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Schroinx
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EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Mon Nov 29, 2021 4:52 pm

One of the EU's new initiatives under PESCO is the SATOC.

"The 5-nation project Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo (SATOC) aims to fill the critical shortfall for strategic transport for outsized and heavy cargo, a crucial enabler for military missions and operations. SATOC involves a gradual 3-step approach, firstly by identifying a sufficient number of project members – with possible third state participation, harmonising requirements and finally identifying and agreeing on a common European solution for the transport of outsized cargo.

The five participating nations are: Germany, Czechia, France, Netherlands, Slovenia. An initial project timeline for the collection and harmonization of requirements will run until 2023 with a possible agreement on a European solution and a follow-on project foreseen in 2026."

All strategic airlifters for outsized cargo seem to be out of production.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news ... ter-effort

A400M: 37t
C-17: 77t
An-124-100: 120t
C-5M: 127t

United States and European heavy transport aircraft, 2001–18

Countries Year Inventory Number Equipment Type
Europe (Fr, Ge, Spa, UK) 2018 63 A400M, C-17A Globemaster III
Europe (UK) 2011 7 C-17A Globemaster III
Europe (UK) 2001 4 C-17A Globemaster III
United States 2018 264 C-17A Globemaster III, C-5M Super Galaxy
United States 2011 194 C-5B/C/M Galaxy, C-17A Globemaster III
United States 2001 323 C-5A/B, C-17A, C-141B

https://www.iiss.org/blogs/military-bal ... ic-airlift

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... provide-it
 
Schroinx
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 1:18 pm

There are some more details here. From a French perspective relying on the Ukrainian and partly Russian AN-124s for strategic transport seems to be the key point. Russia is building its own indigenous 124-copy without Ukrainian parts.
The early days of the covid pandemic also showed Russian and Chinese military transports doing the rounds with masks and flags. EUs was sometimes flown with the Ukrainian colors (yellow and blue) painted AN-124s. Covid diplomacy. There is also a signaling in having the resources to develop an indigenous aircraft for strategic airlift and putting an EU flag on it, when doing these kinds of missions.


https://news.in-24.com/news/289679.html

One thing that may have contributed is the change in EU outlook is the military missions in North Africa and the Sahel, conflict in Syria, and likely also the conflict in Ukraine, a deterioration of the relationship with China, and the evacuation of Kabul. All of these conflicts are a long distance from Europe. EU will have more options on the table in the future if we have more strategic airlift capability. As none is in production in Western countries, there is little choice but to develop one. As far as I understood the 124 is good if it only used Western components but it lacks a pressurized cabin and changing it to do have that is not easy, but essentially a new plane.

So how should an EU SATOC in 124 sizes flying in the late 2020s be capable of?
 
duboka
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 3:17 pm

Another option could be, that Airbus modernize the An-124 in cooperation with Antonov. If the money is right, Antonov is happy to help, and it would be still way cheaper than developing an entirely new aircraft for this role...
 
texl1649
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 3:42 pm

It would be great to have a real, non-Ruso/Sino outsize cargo aircraft on the market both for military and civilian applications/derivatives in the coming decades. Possibly, using the latest large engines, a truly new concept/layout could be used as well, using something along the lines of a GE9X size with perhaps an electric third engine for take-off/ascent. If they can resist the urge to try to make it stealthy ($$$) then it could fill a key role in different markets long term (including for the mfg’s like Airbus and Boeing).

The Germans appear to be the prime/coordinator on the project;

https://pesco.europa.eu/project/strateg ... rgo-satoc/

Certainly, the French sound like they want to move away from the Antonovs entirely;

But in either case, this strategic airlift capability relies essentially on the AN-124-100 aircraft, capable of carrying a load of 120 tonnes in a single flap, and incidentally. [sous réserve des disponibilités] on type AN-22 and IL-76 devices.

However, and as the deputy François Cornut-Gentille underlined in a report on strategic air transport published in 2017, such a capacity raises the question of strategic autonomy, in so far as the use of such oversized aircraft means that the France is dependent on Ukraine, even on Russia. “The Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are here followers of the Coué method: the armies are satisfied with the good routing of freight and the diplomats with the solidity of the Franco-German couple within NATO! All pretend not to see that, in fact, it is the Russians and Ukrainians who have the control of the projection of our forces on the external theaters ”, he argued in fact.

Hence the search for an alternative … Thus, questioned on this subject during a hearing at the National Assembly, in 2018, and considering that the Europeans had “doubtless not sufficiently insisted on the strategic dimension in terms of of sovereignty “of large aircraft, the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, had estimated that a project could be” usefully financed by the European Defense Fund ” [FEDef], then in gestation at the time.

Obviously, other European countries have since been convinced of this need to have a fleet of oversized transport planes.


https://news.in-24.com/news/289679.html
 
johns624
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 4:01 pm

This whole thing is driven by France and Germany, just like everything else in the EU. They just got Slovenia, Czechia and Netherlands to sign on as "camouflage". The Netherlands doesn't even really have "oversize" cargo since they got rid of their Leopard 2's. Yeah, I know they lease a few, but they don't count. I doubt if the other two countries are going to do any out-of-area deployments, either.
 
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Kiwirob
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 4:13 pm

johns624 wrote:
This whole thing is driven by France and Germany, just like everything else in the EU. They just got Slovenia, Czechia and Netherlands to sign on as "camouflage". The Netherlands doesn't even really have "oversize" cargo since they got rid of their Leopard 2's. Yeah, I know they lease a few, but they don't count. I doubt if the other two countries are going to do any out-of-area deployments, either.


In a sensible world the UK should be part of this as well.
 
johns624
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 4:28 pm

Kiwirob wrote:

In a sensible world the UK should be part of this as well.
Maybe they figure that with 8 C17s with a long life ahead of them, that they don't need any. Or, maybe they also think that it'll turn into a cluster, like the A400 did.
 
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Kiwirob
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 4:46 pm

johns624 wrote:
Kiwirob wrote:

In a sensible world the UK should be part of this as well.
Maybe they figure that with 8 C17s with a long life ahead of them, that they don't need any. Or, maybe they also think that it'll turn into a cluster, like the A400 did.


From what I have read elsewhere those 8 C-17's have been well flogged.
 
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Mortyman
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 10:17 pm

European countries has already on order 172 A400, 95 of wich have been delivered, so I'm thinking something bigger ... Time to make an offroad version of the Airbus 380 ... ;-)
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 10:39 pm

It's success really depends on what runways it is designed to be flown on, if designed for wheel loads and runway lengths of currently flying wide bodies in a high wing 4 engine configuration, a double bubble hull with a rear ramp or front swinging door, it could have a chance at some commercial success.

On the military side outside of US orders there is probably 150 orders or less, this limits the R&D cost to $15B or less. It must have a commercial component as well to succeed.

What will be the design out sized cargo - two tanks? aircraft engines and fuselage sections, or ?, do we need a 100 added AN-225's.

It would be nice to see this, but is this the top of the priority list for the EU?
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 10:42 pm

Mortyman wrote:
European countries has already on order 172 A400, 95 of wich have been delivered, so I'm thinking something bigger ... Time to make an offroad version of the Airbus 380 ... ;-)


Wow, same wing as the A380, 4 new trents, new gear, large double bubble hull. Would be PERFECT!
 
tomcat
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 11:19 pm

johns624 wrote:
The Netherlands doesn't even really have "oversize" cargo since they got rid of their Leopard 2's.


I was wondering about the helicopters operated by The Netherlands but even the Chinook and Apache can be transported by the A400M. The transport of such helicopters cannot justify the development of a new large aircraft. At best, it would require more A400M to be ordered (by the EU countries) to increase the capacity of deployment.

Various loadout options are available, from paratroopers with cargo/equipment pallets to Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) in addition to the ability to carry large Protected Mobility Vehicles (PMVs) and helicopters (including the CH-47 CHINOOK or multiple AH-64 APACHEs and various medium types).


https://euro-sd.com/2020/07/articles/18219/the-most-advanced-military-transport-plane-a400m-situation-report/
 
Noray
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 11:24 pm

Schroinx wrote:
There are some more details here. From a French perspective relying on the Ukrainian and partly Russian AN-124s for strategic transport seems to be the key point. Russia is building its own indigenous 124-copy without Ukrainian parts.
The early days of the covid pandemic also showed Russian and Chinese military transports doing the rounds with masks and flags. EUs was sometimes flown with the Ukrainian colors (yellow and blue) painted AN-124s. Covid diplomacy. There is also a signaling in having the resources to develop an indigenous aircraft for strategic airlift and putting an EU flag on it, when doing these kinds of missions.


https://news.in-24.com/news/289679.html

Note that your link is a translation (probably stolen content) of an article from the French blog Opex360.com.

Kiwirob wrote:
johns624 wrote:
This whole thing is driven by France and Germany, just like everything else in the EU. They just got Slovenia, Czechia and Netherlands to sign on as "camouflage". The Netherlands doesn't even really have "oversize" cargo since they got rid of their Leopard 2's. Yeah, I know they lease a few, but they don't count. I doubt if the other two countries are going to do any out-of-area deployments, either.


In a sensible world the UK should be part of this as well.

As it is, at this early stage, an EU project, the UK is not among the initiators. Still the official notice mentions possible Third State Participation.

Not sure where this project will lead to. Does Europe really have the requirements that will justify the development of a successor to a type of aircraft that has so far only been produced by military superpowers with global ambitions?

It could also end up as a European A350F(M) unit. Coincidentally, the A350F was announced around the same time as the PESCO project.
 
petertenthije
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 11:31 pm

johns624 wrote:
This whole thing is driven by France and Germany, just like everything else in the EU. They just got Slovenia, Czechia and Netherlands to sign on as "camouflage". The Netherlands doesn't even really have "oversize" cargo since they got rid of their Leopard 2's. Yeah, I know they lease a few, but they don't count. I doubt if the other two countries are going to do any out-of-area deployments, either.

You do realise that there is oversize cargo that is not a tank, right? It can be armoured personnel carriers, helicopters, field hospitals or just a flight with lots of small stuff.

Fact is that the RNLAF has quite a lot of heavy-lift / oversize cargo to move. My local airbase (Eindhoven) often has multiple Il-76s and/or NATO HAW C-17s flights a week. And that's not counting the C-130s, MRTTs and (till recently) the KDC-10s.
 
petertenthije
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 11:36 pm

My guess is that France and Germany will push for a locally developed aircraft, which only makes sense. Bsides, there is not much still in production anyway.

I think it will come down to either:
  • New A400s, possibly stretched.
  • A clean sheet design, but considering the money involved and the limited market for such a plane, that really seems unlikely.
  • A330-743L Beluga XL.
  • Buying up disused A380, and converting them into a new Beluga XXL viariant.

The latter two options would be strictly strategic, you're not going to get them onto a dirt strip, and even if you do you would need dedicated equipment for unloading. But then, the project is for a strategic airlifter, so that might not be a problem.
 
tomcat
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 11:43 pm

The lack of strategic airlift capability by the European countries is reminded every time troops are engaged abroad.

A quick and cheap but not so useful option would be the Beluga-XL, the A400M being used to forward the dedicated handling equipment.
The next option - a bit more expensive - would be to develop a beefed-up/optimized Beluga-XL (based on the A338?) to give it more payload and range.

If these options are not sufficient and if money is not an issue, then a true equivalent to the C-17 could be developed. For such a development, we could also imagine two budget options: one based on an off the shelf engine, another one with a dedicated EU-designed engine.
 
Noray
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Sun Jan 02, 2022 11:48 pm

tomcat wrote:
johns624 wrote:
The Netherlands doesn't even really have "oversize" cargo since they got rid of their Leopard 2's.


I was wondering about the helicopters operated by The Netherlands but even the Chinook and Apache can be transported by the A400M. The transport of such helicopters cannot justify the development of a new large aircraft. At best, it would require more A400M to be ordered (by the EU countries) to increase the capacity of deployment.

Various loadout options are available, from paratroopers with cargo/equipment pallets to Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) in addition to the ability to carry large Protected Mobility Vehicles (PMVs) and helicopters (including the CH-47 CHINOOK or multiple AH-64 APACHEs and various medium types).


https://euro-sd.com/2020/07/articles/18219/the-most-advanced-military-transport-plane-a400m-situation-report/

The CH-47 (and some other large helicopters) have to be partially dismantled in order to be transported in the A400M.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Mon Jan 03, 2022 3:40 am

Noray wrote:
It could also end up as a European A350F(M) unit. Coincidentally, the A350F was announced around the same time as the PESCO project.

We have a winner.

This looks to be a simple expansion of the Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet. A simple fleet of A350 freighters.

The media has made many assumptions and gone the wrong direction with this project. Europe is not going to make a C-17 sized aircraft just to build a dozen frames. The A400M can fit most of the oversized items and it is extremely rare to need to carry larger items. It is much easier and cheaper to rent an Antonov or dismantle the item a little further to fit inside an A400M. Spending a day putting a CH-47 together is better than $10 billion on a heavy strategic airlifter.

The A400M has less than half of the range of a A350F with a similar payload weight. When deploying to war games on the other side of the world the A400M has to many many hops. Most of the equipment could fit inside a A350F and it could fly direct in half the time.

Could Airbus fit a larger side cargo door? The A350 main deck is like 5.5m wide and 3m high at the peak.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Mon Jan 03, 2022 4:39 am

JayinKitsap wrote:

On the military side outside of US orders there is probably 150 orders or less, this limits the R&D cost to $15B or less.


The worldwide market for the C-17 was 42 aircraft outside the US and Europe. And that required a low cost driven the the US purchase. If Europe makes a C-17 or bigger type aircraft they should not expect to sell very many outside Europe. And the price per aircraft will be sky high!

The A-400 has 18 orders outside the EU (and I doubt 4 of those will ever be delivered). I see no reason to think an A-500 will sell any better.

JayinKitsap wrote:
It must have a commercial component as well to succeed.


I'm not sure if you mean sharing parts with a commercial aircraft, or selling to commercial operators. Neither will work.

Sharing parts: Military transports do not share wings, landing gear, fuselages, or tails with their commercial friends. The could share engines if you want. :-)

Selling to commercial operators: If you want to move boxes cheaply, go buy an A330/a350/777X. There is no chance this hypothetical airplane will will have lower costs than any of those. If you want to move wind turbine blades, go buy a ship. As of July 2013, there were 26 An-24s on commercial service, and no one paid what Airbus would want for any of those.
Last edited by kitplane01 on Mon Jan 03, 2022 4:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Mon Jan 03, 2022 4:51 am

Easy ... A330 Beluga XL:-)

Fly in some unloading equipment on the A400, and then Beluga XL :-)

The Beluga XL just entered service in Jan 2020 ..
 
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kitplane01
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Mon Jan 03, 2022 4:57 am

petertenthije wrote:
johns624 wrote:
This whole thing is driven by France and Germany, just like everything else in the EU. They just got Slovenia, Czechia and Netherlands to sign on as "camouflage". The Netherlands doesn't even really have "oversize" cargo since they got rid of their Leopard 2's. Yeah, I know they lease a few, but they don't count. I doubt if the other two countries are going to do any out-of-area deployments, either.

You do realise that there is oversize cargo that is not a tank, right? It can be armoured personnel carriers, helicopters, field hospitals or just a flight with lots of small stuff. .


Oversized cargo is *not* "lots of small stuff". That's just "cargo". It needs to be long, tall, or very heavy.
 
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Francoflier
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Mon Jan 03, 2022 6:58 am

Wouldn't the most sensible and cheapest solution be to pool a fleet of 748F that would be used to haul the heavy stuff between large bases? They could contract a local carrier to take care of the operation. The A400M could then carry the stuff closer to the action.
Whereas they'd still be relying on a non-EU partner for the hardware, it's a much more strategically reliable one.

Some A350F at a stretch, if they want to keep the spending withing Europe and have a bit more self-reliance, but that nose cargo door does bring a lot of flexibility and capability when it comes to bulky and weirdly shaped hardware that just wouldn't fit through a standard cargo door.

There simply won't be a need for enough frames to justify developing any sort of modified aircraft, much less a clean sheet design.
 
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ssteve
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Mon Jan 03, 2022 7:16 pm

"outsized AND heavy"

Want to have cake and eat it, too. Maybe they can wait for Starship to mature.
 
Schroinx
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Tue Jan 04, 2022 11:25 am

I doubt if any of the civilian designs work as they are too finicky for austere airfields and have no self-protection systems. Also loading a 70t tank without a loading ramp is less than ideal. Any military design will not work for civilian freight as military airframes are to costly to procure and to run compared to the civilian options. It works for a few airframes for outsized cargo, as those 124 and the 225 owned by Antonov, but not mainstream.
If they want some quick and dirty, they could pilfer as many systems, avionics, and components from existing planes and esp the A400M. Can the 380 wing be adapted to be mounted on an airframe where it is on the top of the fuselage and would it be a good idea?

The USAF wants more transports due to China, but both C-5 and C-17 is out of production. USAF would likely not buy an EU airframe, but could buy the C-17 from other operators, who then again could buy the EU plane to replace the C-17s. If the need of the USAF is great enough, they could even consider buying some but I would consider that option to be remote. A non-EU country could be the UK.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Tue Jan 04, 2022 8:52 pm

Schroinx wrote:
I doubt if any of the civilian designs work as they are too finicky for austere airfields and have no self-protection systems. Also loading a 70t tank without a loading ramp is less than ideal. Any military design will not work for civilian freight as military airframes are to costly to procure and to run compared to the civilian options. It works for a few airframes for outsized cargo, as those 124 and the 225 owned by Antonov, but not mainstream.
If they want some quick and dirty, they could pilfer as many systems, avionics, and components from existing planes and esp the A400M. Can the 380 wing be adapted to be mounted on an airframe where it is on the top of the fuselage and would it be a good idea?

The USAF wants more transports due to China, but both C-5 and C-17 is out of production. USAF would likely not buy an EU airframe, but could buy the C-17 from other operators, who then again could buy the EU plane to replace the C-17s. If the need of the USAF is great enough, they could even consider buying some but I would consider that option to be remote. A non-EU country could be the UK.

C-17 could become a hot commodity in your scenario.
Indian AF is famously unhappy with its inability to buy (at least two more) additional C-17's

Possibly other users, like the Persian Gulf countries, could look at additional frames if available, but with close of the assembly line, it all became speculative.

I suspect Canada, Australia and the UK are not keen to part with their C-17s. Am I correct you believe UK could be interested to sell theirs?

So potential sellers in scenario "USAF on second-hand shopping spree" (Qatar, Kuwait, UAE) are that same very lot, who snapped up the white-tails, when the line was closing down.
With at least one more interested party (Indian AF) waiting in the wings, should any talk of "second hand market emerges" begin, things could get interesting. Indian defense procurement has a reputation of being slow, but who knows...
 
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BawliBooch
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Tue Jan 04, 2022 11:43 pm

Most practical option seems to be to revive the A400 production. Not an exact fit but could work.

The Beluga XXL based on the A330-900 is interesting. Might help Airbus in its own work as well.

How about Airships? Not talking about rebuilding the Hindenburg. But a completely modern "Hybrid" airship designed expressly to move outsized military cargo to battlefields. Turboprop engines for economy/efficiency. Helium/other safe gas will provide enough lift to keep it off the ground but the body shape itself should generate some of the lift in cruise. Small stub wings could also be added to increase the Lift further.

Doesnt have to be too fast - 200-250 knots Cruise with 6000nm range. Giant unpressurised cargo bay in the lower half with a ramp and a pressurised section on the upper lobe able to carry around 100 passengers + crew in relative comfort.

Apart from this specific requirement, Airbus could find a market in other places. Cargo airlines might see some use. I could totally see this working here in the Canadian Artic to support mining and other operations. Could also work for year round Operations to the North Pole and Antartica.

Will this work? How much would a project like this cost?
 
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Mortyman
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Wed Jan 05, 2022 6:16 am

Restart C-17 production
 
RJMAZ
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Wed Jan 05, 2022 10:56 am

Mortyman wrote:
Restart C-17 production

The C-17B. I guess it wouldn't be the first time this has been done and it is not as silly as it sounds.

The C-5A was delivered between 1969 and 1973. Then 13 years later in 1986 they started deliveries of the C-5B.

It has only been 7 years since the last C-17 was produced. I am certain all tooling for the C-17 has been retained. The assembly line could get put in Europe. The USAF technically can't operate aircraft assembled in Europe but they could simply change the European multi-nation Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing into multiple NATO airlift wings that the USAF can use.

All existing C-17 customers would order replacements in 10 years time plus a couple extra frames.

Australia 10
Canada 7
UK 10
India 13
Kuwait 4
Qatar 10
UAE 10
France 10
Germany 10
NATO air wings 50

That is nearly 150 C-17 aircraft.
 
texl1649
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Wed Jan 05, 2022 1:08 pm

What makes you certain the tooling was retained, RJMAZ? The whole plant has been bulldozed/sold. Rand estimated it would cost $8 billion to re-start the line somewhere else, and that was many years ago. It’s wholly unlikely to happen, essentially, and even less likely for an EU requirement.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... provide-it

A (relatively) short range, rough field capable American-designed aircraft with older American engines is highly unlikely to happen, politically or operationally, for this requirement.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... long-beach
 
Schroinx
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Wed Jan 05, 2022 3:42 pm

Belugas are lifting airframe parts that are as light as the airplane itself. They may have a large volume but lift 50t.

If the French is pointing to the An-124, then lifting is like two tanks and +100-120t. I wonder what the new German-French tank weighs? A Leopard is like 60-70 tons AFAIK.

8bn$ for a restart of the C-17 line. That's not likely to happen. Also, technology development is much faster today than in the past, so things age faster.

If the US is not a partner, I would assume they would make it non-US/European, to avoid US export controls. Alternatively, if they are part of it, they could likely go the route as with the MRTT, with assembly and partnering with LM or one of the others, or assemble them in the Airbus facility in the US. 50-70-100 airframes are also something and throw US engines in the bag as well for the US version.

Interesting that there are so many C-17. That makes a possible to reselling of some of them to USAF. Even 40 or 60 airframes would mean a larger market for the SATOC. Those that will be retired in ten years can also be replaced by the SATOC. I would also think India could be using more. 10 C-17s is not a lot for such a large country and they have been pulling punches in the Himalayas with China, and that is where there are few roads.

Likely some could also be procured by the EU and put into an EU military unit. I think part of the plan is to become independent of others in situations like the evacuation of Kabul. These airframes would be in addition to the others and could also be used for the smaller countries in EU.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Wed Jan 05, 2022 4:34 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
Mortyman wrote:
Restart C-17 production

The C-17B. I guess it wouldn't be the first time this has been done and it is not as silly as it sounds.

The C-5A was delivered between 1969 and 1973. Then 13 years later in 1986 they started deliveries of the C-5B.

It has only been 7 years since the last C-17 was produced. I am certain all tooling for the C-17 has been retained. The assembly line could get put in Europe. The USAF technically can't operate aircraft assembled in Europe but they could simply change the European multi-nation Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing into multiple NATO airlift wings that the USAF can use.

All existing C-17 customers would order replacements in 10 years time plus a couple extra frames.

Australia 10
Canada 7
UK 10
India 13
Kuwait 4
Qatar 10
UAE 10
France 10
Germany 10
NATO air wings 50

That is nearly 150 C-17 aircraft.

The tooling for C-17 production was publicly and openly auctioned off, piecemeal, to the highest bidders.
The plant was turned over to real estate pros' for reuse/redevelopment.

In contrast, C-5A tooling was officially preserved, and US Govt paid money for both mothballing procedure, and for safekeeping afterwards. Until restart, that is.
 
Noray
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Wed Jan 05, 2022 4:39 pm

BawliBooch wrote:
Most practical option seems to be to revive the A400 production. Not an exact fit but could work.

No need to revive something that is alive and will be, according to current plans, at least until 2030.

The reason why the SATOC project was started is that, in spite of owning the A400M, France and Germany still need to hire C-17s or AN-124s from other nations for certain tasks.

If a new type of aircraft is built, it needs to have a fuselage cross section larger than the A400M and a higher max payload.

So, maybe: An upscaled A400m with fuselage elements and engines from the A350? Or with six TP400 engines?
 
mxaxai
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Wed Jan 05, 2022 8:08 pm

Noray wrote:
Or with six TP400 engines?

I don't think anybody is going to choose the TP400 when alternatives exist. Sure, it's a powerful and very advanced engine that serves the A400M well, but it's expensive to buy, operate and maintain, and the corporate/political structure behind it is too complex to turn it into a commercially viable product. Too many conflicting interests.
 
johns624
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Wed Jan 05, 2022 8:23 pm

Noray wrote:

The reason why the SATOC project was started is that, in spite of owning the A400M, France and Germany still need to hire C-17s or AN-124s from other nations for certain tasks.

Maybe they should've bought the C17 when they had the chance instead of thinking that the A400 would do everything they needed.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Wed Jan 05, 2022 10:33 pm

Phosphorus wrote:
The tooling for C-17 production was publicly and openly auctioned off, piecemeal, to the highest bidders.
The plant was turned over to real estate pros' for reuse/redevelopment.

Not exactly. They did a RAND study and kept all C-17 specific custom tooling. Lots of the tooling that was sold off is generic and can be purchased again and delivered to a new assemble line very quickly. These generic tools can then be sold afterwards to get back the money.

Selling the old factory is no issue as there are hundreds of buildings around the world that can fit a C-17 assembly line.
 
Noray
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Wed Jan 05, 2022 10:38 pm

johns624 wrote:
Noray wrote:

The reason why the SATOC project was started is that, in spite of owning the A400M, France and Germany still need to hire C-17s or AN-124s from other nations for certain tasks.

Maybe they should've bought the C17 when they had the chance instead of thinking that the A400 would do everything they needed.

This could have been an option if the US had bought a considerable number of A400Ms in exchange. The A400M has always been on the verge of losing money for Airbus, so they required a minimum number of aircraft for the contract. 10 C-17s for Europe would have meant maybe 20 less A400Ms and the end of the project. By ignoring its strategic airlift gap, Europe was protecting the A400M, just as the US is protecting its own industry. (Just my opinion.)

In the SATOC context, I wouldn't just be looking at the C-17. An aircraft of the AN-124 class can carry much more, has capabilities possibly also useful for the (German) mechanical engineering industry.
 
johns624
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 12:20 am

Noray wrote:
johns624 wrote:
Noray wrote:

The reason why the SATOC project was started is that, in spite of owning the A400M, France and Germany still need to hire C-17s or AN-124s from other nations for certain tasks.

Maybe they should've bought the C17 when they had the chance instead of thinking that the A400 would do everything they needed.

This could have been an option if the US had bought a considerable number of A400Ms in exchange. The A400M has always been on the verge of losing money for Airbus, so they required a minimum number of aircraft for the contract. 10 C-17s for Europe would have meant maybe 20 less A400Ms and the end of the project. By ignoring its strategic airlift gap, Europe was protecting the A400M, just as the US is protecting its own industry. (Just my opinion.)

In the SATOC context, I wouldn't just be looking at the C-17. An aircraft of the AN-124 class can carry much more, has capabilities possibly also useful for the (German) mechanical engineering industry.
The A400 wouldn't have brought anything new to the US inventory. We do buy foreign products when we don't have anything for the role, such as the Harrier, Beretta M92, FREMM frigates, Mowag wheeled combat vehicles, etc.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 12:41 am

Noray wrote:
The A400M has always been on the verge of losing money for Airbus, so they required a minimum number of aircraft for the contract. 10 C-17s for Europe would have meant maybe 20 less A400Ms and the end of the project. By ignoring its strategic airlift gap, Europe was protecting the A400M, just as the US is protecting its own industry. (Just my opinion.)

I disagree. The airlifter market is like a pyramid. The smaller you go in size the more airlifters are required. If France and Germany purchased 10 C-17's each I am sure the A400M would have become a smaller design and sold in MUCH higher numbers. Their industry would still have been protected and they would now have the perfect sized aircraft to replace the C-160.

Europe could have taken the C-130J dimensions as a starting point. Widen the fuselage a foot to fix its biggest flaw. Take the existing Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 engines and increase the thrust and fuel efficiency by 10% as it would enter service 10+ years after the C-130J. Fit it with 8 blade props. The end result would be a 25t payload aircraft with a MTOW of 80t.

The vast majority of C-130 operators would have loved to upgrade to such an aircraft compared to the much larger A400M. Embraer would never have started their project if they were to be the third product in that sized segment.

The A400M will end production in 10 years and the industry won't be protected. A smaller airlifter could have remained in production for 50 years. So purchasing the C-17 would have been the best thing to protect European industry but they are very narrow minded.
 
Noray
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 1:52 am

johns624 wrote:
The A400 wouldn't have brought anything new to the US inventory. We do buy foreign products when we don't have anything for the role, such as the Harrier, Beretta M92, FREMM frigates, Mowag wheeled combat vehicles, etc.

That of course is the perfect mindset for someone who wants to start an international deal.

RJMAZ wrote:
Noray wrote:
The A400M has always been on the verge of losing money for Airbus, so they required a minimum number of aircraft for the contract. 10 C-17s for Europe would have meant maybe 20 less A400Ms and the end of the project. By ignoring its strategic airlift gap, Europe was protecting the A400M, just as the US is protecting its own industry. (Just my opinion.)

I disagree. The airlifter market is like a pyramid. The smaller you go in size the more airlifters are required. If France and Germany purchased 10 C-17's each I am sure the A400M would have become a smaller design and sold in MUCH higher numbers. Their industry would still have been protected and they would now have the perfect sized aircraft to replace the C-160.

Europe could have taken the C-130J dimensions as a starting point. Widen the fuselage a foot to fix its biggest flaw. Take the existing Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 engines and increase the thrust and fuel efficiency by 10% as it would enter service 10+ years after the C-130J. Fit it with 8 blade props. The end result would be a 25t payload aircraft with a MTOW of 80t.

The vast majority of C-130 operators would have loved to upgrade to such an aircraft compared to the much larger A400M. Embraer would never have started their project if they were to be the third product in that sized segment.

The A400M will end production in 10 years and the industry won't be protected. A smaller airlifter could have remained in production for 50 years. So purchasing the C-17 would have been the best thing to protect European industry but they are very narrow minded.

For my taste, you're digging too far into the realm of the imagination. We're not in 1997 anymore, and there's no chance to change the requirements that formed the A400M, like carrying the 28.5 tonnes VBCI or the 30 tonnes Terrier Armoured Digger.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 6:46 am

Schroinx wrote:
Belugas are lifting airframe parts that are as light as the airplane itself. They may have a large volume but lift 50t.

If the French is pointing to the An-124, then lifting is like two tanks and +100-120t. I wonder what the new German-French tank weighs? A Leopard is like 60-70 tons AFAIK.

8bn$ for a restart of the C-17 line. That's not likely to happen. Also, technology development is much faster today than in the past, so things age faster.

If the US is not a partner, I would assume they would make it non-US/European, to avoid US export controls. Alternatively, if they are part of it, they could likely go the route as with the MRTT, with assembly and partnering with LM or one of the others, or assemble them in the Airbus facility in the US. 50-70-100 airframes are also something and throw US engines in the bag as well for the US version.

Interesting that there are so many C-17. That makes a possible to reselling of some of them to USAF. Even 40 or 60 airframes would mean a larger market for the SATOC. Those that will be retired in ten years can also be replaced by the SATOC. I would also think India could be using more. 10 C-17s is not a lot for such a large country and they have been pulling punches in the Himalayas with China, and that is where there are few roads.

Likely some could also be procured by the EU and put into an EU military unit. I think part of the plan is to become independent of others in situations like the evacuation of Kabul. These airframes would be in addition to the others and could also be used for the smaller countries in EU.



Has the USAF ever bought used aircraft from another nation that we supplied, and then operated it? How customized are the C-17s we supplied others?

(Even if it's never happened it could. I was just wondering.)
 
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kitplane01
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 6:50 am

Noray wrote:
johns624 wrote:
Noray wrote:

The reason why the SATOC project was started is that, in spite of owning the A400M, France and Germany still need to hire C-17s or AN-124s from other nations for certain tasks.

Maybe they should've bought the C17 when they had the chance instead of thinking that the A400 would do everything they needed.

This could have been an option if the US had bought a considerable number of A400Ms in exchange. The A400M has always been on the verge of losing money for Airbus, so they required a minimum number of aircraft for the contract. 10 C-17s for Europe would have meant maybe 20 less A400Ms and the end of the project. By ignoring its strategic airlift gap, Europe was protecting the A400M, just as the US is protecting its own industry. (Just my opinion.)

In the SATOC context, I wouldn't just be looking at the C-17. An aircraft of the AN-124 class can carry much more, has capabilities possibly also useful for the (German) mechanical engineering industry.


As of 2018, Airbus had written of 8 billion Euros, with I assume more coming. It's nothing like "verging on losing money".

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-43069630
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 7:05 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Has the USAF ever bought used aircraft from another nation that we supplied, and then operated it? How customized are the C-17s we supplied others?

(Even if it's never happened it could. I was just wondering.)


F-21? Not the USAF, but it's not like they operate under different procurement rules than the other services.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 10:53 am

My dream would be for the west to have one strategic airlifter that could permanently remain in production.

The C-17 production lasted 24 years. Had they slowed down the production rate to 75% then it would have lasted 32 years. This means it would still be in production today producing the last few aircraft. It would only take a few additional orders to reach the point where the USAF starts to replace the early build C-17's.

The west should not repeat this mistake. The USAF developing a new strategic airlifter every few decades with a new production line is wasteful. Give France and Germany more than their fair share of workshare and they will back a global strategic airlifter program with a US production line. France brings with it many potential customers and these customers are needed to reach the next replacement cycle.

A pair of Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines would power a C-17 sized aircraft very nicely. Skip the crazy STOL and gravel runway requirements and the development, purchase and operating costs should be great.
 
Schroinx
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 11:21 am

I think we Europeans generally lack more overall planning and long-term planning for keeping our airframes alive over the decades as the US has managed to do. If the A400 had been closer to the 130 in size, then the market would likely have been much bigger. The A400 is specced in a time, where we did not need more strategic airlift than it could provide together with the few handfuls of European C-17s and a few rented An-124s. When did it start, 15 years ago? Time has changed with EU engagement in Afghanistan, North Africa and also the Indo-Pacific. Also there is now more focus on EU doing its own thing and not buying US gear.

https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... y-aircraft

The A400 is here to stay, so the other EU airlift capabilities will be built around it. For the heavy and long haul, it will be the SATOC with something like 80-120 tons, for the medium the A400 with 37t and finally the FMTC in the low end with app 10-20t. With their C-17s and A400s the RAF has chosen to retire their 130s.

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1454589

Regarding design and engines. The An-124 is mentioned, and it is a slightly refined concept of the C-5, so speculating that it is something like that we should expect. No revolutions but rather rely on existing concepts and mature them further. The 124 does not have a pressurized cargo hold, which is the standard today, so it won't do. Also engine-wise I also think four turbofans with large bypass is on the menu and not propellers. Likely something that already exists in EU.
They could work with Antonov to learn all the lessons from the 124 and to use some of its solutions.
 
Noray
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Re: SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 3:38 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
Noray wrote:
johns624 wrote:
Maybe they should've bought the C17 when they had the chance instead of thinking that the A400 would do everything they needed.

This could have been an option if the US had bought a considerable number of A400Ms in exchange. The A400M has always been on the verge of losing money for Airbus, so they required a minimum number of aircraft for the contract. 10 C-17s for Europe would have meant maybe 20 less A400Ms and the end of the project. By ignoring its strategic airlift gap, Europe was protecting the A400M, just as the US is protecting its own industry. (Just my opinion.)

In the SATOC context, I wouldn't just be looking at the C-17. An aircraft of the AN-124 class can carry much more, has capabilities possibly also useful for the (German) mechanical engineering industry.


As of 2018, Airbus had written of 8 billion Euros, with I assume more coming. It's nothing like "verging on losing money".

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-43069630

That's after all the delays and cost overruns they had. My point is the situation when the A400M contract was signed around 2001/2003. In the mid-90s, the participating countries were talking about an order of 300 aircraft. As it came closer to signing, that number was sinking below 200, and some possible participants like Italy had left the programme. So Airbus said order at least 180 or forget about the fixed price contract.
 
texl1649
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 4:29 pm

Obviously Airbus can’t wait to be finished with the A400 production/write offs. A firm commitment to the specs, and number of frames, as well as the production years is needed for this next transport as soon as possible so it doesn’t just marsh-mellow around for 3 decades before becoming a boondoggle. Outside of the C-130 (did someone mention eternally in production?), military airlifters tend to wind up taking longer/being a lot more expensive than hoped/originally planned.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 4:51 pm

Does anyone know what oversized items Europe is transporting by air?

The description says "strategic transport of outsized and heavy". This does not say the A400M can't already carry outsized and heavy cargo but could simply mean it can't transport it strategic distances.

I actually think Europe rents the AN-124 mainly because they are incredibly low cost. It would not surprise me if the loads could be split between three or so A400M aircraft and they could just do an extra refueling stop. So in this case it simply comes down to a range and operating cost issue of the A400M.

It could be the same with the C-17. The C-17 can fly slightly more than double the payload weight the same distance. Three C-17 flight would be much cheaper than seven A400M flights.

If it is only a range issue and not a cargo bay size issue then an extended range A400M could be an option here. It is much easier to add range than making the entire fuselage wider. The A400M at MTOW has an incredibly short takeoff run of less than 1,000m. The C-17 at MTOW requires 2,500m!

Now if Airbus removed the austere, tactical and short runway requirements it could significantly increase range. Fit some higher speed rated tyres and the A400M has enough excess thrust that it could easily takeoff at 160t MTOW in a shorter distance than a C-17 at MTOW. Weight saved from removing the austere runway requirement could be spent on increasing the MTOW. Bringing the G limit from the 3G tactical rating down to 2.5G strategic rating would reduce the peak load allowing the MTOW to increase.

The A400M has a very heavy empty weight as a proportion of the MTOW compared to other airlifters so I think it has headroom. With a 160t MTOW it can now carry max payload and max fuel at the same time. Range has been increased by approximately 50% with any given payload. Add some big winglets as they usually work well on longer flight lengths. Now the operating cost comparison with the C-17 has been reversed. Three A400ER flights would be cheaper than two C-17 flights.

With 90+% commonality with the existing A400M fleet developing an A400ER could be an option.

In theory the A400M could evolve all the way up to a 200t MTOW. The landing gear is very strong and has a low pavement loading so this is not a limiting factor. Thrust is also not a limiting factor. The wing would simply need to be made longer. All of the extra span could be added in the tip section of the wing with adding strengthening through the wing and central wingbox. The better fuel efficiency of a turboprop should allow a 200t MTOW A400M to get mighty close to the range of a 265t C-17ER. The C-17ER can carry the A400M max payload approximately 5,000nm while the A400M can carry it only 1,800nm. A 200t MTOW A400M could carry it 4,000+nm. Commonality might still be 80+% and development cost would be low enough that they would only need 50 frames to cover the cost.
 
Noray
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 5:15 pm

texl1649 wrote:
Obviously Airbus can’t wait to be finished with the A400 production/write offs. A firm commitment to the specs, and number of frames, as well as the production years is needed for this next transport as soon as possible so it doesn’t just marsh-mellow around for 3 decades before becoming a boondoggle.

The usual wishful thinking ... I haven't seen any clear evidence that Airbus is involved here yet. SATOC may even just result in putting SALIS on a more sound base.
The A400M programme has now got a sound base with the latest contract amendments, the UK may order some more ...

texl1649 wrote:
Outside of the C-130 (did someone mention eternally in production?), military airlifters tend to wind up taking longer/being a lot more expensive than hoped/originally planned.

Outside of the C-130?
 
johns624
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 5:26 pm

I find it "interesting" that the USAF wants more C17s because I seem to remember that they originally didn't want as many as they got but were forced to by Congress.
Last edited by johns624 on Thu Jan 06, 2022 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
mxaxai
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Re: EU SATOC - Strategic Air Transport for Outsized Cargo

Thu Jan 06, 2022 5:27 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
Does anyone know what oversized items Europe is transporting by air?

  • Helicopters (NH-90, Tiger, CH-53)
  • Large vehicles and AFVs (Canada used them to bring some Leopard 2 tanks to Afghanistan, probably the heaviest piece of cargo these aircraft saw)
  • Food, supplies and small arms
  • Face masks (for COVID)
  • Memorial stones (at least 1)
  • Shipping and medical containers

The original SALIS contract cost approx. $15,000 - $20,000 per FH. I doubt that there's a cheaper option per tonne of cargo. Buying some C-17 was considered in the past but has usually been dismissed for cost reasons. There's only the shared NATO SAC fleet equipped with 3 C-17. In addition, USAF C-17 regularly transport equipment for other NATO members (not for free, though).

They're also civilian aircraft, so you can avoid the political issues that come with military equipment in foreign states.

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