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breiz
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A400M French AF

Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:42 pm

The first A400M to be delivered to the French AF (MSN 007 F-RBAA) was rolled-out at Sevilla in standard grey cs with small French flag on the fin and small "Armee de l'Air" on forward fuselage.
Ii is planned to be formally delivered in May 2013 at the Orleans-Bricy AB.

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.as...a0db49-ffae-49e9-9011-b06c9c93e2ca
 
Spacepope
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RE: A400M French AF

Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:45 pm

Armee de l'Air could have really used a dozen or so in service by now. Operation Serval will really hit the Transall fleets of France and Germany hard.
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breiz
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RE: A400M French AF

Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:34 pm

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 1):
Armee de l'Air could have really used a dozen or so in service by now. Operation Serval will really hit the Transall fleets of France and Germany hard.


So true.
The French AF chartered the Antonov 124 from Volga-Dnepr and the RAF contributed with two Boeing C-17.
 
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Francoflier
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RE: A400M French AF

Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:21 pm

To be honest, even with the A400, they would have still chartered the Antonovs. They're regulars at on the world's battlefields now...

Is that the final livery? It's exactly like the protos. I would have liked a Eurogreen camo scheme.
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RE: A400M French AF

Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:16 am

Quoting francoflier (Reply 3):
I would have liked a Eurogreen camo scheme.

The real question is are you willing to pay for it?

If it isn't in the contract, I doubt Airbus will.
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M French AF

Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:21 pm

In addition to 2 RAF C-17s flying for the French, at least one RCAF C-17, and a Danish C-130J are helping out. How long before the SAC C-17s are asked to help, too?
 
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RE: A400M French AF

Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:09 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
In addition to 2 RAF C-17s flying for the French, at least one RCAF C-17, and a Danish C-130J are helping out.

...plus two C-130H from BAF and expect some C-27J and/or C-130J from Italy tomorrow
 
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RE: A400M French AF

Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:33 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
How long before the SAC C-17s are asked to help, too?

USAF has come to an agreement to provide C-17 and possibly C-5s. French gov't is picking up the tab.
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sweair
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RE: A400M French AF

Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:58 pm

France needs the C17, only nationalistic pride gets in the way. There will be no more AN124 made and they will get worn down with time, the A400 is not the answer to every problem.

Even my little defence hating nation has a part of a C17, clearly it is a very good asset to have despite being from outside of France.
 
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RE: A400M French AF

Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:42 pm

Quoting sweair (Reply 8):
only nationalistic pride gets in the way.

What gets in the way is the fact that there is NO money of any kind in the government budget to acquire any.

We also need new tankers, more fighters, new drones, etc.
The government is out to save over 30bn € in just a few years, and it's belt tightening time everywhere, especially the military...

What we really need is a real European military force which can effectively pool its resources together.
But then we can't even get our foreign ministers to agree on anything...
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RE: A400M French AF

Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:55 pm

It sounds (to me) like the French went into this without sufficient air lift in place.

Is this true?

Thanks,

F
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sweair
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RE: A400M French AF

Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:30 pm

Quoting francoflier (Reply 9):

So why did FR vote against pooling the C17 for EU nations? GER and FR were hostile towards pooling C17 in EU. Now wiser with time, maybe that was very stupid?! It is soon too late to order more. And the last ones off the line in California will be very good and cheap frames. To start a C17 program in EU would cost a lot more than ordering a few before EOL.

Stupid, stupid, stupid!

EU could really use some of that ECB printing for anyting else than helping french and german banks. The rest of us in EU are really starting to hate FR and GER.
 
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RE: A400M French AF

Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:46 pm

Quoting sweair (Reply 11):
So why did FR vote against pooling the C17 for EU nations?

Several reasons. Much like the (in)famous franco-german regiment, nobody can ever agree on when to deploy these assets, and under what rules of engagement.

Then, splitting the transport fleet and recognising that a dedicated strategic airlifter is required dilutes the A400M business case. (The C17 has some tactical capability, but the A400M is supposed to be able to fulfill both the C130 and C17 roles).

Therefore, in theory a bigger fleet of A400M aircraft provides greater flexibility with the reduced costs of a single fleet, even if it is smaller than a C17 (but not that much smaller!). As a turboprop, the fuel burn is supposed to be much more favorable than a jet, and the cruise speed is higher than a C130.

Quoting fridgmus (Reply 10):
It sounds (to me) like the French went into this without sufficient air lift in place.

Yes. And France went into Harmattan/Libya without sufficient air to air refuelling capability also, and the US Navy greyhounds helped the French Navy by providing logistical support for the Charles de Gaulle because France has never purchased an equivalent aircraft that can transport people and equipement and trap on a carrier.
 
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RE: A400M French AF

Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:38 pm

Quoting chuchoteur (Reply 12):
Therefore, in theory a bigger fleet of A400M aircraft provides greater flexibility with the reduced costs of a single fleet, even if it is smaller than a C17 (but not that much smaller!).

At MTOW, it carries half the payload of one C-17 at MTOW, so you need two to do the job of one. That is not a reduction in costs.
 
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Aesma
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RE: A400M French AF

Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:55 pm

Quoting fridgmus (Reply 10):
It sounds (to me) like the French went into this without sufficient air lift in place.

Is this true?

Thanks,

F

Well, it wasn't an operation planned months in advance that could be launched at any time like Iraqi freedom, it was a "rescue" mission to stop a government from being overthrown. A government that the US doesn't support and thus can't help, by the way.

For the operation that was planned, it was supposed to happen in September so there was plenty of time, and it was mainly about formation and support, not boots and vehicles on the ground.

Quoting sweair (Reply 11):
EU could really use some of that ECB printing for anyting else than helping french and german banks. The rest of us in EU are really starting to hate FR and GER.

Well I don't see what Sweden has to do with the ECB, if you want to print money you can. If the ECB didn't do what was necessary for a long time it's precisely because Germany and France have very different views on the matter, France willing to print endlessly US style, while Germany thinks doing so would bring about the third world war.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):
At MTOW, it carries half the payload of one C-17 at MTOW, so you need two to do the job of one. That is not a reduction in costs.

It depends of the cost/price of each (including the fact that one is providing jobs in european countries) really, and instead of using two you can also do two trips. I don't know if the French military could use a fleet of C-17 year round effectively.
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kanban
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:18 am

Quoting Aesma (Reply 14):
I don't know if the French military could use a fleet of C-17 year round effectively.

Fleet effectiveness and military are a contradiction anyway
 
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Francoflier
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:59 am

Quoting fridgmus (Reply 10):
It sounds (to me) like the French went into this without sufficient air lift in place.

France does not, and never has had enough sufficient airlift capability for distant deployments. Few countries have. The political nature of this operation meant that France is acting alone, so far, which does not mean that allied nations can't be helping out, and they are.

The troop and equipment seem to be getting there one way or another, so I'd say the main issue in this conflict is not airlift capability.

Quoting sweair (Reply 11):
Stupid, stupid, stupid!

I fail to identify your post as anything other that blind fanboyism, but you have to understand that those are political decisions taken decades ago in a difficult and evolving European context. The A400M, for all its issues, provides jobs in many European nations and is designed to be an efficient aircraft for the job required. Euro air forces, for the most part, can't afford to have several subfleets of transport aircrafts.

And to be honest, if France was to buy a large strategic airlifter, I'd prefer my taxpayer money to buy part of an An-124, or even some used 747F. Much cheaper to buy and operate than a C-17!

The A400 can do the unprepared airfield bit. What always seem to lack in these distant conflicts is the capability to carry lots of heavy equipment to the main, paved, airfields of the affected country.
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sweair
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:44 am

Quoting francoflier (Reply 16):

Can you be a fanboy when it comes to strategic capability of a continent? If FR and GER had not blocked the C17 purchase EU as a whole would have a whole different capability on its own right now. Why depend on Ukrainian An124s? What is to say that these old birds will fly in 15 years?

Sweden went ahead and joined the SAC in Hungary, they learned the hard way in 2004 that heavy airlift can and do get short when things happen.

The only way FR would accept the C17 would be in kits assembled in Toulouse.. Put some GTF engines on it in the future, a very decent military and civilian freighter, not needing the infrastructure a 747 needs.

EU will stand on its own in the future US is aiming towards SE Asia, getting used to others having your back is dangerous. I don´t think the US taxpayer is willing to foot the defence bill for EU anymore.
 
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:03 pm

Quoting sweair (Reply 17):

France does operate US aircraft.

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Quoting sweair (Reply 17):

EU will stand on its own in the future US is aiming towards SE Asia, getting used to others having your back is dangerous. I don´t think the US taxpayer is willing to foot the defence bill for EU anymore.

And that's exactly why we need to preserve and support our own aircrat industry.
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:41 pm

I'm not sure why no one is pointing out that if the A400M had come anywhere near its original schedule and budget, France would already have all the airlift it needs for this operation.

Quote:

The partner nations – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Belgium, and Luxembourg – signed an agreement in May 2003 to buy 212 aircraft.[citation needed] These nations decided to charge the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) with the management of the acquisition of the A400M.

Following the withdrawal of Italy and revision of procurement totals the revised requirement was for 180 aircraft, with first flight in 2008 and first delivery in 2009.

It seems France could really use some of those 50 frames that the put deposits down in 2003 and expected to have starting in 2009.

Quoting francoflier (Reply 16):
France does not, and never has had enough sufficient airlift capability for distant deployments.

If you go by the old rule of thumb that two A400Ms equal one C-17, it seems France surely would be OK for this operation.

Quoting francoflier (Reply 16):
And to be honest, if France was to buy a large strategic airlifter, I'd prefer my taxpayer money to buy part of an An-124, or even some used 747F. Much cheaper to buy and operate than a C-17!

Fair enough.

Quoting francoflier (Reply 16):
The A400 can do the unprepared airfield bit. What always seem to lack in these distant conflicts is the capability to carry lots of heavy equipment to the main, paved, airfields of the affected country.

I still wonder what commander is going to order these extremely expensive aircraft to land on some unprepared airfield.

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 18):
And that's exactly why we need to preserve and support our own aircrat industry.

It's funny that you use the word "our", because it seems Frau Merkel shot down the EADS-BAe deal mostly because she thought that DE needed its own defense industry, or at least very tight control of the EADS segments in DE.

It also should be pretty obvious that for what the A400M ends up costing, you could have stocked a life time's worth of spare parts for whatever non-EU aircraft that was purchased.

As for the future, I personally have a hard time seeing the EU governments agreeing to another pan-EU program like A400M for quite a while, given both the way the A400M project went and given the fiscal climate.

I think all the worlds aerospace contractors really need to be concerned about the cost of their products and the willingness of governments to keep funding them.
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ptrjong
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:07 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 19):
I'm not sure why no one is pointing out that if the A400M had come anywhere near its original schedule and budget, France would already have all the airlift it needs for this operation.

Good point.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 19):
It also should be pretty obvious that for what the A400M ends up costing, you could have stocked a life time's worth of spare parts for whatever non-EU aircraft that was purchased.

Of course, but that non-EU aircraft would erode Europe's capability to build aircraft. I'm not saying that buying foreign is always wrong, olf course.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 19):

I think all the worlds aerospace contractors really need to be concerned about the cost of their products and the willingness of governments to keep funding them.

True to that.
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Francoflier
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:19 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 19):
it seems France surely would be OK for this operation.

When the Armée de L'Air finally gets its A400s, then yes.

Quoting sweair (Reply 17):
Can you be a fanboy when it comes to strategic capability of a continent?

Enough with the drama...
EU as a whole has no enemy that would warrant such an airlift capacity. The last few wars it's engaged in were linked with localized ethnic wars, terrorism and jihadism guerillas, ousting dictators and the like.

And if such a threat ever arises, there is no doubt that EU as a whole would react as one and every country would provide its military capacity. Which by then would be around 150 A400s.

The SAC NATO arrangement is to pool 3 C-17s between over 10 nations. Hardly the same scope.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 19):
As for the future, I personally have a hard time seeing the EU governments agreeing to another pan-EU program like A400M for quite a while, given both the way the A400M project went and given the fiscal climate.

They might not have a choice. France opted out of the Eurofighter program and went alone. Both products ended up being fine and adapted aircrafts, but basically, twice the money was spent for 2 similar products,and half of that bore by one country alone. Both programs ended up overbudget and late.
As you say, money becoming tight these days, I doubt there will be a choice but to pool resources in the future if they want a competitive product. However, one light hope that the arrangements of such programs would involve politicians a lot less and let private defense companies group themselves and share the development work according to financial arrangements.

It's hard to get political bickering out of the loop completely, unfortunately, but programs like the nEUROn seem a step in the right direction in terms of European cooperation.

Ideally, European countries would agree on a set of specifications and numbers required and launch an RFP and let EADS and other European consortiums battle it out. One can dream.
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:37 pm

Quoting francoflier (Reply 21):
They might not have a choice. France opted out of the Eurofighter program and went alone. Both products ended up being fine and adapted aircrafts, but basically, twice the money was spent for 2 similar products,and half of that bore by one country alone. Both programs ended up overbudget and late.
As you say, money becoming tight these days, I doubt there will be a choice but to pool resources in the future if they want a competitive product. However, one light hope that the arrangements of such programs would involve politicians a lot less and let private defense companies group themselves and share the development work according to financial arrangements.

I think F35 shows the more you pool together, the more the tendency is to make sure everyone gets their pet feature/project included in the product, the more difficult is is to cut things because of the political tension, and the more the budget and schedule explodes.

Quoting francoflier (Reply 21):
Ideally, European countries would agree on a set of specifications and numbers required and launch an RFP and let EADS and other European consortiums battle it out.

A400M did have budgetary controls in the contract. Unfortunately the remedies were too heavy-handed: if the remedies were applied, the whole project would collapse. Hopefully the public sector has learned from this, but the cynic in me doubts it.

Part of the problem is when you fund projects just to keep a capability alive, the people involved know this and know you can't/won't walk away from the project when things get out of hand.

In some ways you are better off having a foreign entity develop the hardware. Australia got a better deal out of Boeing for Wedgetail than Boeing would have offered the US for the same capability, and Boeing paid the compensation when it was late.
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sweair
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:38 pm

The end of production is very soon, we should on this continent really sit down and think about this, last chance..
 
Kiwirob
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:34 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 19):
I still wonder what commander is going to order these extremely expensive aircraft to land on some unprepared airfield.

The one who requires his men and supplies on the ground ASAP.
 
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Francoflier
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:55 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 22):
I think F35 shows the more you pool together, the more the tendency is to make sure everyone gets their pet feature/project included in the product, the more difficult is is to cut things because of the political tension, and the more the budget and schedule explodes.

I agree. But then we're back to the same point. If you need several nations to fund a project like this, you'll never get anyone of them to just pour money into your local company which will develop and build the thing. They'll all want their money's worth in domestic downfall.

Hard to find an ideal compromise, unless every nation has a supplier that happens to be able to design and build a subsystem that represents the exact overall portion of the project that's funded by said nation.
Otherwise you end up with 4 suppliers from 4 different countries speaking 4 different languages having to somehow come up with 1 working engine...
It's a feat, when you think about it.

The important thing in all that, maybe, is that they eventually make it happen. The money spent by the government is at least being reinvested in the local economy, even if it's more than initially budgeted. The role of a government is to invest its revenue into its own economy after all.
In a way, it's better than spending less of the tax payer's money in another country. At least that's how the politics see it.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 22):
, the people involved know this and know you can't/won't walk away from the project when things get out of hand.

Especially when the project is too far ahead to just cancel it altogether...

Quoting Revelation (Reply 22):
In some ways you are better off having a foreign entity develop the hardware. Australia got a better deal out of Boeing for Wedgetail than Boeing would have offered the US for the same capability, and Boeing paid the compensation when it was late.

This is only acceptable when you don't have a local industrial equivalent capable of developing and producing that product. Otherwise you can bet their government lobbyists and unions will be throwing all kinds of tantrums up on the political scene...
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Revelation
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RE: A400M French AF

Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:32 am

Quoting francoflier (Reply 25):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 22):
the people involved know this and know you can't/won't walk away from the project when things get out of hand.

Especially when the project is too far ahead to just cancel it altogether...

Or when you make it look like the project is too far ahead to just cancel it, and the government didn't/can't/won't audit the program well enough to figure that out till it's too late.

Auditors blast EADS management over A400M says:

Quote:

Following are some key findings from the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) audit:

- PWC said it found no evidence that robust systems had been established to monitor costs booked to the A400M programme against the actual value delivered. There is no mechanism to understand how advanced the programme is.

- The budgeting process of Airbus parent EADS has consistently and significantly underestimated the costs of the A400M and concluded the current process has limited value.

So it seems in this case that the customers relied on EADS's accounting systems till the overrun reared its ugly head, and then they brought in their own auditor when it was far to late to do much about it.

One can ask a lot of questions about that.

And yes, this is far from the only military program that has cost overruns. I just find it interesting that the customers did try to put in some protections, but those protections failed. I'm not sure what the root cause was. After the fact, it seems to me that either the customers were pretty naive, or they were willing accomplices to the overruns.
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RE: A400M French AF

Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:09 pm

From the thread in non-av:

Quote:

The heaviest Cheetah forces for Mali — available but not necessarily deployed – include: two more companies of VBCIs plus a number of Leclerc heavy tanks and units equipped with the Caesar, an ultra-modern, truck-mounted 155-millimeter artillery piece.

...

In any event, Paris lacks the airlift capacity to haul all the hardware bound for Africa. “At the strategic airlift level, the capability gap has been since long considered as problematic,” Henrotin says. Early on, Paris appealed for help from allied nations. Canada and the U.K. were the first to offer up C-17 transport planes — one and two, respectively; the U.S. sent five of its own C-17s over the weekend. The four-engine C-17 is big enough to carry a Caesar and any other French vehicle.

Ref: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/01/mali-heavy-firepower/

Some relevant specs:

Quote:

Caesar (artillery) specs:

Weight 17.7 tonnes
Length 10 m (32 ft 10 in)
Width 2.55 m (8 ft 4 in)
Height 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in)

Leclerc (tank) specs:

Weight 54.5 tonnes[3]
Length 9.87 m (6.88 without gun[3])
Width 3.71 m[3]
Height 2.53 m[3]

A400M specs:

Range with Maximum Payload (37 000 kg - 81 600 lb) 1780 nm 3300 km
Range with 20 000 kg (44 000 lb) Payload 3450 nm 6400 km
Cargo Hold Length (ramp excluded) 17.71 m 58 ft
Cargo Hold Height 3.85 – 4.00 m 12 ft 7 in – 13 ft
Cargo Hold Width 4.00 m 13 ft

Seems the Leclerc is going by sea, or in a borrowed C-17 and/or Antonov?
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Aesma
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RE: A400M French AF

Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:31 am

The US wanted us to pay for the C-17 flights (a hefty sum) so apparently we declined and took the free options (from Canada, UK and others) while suggesting the US help the African nations sending men for free.

That information is days old so I don't know what has happened in practice, the Pentagon was embarrassed and said they wouldn't ask for money after all.
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ptrjong
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RE: A400M French AF

Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:31 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 27):

No need for dimensions. At over 50 tonnes It's too heavy for the A400M.
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Revelation
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RE: A400M French AF

Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:53 pm

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 29):
At over 50 tonnes It's too heavy for the A400M.

Seems then that the A400M is sufficient for skirmishes but not for all-out war.
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Kiwirob
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RE: A400M French AF

Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:33 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 30):
Seems then that the A400M is sufficient for skirmishes but not for all-out war.

Like the c-130 or is that good enough for war?
 
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RE: A400M French AF

Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:24 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 31):
Like the c-130 or is that good enough for war?

It is when you have larger aircraft to carry the bigger items that may be needed. C-130 + A400M= MBTs stay home. C-130 + C-17/C-5 = MBTs can be airlifted into theatre by your own forces.
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RE: A400M French AF

Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:02 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 31):
Like the c-130 or is that good enough for war?

The question answers itself, doesn't it? The French could have worked with the USAF to secure C-130 services but they didn't, they have secured C-17 services instead.

It seems from the payload/range of the A400M, its creators really had intra-continent lower-intensity scenarios in mind. Now the French find themselves on another continent wanting their MBTs and they have no way to get them there for weeks if not months even if they had A400Ms. Maybe the creators thought the opponents would not have the funding or the access to the kinds of weaponry that makes one desire MBTs in theater? The main design targets were put down in the 90s, so perhaps they aimed lower then they would have later in time, and the original LOI was signed shortly before 9/11.

Here's an interesting timeline:

Quote:

1982 -- Aerospatiale, British Aerospace, Lockheed and MBB set up a project -- later known as the Future Large Aircraft (FLA) -- to develop a troop transporter to replace the C-130 Hercules and the Transall C-160.

1989 -- Lockheed pulls out of developing an upgrade to its own C-130 Hercules transporter.

1999 -- Partners including BAE Systems, Daimler Chrysler Aerospace (Dasa), France's Aerospatiale Matra and Spain's Casa establish Airbus Military Company to develop the A400M.

2000 -- Airbus says it will start the industrial phase of the A400M project by March 2001; first deliveries are expected in 2007.

June 2001 -- Eight countries -- Germany, France, Spain, Britain, Turkey, Belgium, Portugal and Luxembourg -- sign an initial letter of intent to buy 196 A400Ms.

November 2001 -- Germany calls off official signing ceremony for the project due to a parliamentary confidence motion over German plans to deploy troops in Afghanistan.

December 2001 -- Seven nations agree to buy the A400M, though plans still hinge on German parliamentary approval.

February 2003 -- Italy and Portugal cancel orders for the A400M.

May 2003 -- Airbus bows to government pressure to appoint a European consortium to build new engines for the A400M, reversing a decision to buy from Pratt & Whitney Canada.

May 2003 -- Germany's parliament approves the purchase of 60 A400Ms, cut from 73, removing the final hurdle for the project.

December 2004 -- South Africa orders 8 A400Ms.

DEC. 2005 -- Malaysia orders 4 A400Ms.

March 2007 -- Airbus takes 352 million euro ($508.6 million) charge to cushion A400M overruns.

November 2007 -- EADS warns it sees charges of up to 1.4 billion euros from A400M delays.

September 2008 -- EADS postpones first flight of A400M indefinitely in row over engine development.

January 2009 -- Airbus chief Thomas Enders says the A400M project is "mission impossible" without contract changes.

July 2009 -- The European ordering nations agree to renegotiate the cost and scale of the project.

November 2009 -- South Africa cancels its A400M order.

December 2009 -- Germany confirms the A400M project is 5 billion euros over its production budget.

December 11, 2009 -- Reuters reports auditors have identified 11 billion euros of total cost overruns.

January 20, 2010 -- A leaked draft summary of the audit report by PricewaterhouseCoopers blames Airbus managers for huge cost overruns on A400M.

February 4, 2010 -- More talks held in Berlin between EADS and seven NATO nations to resolve the funding dispute.

February 24, 2010 -- Spanish defense minister Carme Chacon says EADS and government buyers have reached the "basis of an agreement" for a 3.5 billion euro bail-out, including 2 billion euros of direct aid and 1.5 billion in financial support.

March 5, 2010 -- A deal is struck to save the project from collapse. The agreement aims to preserve 10,000 jobs but will force EADS to take 1.8 billion euros of provisions for its share of the overrun, pushing the company to an operating and net loss for 2009.

-- German Defense Ministry says the first deliveries of the A400M should now happen in 2014.

March 29, 2010 -- Britain says it will trim its order for the A400M to 22 from 25 to finance its share of an agreed increase in the price of the project.

Ref: http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/...00m-timeline-idUSTRE6570PE20100608
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chuchoteur
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RE: A400M French AF

Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:07 pm

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 32):
C-17/C-5 = MBTs can be airlifted into theatre by your own forces.

Looking at the UK who have C130 & C17, realistically with the small number of C17 in the fleet they are not in a position to deploy MBTs in any significant numbers... for Desert Storm everybody sent their MBTs by boat. Only the US can afford/has the capability to airfreight MBTs... and even then I'm not sure they do it that often?
 
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Aesma
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RE: A400M French AF

Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:42 pm

Frankly I have no idea why we would be sending MBT at all in Mali, the enemy has pick-ups. If it's true they have anti-tank weapons then we are sending nice targets.

Apparently it's 4 Leclerc that were going to Qatar for a training exercise.

It could just be to show off.
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ptrjong
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RE: A400M French AF

Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:22 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 30):
Seems then that the A400M is sufficient for skirmishes but not for all-out war.

I think that's wrong.

Some aircraft can airlift a few tanks for skirmishes, but no country seems to be able to airlift armoured divisions- US armour for Saudi Arabia went by sea as far as I know, despite the imminent Iraqi threat. To be honest I'm not sure why - I guess the heavy transport fleet was simply needed for carrying lighter forces.

So the French are simply realistic in not being able to airlift MBTs, in my view.

[Edited 2013-01-25 11:23:20]
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RE: A400M French AF

Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:28 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 35):
Frankly I have no idea why we would be sending MBT at all in Mali, the enemy has pick-ups.

My understanding is they have pretty much anything that Qadaffi's armories had before they were looted.

Quoting Aesma (Reply 35):
If it's true they have anti-tank weapons then we are sending nice targets.

Why have MBTs are all then?

I guess the soldiers are there to be targets as well?

Quoting Aesma (Reply 35):
It could just be to show off.

I suppose, but then again I suppose one could say the same thing about A400M as well?

I'd hope the focus would be around building a fast reaction force that would utilize the most survivable vehicle that the A400M could carry, but I don't know what the plan is.
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SeJoWa
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RE: A400M French AF

Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:27 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 28):

The US wanted us to pay for the C-17 flights (a hefty sum) so apparently we declined and took the free options (from Canada, UK and others) while suggesting the US help the African nations sending men for free.

That information is days old so I don't know what has happened in practice, the Pentagon was embarrassed and said they wouldn't ask for money after all.

C-17 Globemaster III transport jets, operating under the control of U.S. Africa Command, are moving a French mechanized infantry battalion. The ongoing operation is expected to last at least two weeks, officials said.
The first C-17 from Dover Air Force Base, Del., took off from Istres and landed in Mali’s capital of Bamako on Jan. 21 to deliver more than 80,000 pounds of equipment and dozens of French soldiers.

SOURCE: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=119110

So, excellent outcome, and only possible thanks to the quick initial French response.
 
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RE: A400M French AF

Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:31 pm

In all of the rightful lauding of the C-17 and the capabilities it gives to the nations that operate it, while bashing the A400M for it's delays, it's worth remembering just what a torrid time the Globemaster development process was.
So bad it came close to outright cancellation on at least one occasion, there were cost overruns, technical problems (including a wing structural test failure), it really was a bad experience for all involved.
Near the top of any shit list for 1990's Pentagon/contractor procurement nightmares.

But that's forgotten now, isn't it? Deliberately or otherwise given the great success the C-17 has been in service, to mention it's previous troubles might seem to be like letting off a loud fart at a genteel social gathering.
Problem is, you cannot bash the A400M for it's development troubles and honestly ignore the C-17's rather similar history.
Presumably to follow that logic means it's also, like the Globemaster, likely to be a valuable and admired asset for those who operate it, maybe even repeating what you suspect many of the C-17 users feel about that aircraft, how did we cope before we had it?

At least the C-17 was only being developed by one country with, at the time, only one certain end user.
(Though some may think the puzzle palace of the US defence/political structure is as shark infested as anything that stretches across European borders).

France could not reasonably - without big cuts elsewhere at least - afford to buy and operate 25 C-17's as opposed to 50 A400M's.
The cuts elsewhere to do so may well include some of the equipment it was meant to transport.
Yes there was the industrial policy aspect too, though it would be perverse to think that does not feature in US procurement choices either.

You could buy 50 C-130J's I guess, legendary aircraft it certainly is but for all the upgrades of the current model it still has that cargo cross section designed in the 1950's. Many critical items for repaid deployment just could not be easily accommodated, if at all.

After all those decades of labouring on with the Transall (and a few Herks), the A400M is going to transform the abilities of the French AF to deploy forces out of area.
They'll still need the occasional supplement by AN-124's, or USAF C-5's and/pt C-17's it's true.
But pooling assets is one of the advantages to being in the military alliances France is and they are far from the only major AF to occasionally call on such support.
But they'll need it less often when their A400M fleet is up and running.
 
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RE: A400M French AF

Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:12 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 39):

They chose to veto the C17, that is what bothers me, they tried to force others in EU to go for the A400. Now I think some regret being such typical french, a fleet of 7 like UK along with the A400 would be a very useful combo.

I have no more warm feelings for the french, I used to like them but with EU they really showed what they are made of.
 
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Aesma
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RE: A400M French AF

Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:01 pm

Well Sweden makes the Gripen and is selling it internationally so you should understand the need for some nations to keep certain industries alive, what would you think if your Air Force disregarded the Gripen and bought Mirages of F-16s ?
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RE: A400M French AF

Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:05 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 39):
it's worth remembering just what a torrid time the Globemaster development process was.
So bad it came close to outright cancellation on at least one occasion, there were cost overruns, technical problems (including a wing structural test failure), it really was a bad experience for all involved.

Indeed, and the project continued because there really was no alternative: the C5s aren't as numerous and aren't reliable and modern enough, the C-141s were aging out, the C130s are not able to move the heavy assets. I certainly agree both US and non-US procurement systems are quite flawed.

Quoting GDB (Reply 39):
France could not reasonably - without big cuts elsewhere at least - afford to buy and operate 25 C-17's as opposed to 50 A400M's.

That's hard to say not knowing what the final cost of the A400M at full level of functionality will be or when that will occur. It certainly won't be "half the C-17 at half the cost" that some made it out to be.
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M French AF

Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:31 pm

Quoting francoflier (Reply 16):
The A400M, for all its issues, provides jobs in many European nations and is designed to be an efficient aircraft for the job required. Euro air forces, for the most part, can't afford to have several subfleets of transport aircrafts.

And to be honest, if France was to buy a large strategic airlifter, I'd prefer my taxpayer money to buy part of an An-124, or even some used 747F. Much cheaper to buy and operate than a C-17!

The A400 can do the unprepared airfield bit. What always seem to lack in these distant conflicts is the capability to carry lots of heavy equipment to the main, paved, airfields of the affected country.

Let's not turn this into yet another C-17 vs. A-400 thread.

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 18):
France does operate US aircraft.

Yes, but only a handful.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 19):
I'm not sure why no one is pointing out that if the A400M had come anywhere near its original schedule and budget, France would already have all the airlift it needs for this operation.

  

Quoting francoflier (Reply 21):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 19): it seems France surely would be OK for this operation.
When the Armée de L'Air finally gets its A400s, then yes.

No, they won't. They will be retiring more C-160s and C-130s. France will end up with just a minor boost in capacity.

Quoting francoflier (Reply 21):
EU as a whole has no enemy that would warrant such an airlift capacity. The last few wars it's engaged in were linked with localized ethnic wars, terrorism and jihadism guerillas, ousting dictators and the like.

And if such a threat ever arises, there is no doubt that EU as a whole would react as one and every country would provide its military capacity. Which by then would be around 150 A400s.

Did you forget Kosovo?

Quoting francoflier (Reply 21):
France opted out of the Eurofighter program and went alone. Both products ended up being fine and adapted aircrafts, but basically, twice the money was spent for 2 similar products,and half of that bore by one country alone. Both programs ended up overbudget and late.

France opted out because it could not get the biggest share of the EF-2000 production.
 
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Francoflier
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:25 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 43):
Did you forget Kosovo?

No. Ethnic war. Also, I don't understand why Kosovo would change anything in France or Europe's need for strategic transport.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 43):
France opted out because it could not get the biggest share of the EF-2000 production.

I don't understand your point.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 43):
France will end up with just a minor boost in capacity.

France is operating about 50 Transalls and around a dozen Hercs.
They will be replaced by 50 A400s. It is a boost in capacity of, I'd say, at least 50% in terms of available payload.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 43):
Let's not turn this into yet another C-17 vs. A-400 thread.

Right, let's keep it a straight A400 / France bashing thread instead.
  

Quoting Revelation (Reply 42):
That's hard to say not knowing what the final cost of the A400M at full level of functionality will be or when that will occur. It certainly won't be "half the C-17 at half the cost" that some made it out to be.

I'd say the acquisition cost of 25 C-17s off the shelf would actually have been cheaper than the 50 A400s, considering the USAF, through the US congress, has basically absorbed the development cost of the program and its overruns. The aircraft's manufacturing cost is now fixed and the manufacturing structure is amortized. I'm actually pretty sure they could have gotten a great deal.
In the case of the A400, participating nations are still not completely sure of how much the final unit cost will be yet. The overall cost has increased and is divided by a number of final orders which has decreased. The governments pick up the tab...

Remains to be seen whether the operating cost of an A400 is about half that of a C-17. I'd say probably. The only dark area here (for me) will be engine maintenance. Those TP-400s might end up being more expensive to maintain and overhaul than the PW2000.

Trivially, MTU Aero, which owns a 28% stake in Europrop, also owns a 21% stake in the C-17's engine.
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:54 am

Quoting chuchoteur (Reply 34):
Looking at the UK who have C130 & C17, realistically with the small number of C17 in the fleet they are not in a position to deploy MBTs in any significant numbers... for Desert Storm everybody sent their MBTs by boat. Only the US can afford/has the capability to airfreight MBTs... and even then I'm not sure they do it that often?
Quoting Aesma (Reply 35):
Frankly I have no idea why we would be sending MBT at all in Mali, the enemy has pick-ups. If it's true they have anti-tank weapons then we are sending nice targets.
Quoting ptrjong (Reply 36):
Some aircraft can airlift a few tanks for skirmishes, but no country seems to be able to airlift armoured divisions- US armour for Saudi Arabia went by sea as far as I know, despite the imminent Iraqi threat. To be honest I'm not sure why - I guess the heavy transport fleet was simply needed for carrying lighter forces.

While MBTs are usually moved by sea, when sudden crises arise, the ability to airlift MBTs can be very useful.

This ability has been an important and useful tool for the US numerous times:

In 1973 C-5s airlifted dozens of US M-60s into Israel during the Yom Kippur War. Those M-60s were quickly put to good use.

In 1989 C-5s carried MBTs into Panama to augment tanks already there. (not sure of the type of tanks)

In 1998 C-5s airlifted M-1s into Mogadishu following the 'Blackhawk Down' incident.

In 1999 C-17s airlifted M-1s into Skopje and Tirana during the Kosovo conflict. These tanks created a credible threat of ground attack against Serbia.

In 2003 C-17s airlifted M-1s into northern Iraq to help open a second front against Iraqi forces.

AFAIK, all MBTs in Afghanistan have been airlifted into there. I've personally observed M-1s and Leopards being carried by C-17s.

MBTs have proven very effective in low intensity conflicts. They were used extensively in Iraq and are used today in Afghanistan. They deliver an enormous amount of firepower, are very hard to kill, and are very mobile. They make things very difficult for insurgents who choose to fight.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 43):
Let's not turn this into yet another C-17 vs. A-400 thread.

Why not? We haven't had one in awhile. This seems like a great real world example of why the A400M was a bad move for the European countries producing it. It's too delayed to participate in a French-led conflict, and even if it was operational France would still be asking for C-17s to airlift their tanks. What is the latest cost for the A400M? Pretty close to the C-17.
 
GDB
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:52 am

The real reason that the A400M gets a bashing here is of course, it's taken, already, some potential customers for the C-130J, not the C-17.
Worth mentioning that while only a derivative of a very well established type, the C-130J also had a far from smooth entry into service, the RAF had to wait several years after it's aircraft were delivered until they could actually use them across the spectrum of normal missions.
Another one that's been forgotten, deliberately it seems.

The carry a MBT is something of a red herring, in the context of European NATO nations at least, yes they have at times, but only in small numbers and that's what chartering AN-124's or using those NATO C-17's or allied AF's C-17's is for.

Given the urgency of the situation in Mali, France might well have called on C-17's and Antonovs even if they already had some A400M's in service.

There is also the subject of this thread, there is at least one poster here who only a couple of years ago dismissed the A400M as 'vaporware', yet at the top of the thread is a production example for the lead customer.

Judge this aircraft by what it does once in service, since using it's rather fraught development history only brings comparison to the C-17 and to an extent, the C-130J.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:45 am

Quoting francoflier (Reply 44):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 43):Let's not turn this into yet another C-17 vs. A-400 thread.
Right, let's keep it a straight A400 / France bashing thread instead.

Who is doing that? France finds itself envolved in a conflict they are not equipped to fully support using there own assets. Now France is requesting USAF KC-135Rs to help with air refueling missions in Mali. The US and Canada are airlifting ground forces from Chad because France wants to expand rapidly and cannot do it on its own.

Quoting GDB (Reply 46):
The real reason that the A400M gets a bashing here is of course, it's taken, already, some potential customers for the C-130J, not the C-17.

Who? UK? Canada? Australia? India? Qatar? Of the 174 A-400s currently on order, 170 are going to European customers and 14 of them are already up for sale. Meanwhile Canada choose not to order the A-400M, Chile never firmed up their MOU, and South Africa canceled their order for 8 plus 6 options. Only Malaysia has kept their order for 4 airplanes.

Quoting GDB (Reply 46):
Worth mentioning that while only a derivative of a very well established type, the C-130J also had a far from smooth entry into service, the RAF had to wait several years after it's aircraft were delivered until they could actually use them across the spectrum of normal missions.

How long do you think it wil take to iron out the bugs in the A-400M after it is in operational service?

Quoting GDB (Reply 46):
Judge this aircraft by what it does once in service, since using it's rather fraught development history only brings comparison to the C-17 and to an extent, the C-130J.

We cannot judge it, because no A-400M is operational, nor will there be any for at least a year in a half, assuming the first one is still delivered in May 2013. We already know it still has finiky engines.
 
chuchoteur
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:14 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 47):
We already know it still has finiky engines.

Actually, the latest standard of engines has now been installed on the test aircraft, performed all of the function & reliability campaign with no issues whatsoever (which was important for civil type certification), so it appears that the gearbox material issues are now over.
 
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Revelation
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RE: A400M French AF

Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:03 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 46):
Judge this aircraft by what it does once in service, since using it's rather fraught development history only brings comparison to the C-17 and to an extent, the C-130J.

As an engineer I'm keenly interested in the development process/history and find the comparisons to other successful as well as less than successful programs to be quite interesting and certainly not something to turn away from.
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