-17 is simply unaffordable and overkill for almost all European airforces.
Though personally, I would have also liked to have seen perhaps 12 or so AN-124's, procured for European NATO, (like the E-3 AWACS was), with western avionics, R/R engines (as proposed by the manufacturers in the late 1990's).
DL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11436 posts, RR: 81 Reply 7, posted (7 years 6 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3816 times:
Lockheed certainly had egg on its face with all the systems integration issues in the UK, but it looks like they've cleared the hump with that and the airplane is performing to specs. I don't know that the UK will sell them to fund more A400s but I doubt they'll be buying more.
It's true that the C-130 is too narrow for the largest vehicles, but how often will those need to be airfreighted? I think that the A400 will not often be used to transport heavy tracked vehicles or larger helicopters, and that the AN-70 would have probably been a less expensive and more capable option (in that it would have been in service much more quickly, and been able to be purchased in larger quantities due to the lower prices).
However, since the European governments decided to have this jobs program instead of buying what they really needed on the open market they'll have a great airplane that'll probably never be the commercial success that they would like to see, but it will fly.
I think that had they decided to purchase a joint NATO squadron of C-17s (more like a wing of perhaps 36 to 48 airframes in 3 squadrons) they could have funded that jointly and had all the heavy airlift they would need for most contingencies, and relied on chartering or the US for incremental needs during emergencies, plus had monies left over for purchasing C-130J/27J or CASAs that everyone could afford and use effectively for tactical intra-theater needs of individual airforces for about the same money they are spending individually for the A400s. Better dollar value and more effectiveness...
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12735 posts, RR: 79 Reply 9, posted (7 years 6 months 6 days ago) and read 3793 times:
Armies do not want to be constrained in their new vehicles by a fuselage cross section built for a 1950's US Army requirement.
Who carries MBT's by air? C-5 can, C-17 too?
But they rarely do.
The British Armies Warrior APC is barely portable by C-130 for one example.
This is the sort of vehicle more often airlifted.
As NoUFO mentioned, there is the helicopter transport issue.
AN-70 had crashes, was from an industry that was/is starved of cash, we saw last year how the Ukraine was paralyzed by a political crisis with a backdrop of corruption and possible election fraud.
AN-70 had potential, but never made it, not the first promising design to do so.
Even Russia has gone very cool on this aircraft.
Germanys interest in it a few years back, was much more about currying favour with the former Eastern Bloc, than a realistic way to modernize the Lutfwaffe transport force.
Few European airforces with any pretension to be capable of a half decent deployment capability 'out of area', will look at smaller aircraft like C-27, CN-235.
Italy is getting them, Spain has their CASA's, both have or will have C-130J's or A400M's too however.
The RAF has not operated smaller transports for decades, (last being the HS Andover, based in the mid and far East).
This is the most 'out of area' experienced European AF, doing for years what should become the norm for the larger European AF's at least.
A roughly C-130 sized aircraft covers most bases, A400M is in that area,
The most versatile, flexible option.
Calling A400m just a 'jobs programme' cannot hide the fact that it just happens to be nearest to what European AF's need, whilst being affordable.
DL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11436 posts, RR: 81 Reply 10, posted (7 years 6 months 6 days ago) and read 3792 times:
Quoting NoUFO (Reply 8): While I have no idea what other partner nations have in their inventory, at least Bundeswehr's Puma (IFV) and Boxer (armoured multi-role vehicle) are either too big or/and too heavy for a C-130J.
I was referring to light vehicles. How often do you see armored vehicles needing to be transported by air for missions? I do understand that the A400 is better able to move equipment.
Is the A400 worth the extra money? Would the planned users have been better off with what I suggested above or perhaps with the AN-70?
NoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7802 posts, RR: 13 Reply 11, posted (7 years 6 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3745 times:
Quoting GDB (Reply 9): As NoUFO mentioned, there is the helicopter transport issue.
Uhm, no I didn't mention the Tiger, or any other helicopter but thanks anyway.
I know you referred to a different class of vehicles, but infantry fighting vehicles and armoured personnel carriers or multipurpose vehicles are needed even in low-level conflicts when you can leave your main battle tanks at home.
Or take the Dingo:
It fits into a C-130, but you have only a couple of inches (if not only one inch) on both sides, and you need to remove the gun from the roof first.
Bundeswehr flies the C-160 which, if I'm not mistaken, has the same fuselage diameter the Hercules has.
Racko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4839 posts, RR: 20 Reply 12, posted (7 years 6 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3711 times:
Airlift capability for the likes of the Puma and the Boxer is not that unnecessary. Imagine for example the ISAF mission getting hot suddenly, with an uproar in Kabul. In that case you would need to get some armor there - quickly!
I think IF there is something really important in the 21st century, it is the ability to get equipment anywhere around the world as fast as possible. The need for airlift capabilities will go up, not down. For example, when Germany and France got the Transall in the 70s, Germany's defense mission was to stay in Germany and defend the russians. Today, 90% of the mission is to take part in UN missions around the globe. Germany is chartering IL76s and An124s every week to get their equipment to Usbekistan, from where German Transalls fly them to Kabul (if I remember correct). So certainly the A400M is needed.
I would prefer, however, that Germany also ordered some C17s in additon to the A400M. I guess both airframes are great, and combining them is even better.
The good thing about the A400M is, it is a completely new design. I think we should not use derivatives of decade old designs for a mission which really only became clear during the last 15years...
This does not say the C130J is a bad design, not at all. But Germany would never have ordered it anyway, because replacing a European airplane (Transall) with a US design would certainly not have been an option, even if license production could have been done, because the trend in Germany goes more and more to European cooperations.
DL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11436 posts, RR: 81 Reply 14, posted (7 years 6 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3643 times:
Sonntag....I agree that the decision was primarily political as regards the building of the A400. I also see that Germany needed to spend its money
NoUFO.... I believe that the Transall is similar in dimensions to the C-130, and the fact that the Transalls are moving the equipment from the large airfields to the forward areas then you are using the traditional transport system which works to preserve the larger and more expensive strategic birds from the potential for damage from forward area fields with FOD potential not to mention enemy fire. Is the new plan to use the long range transport to bring all the equipment forward from now on? I know that the C-17 has rough field capability but it is infrequently used as we don't want to risk the equipment unnecessarily. The C-130 gets the job done for less money and therefore less risk.
I will agree that the A400 will be more capable than the C-130, but will it be the most cost effective solution to the need for both strategic and tactical airlift? Are the airforces involved going to still need to charter the big Russians?
I'll say that the AN-70 was not ready, but I'll also say that the Russians did not have the money to proceed with a new design along with the other things they wanted to do with limited funding.
NoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7802 posts, RR: 13 Reply 15, posted (7 years 6 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 3610 times:
Well, Bundeswehr will phase out the Transalls as soon as they get their A400Ms, and no they are no longer pleased with the C-160's performance. Not only because they are getting old but foremost because the Transall was never designed for the role it is used nowadays.
As for the A400M not offering the best "bang for bucks", you may very well be right. Frankly, I don't know if the A400M is the best solution in all aspects.
If the Antonov 70 would not have been an Antonov but let's say a CASA or Lockheed, I would have forced my Government to spend my and other people's taxes wisely, opt for the AN-70 and let the Airbus die on the drawing board.
At the same time: We are talking about military equipment here, and for some good reasons, governments tend to buy "home grown" products first. Take the Tiger: Bell's updated Cobra can do almost anything the Tiger can do but costs significantly less - at least as long as the fly-away price is concerned. Same goes the other way around: The U.S. Army is about to acquire a new artillery system. They could, however, have purchased some PzH 2000 as well. In that case, they would already have a self-propelled artillery system that is at least as capable as the U.S.' Paladin (?) and a lot cheaper.
DL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11436 posts, RR: 81 Reply 16, posted (7 years 6 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3596 times:
Well, we have shelved the artillery system and there are several systems that the US is currently rethinking, including the HK XM-8 personal weapon.
The Germans and the French certainly do look at some procurement as jobs, as do many politicians in the US (there's no denying that the strongest proponents of any given weapons system usually include the Congressmen and Senators from the region where the thing is built), but the difference is that most US systems will involve a few thousand units just for us and that means sustained manufacturing whereas the European systems do not have that to count on so the manufacturing job growth is temporary to a far sharper degree than say the F-35 or Bell Cobra projects (although the C-17 project has been curtailed somewhat to somewhere around 200 airframes projected).
The Transall is being retired because its damned old, and getting tough to keep flying in terms of additional maintenance hours and spare parts procurement. They definitely need another airplane, I simply think they should have signed on to the C-17/C-130 package in conjunction with other NATO countries to take advantage of economies of scale as well as proven equipment and no real development costs.
The A400 should fly in the next year or so, so I'll wait until then....but I hope it does not suffer from the same teething problems as the C-130J or some other EADS projects of late.... that may hurt the thing.
TheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3350 posts, RR: 30 Reply 17, posted (7 years 6 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3514 times:
Honestly I think it is somehow surprising that both the Eurofighter, FLA (=A400M), NH90 and Tiger made it and are being ordered now. In fact this is a sign that the European governments and the industry, despite all cost issues and problems, managed to cooperate pretty well in this field. So I think this cooperation, which foundations were laid in the previous projects like, for example, the Transall, make it worth to produce a European airframe.
I do think, however, that Germany should have some C17s. Certainly this is expensive, but strategic airlift capabilities are not existing in sufficient numbers, and I (armchair General ) think they are needed .
Columba From Germany, joined Dec 2004, 6839 posts, RR: 5 Reply 18, posted (7 years 6 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 3506 times:
Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 17): I do think, however, that Germany should have some C17s. Certainly this is expensive, but strategic airlift capabilities are not existing in sufficient numbers, and I (armchair General ) think they are needed .
Our ex-Foreign Minister Mr. Fischer thought the same.....................despite being a memeber of the Green Party
It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
WhiteHatter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 19, posted (7 years 6 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3394 times:
Quoting DL021 (Reply 16): The A400 should fly in the next year or so, so I'll wait until then....but I hope it does not suffer from the same teething problems as the C-130J or some other EADS projects of late.... that may hurt the thing.
Engines might be an issue as they have gone with a consortium rather than buy in from Rolls Royce, PW or GE.
There is also the composites factor, and just like Boeing is apparently finding it tough to make the conversion with the 787 EADS may be having to learn on the job.
Quoting DL021 (Reply 16): I simply think they should have signed on to the C-17/C-130 package in conjunction with other NATO countries to take advantage of economies of scale as well as proven equipment and no real development costs.
Maybe there are unsaid issues here. Namely that procurement and support of a homegrown project is a political aim which the A400M covers. It's no different really to the KC-30 issues which many US side people are throwing up as the major hurdle with that aircraft. What would happen in a situation where relations and sanctions became disastrous and NATO was broken up?
For me the best solution would have been to go with Boeing's C-17K proposal at lower cost than the A400M. Certainly for the RAF. However French dislike for Rolls Royce products in their state sector acquisitions is obvious, which is odd considering the history of Anglo-French projects such as Jaguar.
Bottom line seems to be that the C-130 is just not enough aircraft and too old a design, and the euro consortium of governments wanted another option which was easy to support from within the EU borders.
KC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 11742 posts, RR: 51 Reply 20, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 3191 times:
Quoting WhiteHatter (Reply 19): There is also the composites factor, and just like Boeing is apparently finding it tough to make the conversion with the 787 EADS may be having to learn on the job.
Boeing, and others have been building composit fighters for years.
Quoting WhiteHatter (Reply 19): For me the best solution would have been to go with Boeing's C-17K proposal at lower cost than the A400M. Certainly for the RAF. However French dislike for Rolls Royce products in their state sector acquisitions is obvious, which is odd considering the history of Anglo-French projects such as Jaguar.
That would have been the best and quickest solution.
I know someone who has been building boats for years. That doesn't qualify him to go and build the Queen Mary.
Increasing the scale brings its own problems. Fighters are much lighter and shorter than airliners, and not exactly the same layout. Nobody has experience in designing composites in the shape and size of the A400M or 787 yet, although there is the blended wing B-2. Again not really relevant to the two wings, tube and hundreds of windows design of an airliner (and the A400M too by extension).
Both programs will need huge test regimes before the designs can be properly signed off as being damage tolerant and repairable in a minor accident situation.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12735 posts, RR: 79 Reply 22, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3100 times:
Like Whitehatter, I would have like to have seen the mid 1990's C-17K built, probe refuelling, R/R engines etc.
Not cheap, small run (10-20 airframes), but the huge capability leap would have allowed a replacement of a chunk of the C-130K's.
Then refurbishing the rest (the stretched C.3s probably), no C-130J in this period, the C-17K buy absorbing that.
So then run on the refurbished remaining C-130K's, replacing them with A400M, about 30-40 airframes.