This to me signals the death of the A400M,
Maybe. Just like the C-27J marked the death of the C-130J. Oh wait, wishful thinking from Lockheed country ...
they have basically acknowledged by going after this market segment that the A400M is too big for most operators.
They have acknowledged that the A400M is too large, heavy or expensive for some tasks.
It appears they can’t make up their minds on what market segment they want to cover, one aircraft covering a 30,000lb payload range from the CN-235 to the C-130, what could go wrong… If it isn’t close to the payload of a C-130J then it won’t be a viable replacement and if it is close to the payload of a C-130J it won’t be a viable CN-235 replacement. They could just build a C-27J sized aircraft and call it the middle but that hasn’t been a resounding success either.
The French CN-235s were nothing but a stop-gap. France would have bought more Transalls had they been still in production. To me, the FCTM specifications sound like a "Transall 2". The Transall wasn't a huge commercial success either, but it had its strong points where it was better than the C-130, like performance on unpaved runways. Also, the A400M isn't dead, but the FCTM will be its counterpart. A400M and FCTM will attack the C-130 from two sides. At least in the eyes of the French. Their paradigm is strategic independence, not market control.
I’m also not sure why you would want to use the TP400 for this role, it will be incredibly overpowered and create significantly greater sustainment costs than operating a smaller engine more suited to the aircraft size. Something below the AE2100 in hp makes more sense (you would expect the airframe to be lighter and have less drag than a C-130) and even that may be too much engine depending on what final payload range they look for.
One of the Transall's biggest drawbacks was that it didn't have enough power for hot & high operations in engine failure mode.
Finally, taking five to six billion Euros from Europe to develop this aircraft is an utter waste of European Recovery Fund. At the moment 13.2 Billion Euro is set aside for security and defence, I would be stunned that this project could take half of that planned funding.
So far, there seems to be no funding at all.
*cough* Tilt rotor *cough*
We have lots of airlifters.
CN-295 - 23.2t MTOW 4,354kw power
V-22 - 27.4t MTOW, 9,180kw power
C-27J - 31.8t 6 MTOW, 6,916kw power
C-130J - 70.3t MTOW, 13.832kw power
KC-390 - 87t MTOW, 278.8kn thrust
A400M - 141t MTOW, 32,800kw power
If we assume two engines off the A400M we have a massive 16,400kw. Nearly 4 times the power of the CN-295 and 18% more power than the C-130J.
15t of payload is less than two thirds of the what this thrust indicates from a conventional turboprop design.
This will be a tilt rotor/tilt wing like the V-22. We have 1.8 times the engine power of the V-22 so we can multiply the V-22 specs by 1.8 to give a rough estimate.
Payload: 58 troops or 16.3t internal
Empty weight: 26t
MTOW vertical: 38.6t
MTOW normal: 49.4t
This will be a big hit on the market and is exactly what we should expect moving forward. Finally something that can make the C-130J irrelevant.
If we look at the Bell V-280 it can lift approximately 90% of the V-22 payload range with only 70% of the thrust. So it should be very easy to hit the scaled up V-22 specs listed above. It should be able to have a CN-295 sized cabin and fly the same payload further than the CN-295. It would be a perfect compliment to the A400M.
A twin engine mini A400M is obviously a silly idea when you already have C-130J being purchased in Europe. Every international customer would buy the Hercules. VTOL is the future and I'm sure the Germans will be ordering this as they just passed on the King Stallion and Super Chinook.
Development of your idea will cost € 15.000.000.000 or so, and the aircraft will be ready in 15 years. I doubt that this is realistic. Airbus don't even have a tiltrotor prototype.
The German King Stallion/Super Chinook purchase isn't dead, but will be reissued in the next weeks.