KC-30 performing well for Australia; Boeing C17, Lockheed C130, Alenia C27J

The Airbus KC-30 is performing well, according to this article. Here is a PDF of the report referenced in the article: Airbus Tanker Proves Its Worth

The same writer prepared this piece on transport aircraft, including the Boeing C17, Lockheed C130 and Alenia C27J (purchased and subsequently rejected by the US DOD).

118 Comments on “KC-30 performing well for Australia; Boeing C17, Lockheed C130, Alenia C27J

  1. If Germany and France had not opposed EU could have had a decent C17 fleet by now, if EU wants to make a difference airlift is needed. C17 is soon going out of production and then it is too late, the old ukranian gear arent getting any younger either.

    There is probably some maniac french politician who thinks EU should make its own C17 at 5 times the cost and 20 years of pulling hairs..

    This “can do too” is hurting this continent IMO. 20-25 C17ER in a shared EU pool would have been a great asset to have, as we saw in 2004, airlift can become tight when a major distater happens and USAF is turning its back on EU more and more. C17/A4000M/C27s would have made this continent a lot more powerful in a future conflict/ mega disaster.

    • Could you show me one project were “can do better” was detrimental?

      You don’t get rich from buying stuff. ( Well, an exception might be baksheesh from Lockheed ?)

      Anyway it would be the wrong “strength”. “Strong” US foreign interventionist activities are a downward spiral into a storm of regularly unanticipated blowback.
      We see that destroying civilizedness is much easier than actually turning things to the better.

    • en590swe :
      If Germany and France had not opposed EU could have had a decent C17 fleet by now, if EU wants to make a difference airlift is needed. [...]
      C17 is soon going out of production and then it is too late, the old ukranian gear arent getting any younger either.

      Be that as it may, the following should be borne in mind:
      There is no joint EU military, nor joint defense procurement.
      Every country can make its own decisions in this regard. As is evident by the fact that the UK did buy C-17s (as well as A400Ms).
      Of course, EU member states (like any other set of states) are also free to jointly issue RFPs in varying groups – see Eurofighter Typhoon, A400M, Transall C-160, Saab JAS 39 and probably a few more if you look into it (JSF would come to mind if you look beyond the EU).

      Summary: There is no EU-wide decision-making on military purchases. If a country did not buy C-17s, it was their own decision not to, based on strategic as well as budgetary considerations.

      en590swe :
      There is probably some maniac french politician who thinks EU should make its own C17 at 5 times the cost and 20 years of pulling hairs..

      I know it’s a common misperception, so I’ll just repeat a simple statement again:
      EU != France and France != EU
      A primary example of an EU-wide collaboration that competes with US products would be the Eurofighter Typhoon – which France has no part in.
      If a country wants C-17s they are, like the UK, free to buy them. Boeing marketed the C-17 to various EU countries besides the UK, including Germany and France, but the UK was always seen as the most likely customer given the mission profile and global commitments of its military.

      en590swe :
      This “can do too” is hurting this continent IMO. 20-25 C17ER in a shared EU pool would have been a great asset to have, as we saw in 2004, airlift can become tight when a major distater happens and USAF is turning its back on EU more and more.

      See above – there is no “shared EU pool” for military equipment. Countries may help each other out with equipment on a case-by-case basis, but there is no shared EU pool, and there is no EU military force.
      Furthermore, at least in Germany (not sure about the situation in other EU countries) it is not one of the military’s primary roles to provide assistance in the case of disasters (neither domestically nor abroad). Procuring a fleet of planes for which it has no strategical need just so they have emergency lift capacity in case of a disaster would certainly come under heavy scrutiny in the Bundestag (as did the increasing costs for the A400M, by the way).
      Hiring equipment that isn’t frequently required on an “as needed” basis is seen as more cost-efficient given the Bundeswehr’s needs.

      en590swe :C17/A4000M/C27s would have made this continent a lot more powerful in a future conflict/ mega disaster.

      Well, you can rest easy. Between them, the EU countries have (or will have, as some orders are still awaiting delivery): 8 C-17s, 160 A400Ms and 33 C-27s.
      (Never mind that the whole mindset of wanting to be “more powerful in a future conflict” kind of eludes me anyway, and is also somewhat opposed to at least the Bundeswehr’s constitutional role, which is that of a defense force in the true sense of the word.)

      • You forgot there are 12 European nations, including at least 1 EU member state, plus the US, that are part of SAC (Strategic Airlift Capability), which has (at least) 4 C-17As. Also NATO is also a “European Air Force” (that also includes Canada and the US) with its E-3As, even though France and the UK have there own E-3D/Fs.

  2. “Europe will have a large capable transport-tanker fleet in few yrs.” Yeah, don’t mention the A-400M should have had an IOC 5 years ago. Don’t mention that is is not as capable as the first orders of it said it should be because EADS pitched a fit about the difficulty of building such capabilities (like low level TFR), or they could no longer build the basic version for the original price. Don’t mention the A-400 has less than half the payload capability of the C-17. Don’t mention the new price increase (up to 50%) does not include spares, maintenance, or training. Don’t mention that the RAAF and RAF are so unhappy with their C-17s that each has ordered additional airplanes. Don’t mention that India didn’t even consider the A-400 because of the lack of capability, price (including the new extra price for exported aircraft), or availability. Don’t mention the combinaion of the C-17ER and C-130J (including the C-130J-30 version are in high demand around the world, and no body is really looking to buy any (or more) A-400Ms.

    Now the KC-30. Wow, 71 sorties in a month? That’s about two sorties a day from a 4 airplane fleet. Yeap, it is burning up the skies, isn’t it. IOC by the end of 2012? Yet, it is not going to be certified in all of its sytems, the primary air refueling system (the Boom) or the defensives system. It is BS that the KC-30, which carries about 245,000 lbs of total fuel can drag 6 fighters (F/A-18A/B) from Austraila to the US in one day. A bear bones A-330 can not do that, it has to land somewhere on many days due to winds. The KC-30 can offload more fuel and be on station longer than a KC-10 can? ROTFLMAO. The KC-30 only has a 20% more offload capabilit than the KC-135R, the KC-10 has a 40% more offload capability than the KC-135.

    I will say the rejection of the C-27Js by the USAF is a political statement. The airplane is very capable in small paylaod airlifting, and it is cheap to operate. The USAF never wanted it to begin with. It was originally a US Army program the USAF took over, and the Army still wants and needs it.

    • don’t mention the birthing pains of the C-17, ignore the fact that the KC-10 burns a lot more fuel and can deliver far less fuel at distance and over time than indicated by the maximum fuel load

      haven’t we done these discussions ad nausea during the KC-X?

      • ikkeman :
        don’t mention the birthing pains of the C-17, ignore the fact that the KC-10 burns a lot more fuel and can deliver far less fuel at distance and over time than indicated by the maximum fuel load
        haven’t we done these discussions ad nausea during the KC-X?

        Not everybody, it appears ;-)

    • kc135topboom :
      “Europe will have a large capable transport-tanker fleet in few yrs.” Yeah, don’t mention the A-400M should have had an IOC 5 years ago.

      Thanks indeed for pointing that out again. As if cost overruns and delays on military programmes had not been discussed to death already here and elsewhere.

      As for the rest of your A400M comments: Why do you keep harping on about the A400M in pretty much every military-related post? The A400M wasn’t even mentioned in Scott’s initial post. The subject was the Australian Air Force’s KC-30s, the first of its kind to enter service, which after the first year of operations they are apparently quite happy with. Going by the impression you generally try to create should be completely and utterly impossible.
      So now you’re disputing the words of the same people that also declare that they’re thrilled with their C-17s, which in turn I don’t think you have a hard time accepting.

      • It was keesje that brought up the subject of the A-400M. I am sorry that I dispute the words of the RAAF about the KC-30. But I was in the air refueling business for a very long time, an entire career. What they said just doesn’t pass the smell test. IOC for a military airplane is suppose to be the point where the airplane can fly its full primary mission, the crews and maintenance are trained, and it is fully intergrated into the nation’s war planning. The KC-30 will not be there for atleast another year or so.

        Yes, ikkeman, the KC-10 does burn more fuel than the KC-30 (probibly) does, but it also carries more than 100,000 lbs more fuel than the KC-30. On very long ranged mission (4000 nm +) the KC-135R has a higher offload capability than the KC-10 does, assuming neither has offloaded any fuel to that point. The C-17 growing pains seemed to disappear after MD was bought out by Boeing in 1997.

      • kc135topboom :
        But I was in the air refueling business for a very long time, an entire career. What they said just doesn’t pass the smell test.

        I’m in a pretty competitive industry as well – IT storage – and I know the sentiment.
        Quite frequently you get statements from various parties that seem hard to believe, but for which there is usually a good explanation one way or another.
        If anything it’s taught me not to dismiss claims off-hand, as a clear “impossible!” usually just means you don’t have all the information about assumptions, specific use-cases, customer requirements etc. to gauge how realistic/achievable a certain number is.

        • When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

          Arthur C. Clarke, Clarke’s first law

          Experienced oldtimers will seldom progress beyond refining existing capabilities.
          Not everybody is a Hugo Junkers, Felix Kracht or Roger Béteille or ( Kelly Johnson at that )

  3. No comment on the snafu in the pdf, it shows a 737 top hat? getting fuel from an KC-135… under an article titled Airbus tanker proves its worth.

    • ikkeman :
      No comment on the snafu in the pdf, it shows a 737 top hat? getting fuel from an KC-135… under an article titled Airbus tanker proves its worth.

      In fairness, the photo caption does not suggest that an A330MRTT is shown, it just generally says something about the purpose of in-air-refuelling.

      • Yes, but there was a to do about the local politician lady that started her election ad with A320 footage.

  4. Keesje, Get a life! You repeatedly throw out numbers that are ridiculous. In the link that YOU provided above it tells you exactly what Australia paid for the A/C. Quote:

    “June 19/12: Boeing in Long Beach, CA wins a $171.5 million firm-fixed-price contract to buy 1 base C-17A aircraft. Boeing has confirmed to DID that this order is for Australia”

    Now, if you don’t understand the difference between a contract that covers the just the A/C cost and one that Includes sustainment… i.e., support, training, additional equipment/systems and accompanying spares, etc. That is another matter??

    Maybe next time… we can compare apples to apples cost estimates between the C-17A and A400M. I suspect, what you will find is that the A-400M is the more expensive option if just considering A/C unit cost.

    • The French Senat said as much several years ago. The cost of an A400M is now upwards of $205M just for the base aircraft (again, based on the French Senat reports). Throw in all that other stuff and you get a very expensive airplane that is half as capable as a C-17, and operationally, about the same as a C-130J-30. The current A400M can’t even carry one of Germany’s Pumas, which was a basic requirement.

  5. Observer:

    Australia: “In March 2006, the Australian government announced that the Australian Defence Forces would acquire up to 4 new Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlift planes and associated equipment for A$ 2 billion ($1.49 billion then conversion).”
    Canada: http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/david_akin/2011/01/12/16864811.html
    India: http://www.stratpost.com/iaf-c-17-price-confusion-clarified
    Qatar Oops: http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/Kuwait-the-Latest-Gulf-State-in-the-C-17-Club-06600/

    I guess you have the picture. You can google the additional support contracts yourself.

    The C27J seems a capable small transport indeed, specially the high cabin and engines/cockpit commonality with the C130J, are the US aircraft going to Australia? Or where are they going otherwise?

    • As far as I know, no decision has been made by the USAF of where the C-27Js will go. I only know they don’t want them to go to the US Army, even though the Army already has some. It looks like the SecDef and/or Congress will have to decide since the C-27Js already in the ANG are bought and paid for. The USAF has canceled the contract for the remainder of the airplanes after airplane #38 (original contract was for 78 airplanes). The USAF wishes to place all current USAF/ANG C-27Js with the USCG.

      FEMA has a beddown plan for the 38 C-27Js at ANG and/or Army NG units. But this plan is morethan2 years old. I don’t know if it is still the current FEMA plan, or not.

      http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj10/sum10/06conway.html

      The 10 C-27Js bought by the RAAF will be new builds directly from Alenia Aeronautica but purchased through the US by FMS. This sounds like an addition was added to the USAF contract. These aircraft will never where the US roundels.

      http://www.airforce-technology.com/news/newsraaf-confirms-c-27j-spartan-purchase

      Here is a little background on the entire C-27J program, including who bought how many and when they bought tham and began taking deliveries.

      http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/spartan/

  6. Keesje:

    I have YOUR picture! You throw out comprehensive contract numbers for the C-17A (that Include sustainment for years!… Again… support, training, additional equipment/systems and accompanying spares, flight simulators and such. And attempt to compare it to the unit cost of the A400M… By saying it costs more twice as much as the A400M.

    Now lets have a quick look at the A400M program shall we….

    The initial program cost were stated to be 20B Euro’s for 180 A/C, entering service beginning 2009. That’s 111.11M Euro’s per A/C ($144.37M today’s dollars).

    by early 2010, they had added some 5-7B Euro’s to the program (delays, cost overruns, write off’s and renegotiated contract). At the same time, it was stated that the program was costing more then 100M Euro’s per month (other sources said 1 to 1.5B Euro’s a year).

    So I guess we can add the costs before delivery 3-4B Euro’s (2010-13) to the above costs?? To keep it simple lets just round it off to 30B Euro’s… That’s 166.66M per A/C ($216.54M). Or we could use Spain’s 2010 budget numbers for the A400M? 5,493B Euro’s for their 27 A/C. Equals 203M Euro’s per A/C ($263.76M)

    But wait there’s more… They’re not building 180 A/C anymore, only 170. And Germany wants to dump another 13 A/C. (Good luck with that)… This will only drive the costs higher. One only has to look at cost increases on the F-35 program, when the productions numbers decrease.

    And don’t forget to add your A400M sustainment costs!! That should at least double your unit costs… Particularly, because of the more then average percent of European made content of this A/C, that must be paid for in Euro’s.

    Just a guess… But, a similar contract like Australia’s original 4 A/C C-17A contract would probably be 30-50% higher for the A400M. Apples to apples… ;)

    • Project cost for customers is 25b€ that is 170 frames @ 147m€
      Airbus had to absorb ~5b€. This is not a “cost plus” style contract.

      • Fair enough Uwe, but that initial customer price is not what a foreign customer would have to pay…You can be sure of that!

        And there is still the sustainment bill. BTW, 147m€ is still higher then Australia paid for their last A/C.

  7. Observer :
    Fair enough Uwe, but that initial customer price is not what a foreign customer would have to pay…You can be sure of that!
    And there is still the sustainment bill. BTW, 147m€ is still higher then Australia paid for their last A/C.

    Interesting question.
    After having delivered this (first) 170 frames block the project is in theory at “break even”, isn’t it?

    So you can get A400M for production cost + Airbus and the EU governments each “wetting their beak”. Should be quite flexible depending on customer and politics of the day. ( Just like the US does, right?)

    • You have the first part right “In theory”… But unfortunately, the costs continue to grow. And remember this A/C isn’t coming out of the chute with all the bells and whistles that were originally contracted for. Just a box carrier to begin with… And more funding will be required to bring it to the originally contract specs. So no, not like the US so much…

      • I am aware that this is reversed for the US ;-)

        Anyway: How is the US government investment
        in developing the cC17 “Cost plus” handled?

        My understanding was that these aircraft are
        funneled through government procuring?

      • http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/C-17s-for-India-05924/

        see
        Dec 12/11: Budget. Indian defense minister Antony answers a Parliamentary question, and confirms key details about India’s first 10 C-17s:

        “Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) have been signed with the Government of the United States (USG) for the procurement of ten C-17 Globemaster aircraft as well as six C-130J aircraft along with associated equipment for the Indian Air Force (IAF) The estimated cost of the procurement of the C-17 aircraft is US $ 4.116 billion…. The cost at which the aircraft is being supplied to India is commensurate with the cost at which C-17 aircraft is supplied to the United States Air Force and its allies. All ten C-17 aircraft and their associated equipment are expected to be delivered to the IAF between June 2013 and June 2015.”

        • Sales through the US FMS program are either government to government sales (including sales of military equipment purchased by the US for later sales to forign militaries), or approval by the US Government for sales directly from the vender. The IAF C-17/C-130J/CH-47F sale was through FMS.

      • The vast majority of aircraft sales to foreign countries are handled by the FMS (Foreign Military Sales) office of the DOD. They provide contract compliance, oversite, support at the FAL and most importantly the ability to invoke DAR (Defense Acquisition Regulations) which require the contractor to open their books to audit. It also results in lower contract profit on the contract.
        The choice of buying through FMS or a commercial contract is the customers. Commercial contracts do require permission of the U.S. Government to sell arms to another country.

      • Oops! Sorry for the duplicate answer to the FMS question. I must have been typing when KC135 was posting.

      • It should also be noted that FMS sales are not restricted to only for US manufactured equipment. A couple of recent examples are the Mi-171 helicopters purchased for Iraq and Afghanistan.

  8. Actually you don’t have “breakeven” on the A400M yet. Airbus hasn’t delivered one and there is nothing to keep Airbus from coming back to renegotiate the “fixed price” contract once again. If the customers want the planes, which at this point is somewhat questionable, they will have to cough up additional money. Since Germany and France are the controlling shareholders they really have no choice but to pay something more since they would be litigating themselves in case of a default.
    At this time the unit airframe cost of an A400M is about the same as a C-17, which then brings up the question of value for the money. I don’t believe anyone, but perhaps Uwe, would argue the C-17’s superior performance and capability to be the better value.

    • You are ignoring the qualifications I made on the “break even” statement.
      i.e. “.. When the initial 170 frames block is delivered .. ”
      Your objections are void in that context.

      C17:
      I have doubts that FMS is just a clearinghouse activity.
      I expect that institution to add “license markup” in the regular run of things.
      Often zero for political reasons.

      • Again, you don’t know jack. Your characterization of FMS is flawed, but that’s to be expected from you and your knee jerk Anti-Americanism.

  9. EADS better hope and pray that they get the A400M resolved and delivered in quantity and at a reasonable price overrun before Kawasaki gets the C-2 and YCX into production. A Boeing + GE + Kawasaki C2 export variant tie-up would pretty much kill the A400M. That is assuming the Boeing + EMB tie-up on the KC-390 doesn’t kill the A400M first.

    • LOL. It looks as if the A400M is the target of the same vitriol as was directed at the A380, and unsurprisingly coming from the usual culprits. EADS must certainly have hit a sensitive nerve somewhere…..

      • You may want to read up thread… It was one of your pals that initiated it… But why would that interest you ;)

      • “initiated it”?

        LOL!

        So, the mere mention of the A400M is the catalyst leading to all this ridiculous vitriol being spewed in response.

        Some people seriously need to get a life…. ;-)

        You have many contacts
        Among the lumberjacks
        To get your facts
        When someone attacks your imagination
        But nobody has any respect
        Anyway they already expect you
        To all give a check
        To tax-deductible charity organizations. :-)

      • Just looking at the competitive landscape. US primes were deliberately excluded from bidding so you can’t expect them (and their supporters) to regard the delayed, underspec and overbudget A400M with any kindness. The A400M did signal that there is a profitable niche to fill between the C-130J and the C-17.

        • Mitt, is that you !? ;-)

          Lockheed ( later Boeing ) was involved in the original consortium for a joint C130/C160 replacement. They left on their own.

  10. “At this time the unit airframe cost of an A400M is about the same as a C-17″

    Maybe if a determined group of Boeing supporters keeps repeating this nonsense in various blogs over a longer period of time, apart from convincing each other, many people will start believing it can’t be that far from the truth. Its turn away the attention from the C17 prices anyway.

    • So you are saying the French government is lying? When it comes to claims about the cost, and I have to chose between a fanboy like you, or the French government… I’ll take the French governments word over yours any day.

  11. keesje :
    “At this time the unit airframe cost of an A400M is about the same as a C-17″
    Maybe if a determined group of Boeing supporters keeps repeating this nonsense in various blogs over a longer period of time, apart from convincing each other, many people will start believing it can’t be that far from the truth. Its turn away the attention from the C17 prices anyway.

    Pot meet Kettle!!

    • Now that you have done the social introduction could we return to some reasonable discussion!?

  12. OV-099 :
    “initiated it”?
    LOL!
    So, the mere mention of the A400M is the catalyst leading to all this ridiculous vitriol being spewed in response.
    Some people seriously need to get a life….

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAQFCS6Emps?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=595&h=365

    You have many contacts
    Among the lumberjacks
    To get your facts
    When someone attacks your imagination
    But nobody has any respect
    Anyway they already expect you
    To all give a check
    To tax-deductible charity organizations.

    Starting with you my friend…

    You see Uwe, despite your best efforts to turn this thread around… ;)

      • I’ve abstained commenting for some time, but have been observing from self induced aeronautical re-hab.

        It’s patently clear that the one subject that raises the hackles of these juveniles is the KC-30 add anything related to a degree of success for the KC30 & complete blog armageddon breaks out.

        Scott, could it perhaps be by design that you drip feed KC30 articles to awake the dead?

        • Phil, we haven’t had a KC-30 article of consequence since the US tanker competition, or there-abouts. We’d hardly call this drip-feeding. It is amazing the amount of reaction, though. But as long as everyone obeys the Reader Comment rules, we let it go.

  13. Note to Mr. Anti-EU, you may not like the “can do too” attitude over here but I much prefer a can do type of attitude than some people’s totally negative gloom and doom behaviour.

  14. marauder :Just looking at the competitive landscape. US primes were deliberately excluded from bidding so you can’t expect them (and their supporters) to regard the delayed, underspec and overbudget A400M with any kindness. The A400M did signal that there is a profitable niche to fill between the C-130J and the C-17.

    Ahh, so that’s the reason. Thanks for being honest though!

    However, it may look as if these “supporters” are ruefully ignorant about the main reason for why their preferred companies were not allowed to bid on the A400M. Ever heard about ITAR?

    The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) control the export and import of defense-related products and services that are specified on the U.S. Munitions List. Information and materials associated with any items on the list may not be shared with foreign countries without authorization from the US State Department.

    In short, the four founding Nations financing the A400M programme didn’t want the US government to hold veto power over who the A400M may or may not be exported to. Clearly therefore, ITAR – and not European procurement practices – was detrimental to lower-tier U.S. firms wanting to compete on the A400M

    The method of control with ITAR in the US when it comes to defense related technologies, is in practice to ensure no transfer of technology by any means, whereas in the EU where the A400M is largely based, the transfer is licensed and controlled while exports of the product is normally allowed. As has been pointed out ad nauseam in previous threads, the A400M’s market strategy for EADS is to sell the A400M to any foreign government that they are allowed to. If ITAR restricted hardware and software was on board, EADS would effectively only be allowed to sell within the US, and even sales within Europe would be problematic. This would restrict the market to a point where the business strategy would fail (Yes, there was a business strategy for the A400M when the programme was launched). So, as things currently stand, the A400M will be ITAR free like many other European produced defense products. As a side note, European commercial space products are by and large 100 percent ITAR free. For example, European competitors competitors to such companies as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, ATK, and Loral openly advertise ITAR free satellites which are significantly easier to buy on the global market.

    Finally, perhaps one could hope that more posts from the “supporters of the US primes” could be based on facts and not just hearsay, and that vitriolic beaviour caused by ignorance would be less prevalent in future threads. ;-)

    • No, no, I like the euro protectionist variant much better & will forget this ITAR thing asap. :|

    • That claim doesn’t hold water, especially seeing as ATK just this week got the contract for A400M wing stringer production. Your theory doesn’t hold up.

      Not to mention that Europe has it’s own version of ITAR that is sometime even more stringent. Germany has a quite strict law in fact.

      • OV-099 :
        LOL. It looks as if the A400M is the target of the same vitriol as was directed at the A380, and unsurprisingly coming from the usual culprits. EADS must certainly have hit a sensitive nerve somewhere…..

        I agree, but the ‘sensitive nerve’ seems to be with the A-400M customers. Let me see?

        1. The EU (read France) decides the EU needs a new common airlifter, but only sends bids to EADS and excludes all other OEMs.
        2. EADS signs a fixed price contract with the consortium and agrees to specific mission requiremens of different customers.
        3. France decides an A-400M engine built anywhere but within the EU is unacceptable.
        4. EADS decides they cannot build the A-400M at the agreed apon fixed price
        5. EADS realizes it cannot build some of the required mission versions for some customers (Germany) and delays other mission requirements (air refueling) for several years after the basic box carrier version achives IOC with all its EU customers.
        6. EADS tears up the original contract and threatens the EU customers if they don’t meet the 25% to 50% higher price, for a less capable airplane they will begin laying off employees in those countries. Additionally those customers cannot cancel more than 15 airplanes combined.
        7. The EU customers give into all EADS demands.
        8. The prototype A-400Ms enter a 4+ year long flight testing program. It receives a worthless civilian certification from the EASA, even though there is no commerical version of it. TheA-00M is still awaiting its military certification.
        9. The TP-400 engine turns out to be a trouble prone dog.
        10. The first delivry is 5 + years late, no penalties are to be paid by EADS.
        11. The UK and Germany use up all of the canceled airplane slots.
        12. EADS is furious because Gerany will sell 14 brand new A-400Ms upon delivery, and promises not to honor any waranties on those airplanes.
        13. The EU ‘taxes’ any foriegn customer orders for the A-400M in an attempt to recover the exra money they had to shell out for the additional A-400M developement.
        14. EADS expects Canada to order the A-400M, even though Canda was shut out of the engine developement.
        15. EAD makes a proposal to the USAF for up to 175 A-400Ms.
        16. Potential A-400M customers around the world order the C-17A and/or C-130J/J-30. Most of those ordered new build US airlifters have already been delivered.

        Did i miss anything?

      • It is true, of course, that European long- standing geopolitical allies of the US, have similar worries to that of the US in the sense that they would not like to see sensitive dual-use technology falling into the “wrong hands”, so to speak. However, that’s irrelevant to the fact that the founding nations financing the A400M would not want the US government having a final say on exports. Neither would the US government accept EU veto power over US military exports having European content. Can you imagine what the “Freedom Friers” would say if “the French” would veto a US military transaction to a foreign country?

        As for the production of A400M wing cover stringers; composite wing cover stringers on the A400M and the A350 is not really sensitive dual-use technology, is it.

        Finally, it’s quite likely that if the A400M was not “ITAR-free”, the US government would more than likely hold back the approval of A400M sales to a third country where both the C-130J and A400M competed in a RFP; that is until Lockheed Martin had closed the deal.

        Wikileaks shows US played AESA trick on Gripen in Norway

        http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2010/12/wikileaks-shows-us-played-aesa.html

        It was September 2008 in Oslo, and a member of the US embassy named “Whitney” *** was very worried about the Saab Gripen’s bid for Norway’s fighter contract.

        “Public opinion has swung away from the F-35 due to negative coverage,” he wrote in a non-classified cable titled “Norway Fighter Purchase: High-Level Advocacy Needed Now”.

        The consequences of Norway selecting the Gripen gravely worried the US embassy, according to the cable obtained by Wikileaks and disclosed this morning by the Aftonbladet newspaper.

        “Norway’s decision on this purchase will either end or sustain one of the strongest pillars of our bilateral relationship and could impact subsequent Danish and Dutch decisions on the F-35, affecting NATO joint operational capacity and the vulnerability of the Northern Flank,” the diplomat identified only as Whitney wrote in the cable.

        It was an important decision, and the US had to play its cards carefully.

        But the embassy had already acted to thwart Gripen’s bid in Norway behind the scenes. Saab had previously requested that the US approve a Raytheon-made active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar — a key upgrade as the non-stealthy Gripen competed against the stealthy, Northrop Grumman AESA-equipped F-35 in Norway. Because the AESA was American technology, the US was not obligated to release the radar to a foreign competitor.

        So it didn’t.

        “Given this potential impact of AESA releasability on the Norway competition, and possibly the Denmark competition,” says a US cable dated 8 July, “we suggest postponing the decision on AESA releasability for the Gripen until after Norway’s decision in December.”

        On 20 November 2008, the Norway ministry of defense strongly recommended the F-35 and — in a move that surprised even the US embassy, according to 25 November cable — sharply criticized the Gripen’s capabilities.

        ***Benson Whitney was the US ambassador to Norway from Nov. 2006 to Oct. 2009.

      • Howard. If I would use the same language you’d be screaming to high heaven and I would be banned.
        anyway:
        But these are _our_ laws and not foreign preemption.

        Topboom. You won’t find a positive reference for your first claim ( and for most of the following neither.)
        Please show us references to your claims ( not fox ).

  15. These theories as how and why the EU customer nations & EADS decided on A400M vendors and or issues with export control laws are all very interesting… But, it doesn’t make much sense to alienate your largest potential customer (the USA). Anyway on a lighter note… :)

    Here is what a Minister from one of the customer nations had to say about the program Last week.

    Quoting:

    “Former defence minister Lord Gilbert slammed the airbus A400m aircraft as an “absolute wanking disaster” in the House of Lords on Wednesday in one of the fruitiest displays of unparliamentary language the Lords has seen this year.

    The Labour peer launched a stinging attack on the defence report, his ire first sparked by the “egregious” spelling mistakes and “disgraceful” grammatical solecisms found “before page 10″

    “I do not normally care to read reports,” he told the House, “but I intended to read this one from cover to cover. However, I gave up on page 10, actually only the fifth printed page of the report, where there is a misplaced apostrophe. ”

    His Lordship the moved on to abuse the substance of the report, with vehemence that reached a crescendo when confronted with the expert advice of Pierre Vimont, Secretary-General of the European External Action Service and former French ambassador to the US.

    “They found some idiot called Pierre Vimont-what a lunatic. This is what he is summarised as saying:

    “Despite the limited success of the A400M”.

    Lord Gilbert carries on to say he believed Vimont had underestimated the failure of the A400M:

    “The A440M is a complete, absolute wanking disaster, and we should be ashamed of ourselves. I have never seen such a waste of public funds in the defence field since I have been involved in it these past 40 years.””

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/25/lord-gilbert-wanking-disaster-a400m-unparliamentary_n_2016384.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

    • Then Lord Gilbert will burst his spleen when he is asked for commentary on the british F35 procurement ;-?

      • And then, perhaps the US Senate Armed Services Committee could invite Lord Gilbert in for a hearing on the F-35. I’m sure the committee members would be absolutely flabbergasted by what the good Lord would have to say.

  16. Uwe :
    Mitt, is that you !?
    Lockheed ( later Boeing ) was involved in the original consortium for a joint C130/C160 replacement. They left on their own.

    Like Raytheon on ASRAAM and Meteor, Aviation Partners on Airbus’ “Sharklets”, P&W on the A400M props or Lockheed/Boeing on the A400M proper, European primes love to partner with US companies *just* long enough to siphon off US technical know how.

    Then, suddenly when an EMD/Production contract is going to be signed by the partners, the European partner (or their respective state-sponsor) scuttles the deal or egregiously modifies the terms to a point that no US partner would be able/willing to tolerate.

    For the Indian fighter contract, It was particularly hilarious to watch Saab, Dassault and Cassidian fall all over themselves to show that their particular jet had the *least* amount of US tech on board.

      • Uwe :
        ROFL.
        Nice story, but you’ve got your roles mostly reversed.

        Still got your EU issued blinders on, Uwe?

        I’ve always had a lot of respect for German engineering and technology……to bad your leaders in Paris wouldn’t allow you more than a minor role in developing the A-400M.

        Why not put this in your sales brochure?

        The A-400M……the best airlifter no body wants (outside of Europe and Indonesia), or needs..

      • Hughes (Raytheon) had one of the best FPAs in the world; in fact it was so good it was used in the initial versions of ASRAAM and AIM-9X. The US had actually successfully fired Ramjet versions of AMRAAM (VFDR) in Gulf War 1; a derivative of this model was offered to what became the Meteor consortium.

        Rolls Royce (the turboprop division in Indianapolis), Pratt & Whitney and GE were and are all well ahead of Europrop or whatever it is called; a quick look at all of the other major turboprop design wins confirms that.

        A point on EU “laws”; there are some well known and semi-clever barriers to entry and trade that take the form of statutes which are enacted ostensibly for “Environmental” or “Safety” or “National Security” reasons. But since the arms trade (and by implication the civilian spin-ins/spin-offs) is not regulated by the WTO no one *should* react petulantly when these reasons are invoked and foreign primes lose out.

  17. Sure I am anti EU, I voted against. Sweden went for the C17 :) And we got the Black Hawk since the NH90 still is a mess. And I hope Gripen steals any sale from the EF. Resistance is futile..nah Swedes will endure your dictatorshp too.

  18. I think some folks see the A400M is a great multirole platform with little competition. And they don’t like it. As usual in these situations they conclude it somehow can’t be fair..

    Avoiding ITAR seems to have been a very good move, having seen how deep politics is involved in LM and Boeing sales since then.

    • One of the sloppiest formation flying I have seen in a very long time, keesje. Why was #5 always out of formation? Why did #3 begin his turn to early? That video says NOTHING about the A-400M, other than it can fly, just like EVERY other airplane. Apparently it cannot fly in formation as military forces would need it to.

      What else can’t it do? Oh yeah, fly TRF, air refuel, fly TATL with a full cargo load, land/take-off on an unprepared field with a full load of cargo. It can’t even lift the promised 37 tonnes it was advertised to lift. Should I go on?

      Little competition? It is at best a nich airplane with a max capacity between the C-130J and the C-17A, at the price of a C-17.

      South Africa canceled their order and options for the A-400M because of the run away price. They decided they are better off with their 50 year old C-130Bs than they would have been with their A-400Ms. The SAAF wasn’t even sure when their EADS airplanes would be delivered.

      Air Forces around the world have been ordering the C-17A and C-130J over the A-400M. Both US produced airplanes have out sold the A-400M, in the case of the C-130J by more than 2:1, in the case of the bigger, more capable C-17, by about 1.5:1.

  19. keesje :
    I think some folks see the A400M is a great multirole platform with little competition. And they don’t like it. As usual in these situations they conclude it somehow can’t be fair..
    Avoiding ITAR seems to have been a very good move, having seen how deep politics is involved in LM and Boeing sales since then.
    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u64TKSbPYdw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=595&h=365

    “I think some folks see the A400M is a great multirole platform with little competition. ”

    Ok keesje, there’s you, Uwe, OV-099 and EADS… did I miss anyone?? ;)

    “Avoiding ITAR seems to have been a very good move, having seen how deep politics is involved in LM and Boeing sales since then.”

    How exactly has this hurt US sales? You mean the EU would be buying the hell out of US products without it?

    It seems the ME countries have no problems with ITAR… Nor the far east… and certainly not India?? Who have been a whirlwind buying spree of US gear (C-17, CH-47, AH-64, M777, MK-54, P-8I.. etc. etc.).

    Really what are you talking about?

  20. Amusing.
    We have
    The meek shall inherit earth.
    The Sapir Whorf Hypothesis.
    A bunch of blustering imbeciles trapped in the constraints of their language.

      • When your arguement falls apart – use obtuse obfuscation and oblique references to philosophy…

  21. GT62 :
    When your arguement falls apart – use obtuse obfuscation and oblique references to philosophy…

    Please feel free to add your own relevant argument to any of the above topics… Or do you feel philosophy qualifies?

  22. Observer :

    GT62 :
    When your arguement falls apart – use obtuse obfuscation and oblique references to philosophy…

    Please feel free to add your own relevant argument to any of the above topics… Or do you feel philosophy qualifies?

    BTW GT62, I not picking a fight with anyone… I just think people should address the subject matter? Rather then trying to show us how smart they are… Just saying.. sorry if that sounded curt… it wasn’t directed at you.

  23. I guess Boeing and Lockheed don’t have to worry about the underperforming A400M. It’s from Europe, the C17 is bigger, the Japanese freighter can carry more, have you seen that Antonov? The C-17 and C130 will do great. Meanwhile Boeing and LM can think, draw up concepts, talk to customers, to fully understand their needs, they have time. Just sit back, everything will be just fine.

    • keesje :
      I guess Boeing and Lockheed don’t have to worry about the underperforming A400M. It’s from Europe, the C17 is bigger, the Japanese freighter can carry more, have you seen that Antonov? The C-17 and C130 will do great. Meanwhile Boeing and LM can think, draw up concepts, talk to customers, to fully understand their needs, they have time. Just sit back, everything will be just fine.

      The C-17 and C-130J are rolling off the production lines on time and on or in some cases, under-budget. The “J” model of the C-130 was mostly a European initiative that Lockheed embraced. There is a good model for trans-atlantic cooperation in the C-130J. The C-17 line will hum along for several more years as India + Co. firm up options.

      The Japanese are serious about C-2/YCX; the aircraft went from production decision to first flight in nine years. The Brazilians (and their many US and European partners) are similarly serious about the KC-390.

      The An-70 has potential; the Russians firmed up their order earlier this year; at $70 million a plane you’d actually be okay risking landing it on those primitive runways the A400M was designed to land on but probably never will…

      • Yes, the C-17s and C-130 keep rolling of the production line. The C-2 is a very capable plane and Japanese law can easily be changed to enable export to e.g. the US.

        The KC-390 seems a very good 20t aircraft for replacing similar sized aircraft all over the world.

        The An-70 was a very ambitious design indeed. Now the Oekrainians are modifying it with new avionics and other engine upgrades, after minor issues during development. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAP9KU39QEI

        And you are totally right, the A400M will maybe never be suitable for soft terrain! There is no proof it will, see.

        The requirements the USAF has for new transports are nothing more then an RFI, so nothing more then ideas. No value at all.
        https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=abcbe12c3ab214cffa29f23eaf6d9bae&tab=core&_cview=1

        By the way both LM’s C-130XL and Boeings C-17FE concepts are by no means any indication the current aircraft aren’t exactly rightsized for future needs, absolutely not.

        So nothing to fear. Boeing and LM will be just fine for the foreseeable future.

        And two A400Ms won’t tour the US AF and Army bases next year, stopping by in Alabama, nobody is interested.

  24. I just said if FR and GER hadnt been so vocal against the C17 the European NATO members would have bought more of them. And maybe US would even have let EADS build them here with RR engines, european systems etc? That life would have been great to have, cover the rest with the A400M. When the C17 is EOLed there is no more chanse to get it, Boeing will never sell the blueprints or transfer it. And when its gone there is no more heavy transporter to buy anywhere, Antonov does not build either anymore. And a program to replace it would cost a lot more than ordering one coming off the FAL right now. I am sure some maniac politician would salivate about it..

    The biggest lifter for sale would then be the A400M, 37t and not that roomy cargo hold, the range with a IFV is horrible, multiple stops to Afghanistan, as they weigh about max weight anyway. In 20 years the C17 will be worn, there will be less AN124s and C5s too, lets just hope no big disaster strikes. Civilian freighters are no good even if they could carry a lot of weight, they need an airport.

    • No, I doubt the C-17 will be worn out in 20 years. The C-141 that it replaced was in service for 45+ years. The oldest C-17s are approaching 20 years old now, and only about 1/2 way through their service life. I expect a SLEP program for the C-17 sometime within the next 10 years, or so, maybe including a reengine progam. But in 20 years time the USAF should issue at least a RFI for the C-5 replacement. The oldest C-5Bs, converted to the C-5M will 45+ years old by then. If any more C-5As are converted to the C-5M, they will be approaching 60 years old. Currently only one C-5A has been converted to the “M” model.

      In 20 years time the A-400M will be a memory for the production line as the last airplane (#174) finally rolls off the line.

      • Wear is hard to calculate in advance, did USAF really calculate with Iraq and Afghanistan on the C17 fleet? A major campaign puts a lot of wear on the gear, much more than calculated average.

  25. kc135topboom :

    Uwe :
    ROFL.
    Nice story, but you’ve got your roles mostly reversed.

    Still got your EU issued blinders on, Uwe?
    I’ve always had a lot of respect for German engineering and technology……to bad your leaders in Paris wouldn’t allow you more than a minor role in developing the A-400M.
    Why not put this in your sales brochure?
    The A-400M……the best airlifter no body wants (outside of Europe and Indonesia), or needs..

    The German IRIS-T SRAAM is an excellent design that has sold well; the irony is that IRIS-T, AIM-9X and ASRAAM were all the result of a series of inter-related trans-atlantic and intra-European falling outs.

    Raytheon engineers praise IRIS-T and their German collaborators on Rolling Airframe Missile which in its latest Blk II form, is a fundamentally new and most excellent design.

    If things were strictly decided on engineering merits, Europe would have gone with AIM-9X and FMRAAM (the VFDR Ramjet AMRAAM variant); both were much further along in terms of technical maturity and development than their European counterparts.

  26. keesje :
    Yes, the C-17s and C-130 keep rolling of the production line. The C-2 is a very capable plane and Japanese law can easily be changed to enable export to e.g. the US.
    The KC-390 seems a very good 20t aircraft for replacing similar sized aircraft all over the world.
    The An-70 was a very ambitious design indeed. Now the Oekrainians are modifying it with new avionics and other engine upgrades, after minor issues during development. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAP9KU39QEI
    And you are totally right, the A400M will maybe never be suitable for soft terrain! There is no proof it will, see.
    The requirements the USAF has for new transports are nothing more then an RFI, so nothing more then ideas. No value at all.
    https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=abcbe12c3ab214cffa29f23eaf6d9bae&tab=core&_cview=1
    By the way both LM’s C-130XL and Boeings C-17FE concepts are by no means any indication the current aircraft aren’t exactly rightsized for future needs, absolutely not.
    So nothing to fear. Boeing and LM will be just fine for the foreseeable future.
    And two A400Ms won’t tour the US AF and Army bases next year, stopping by in Alabama, nobody is interested.

    Despite your flippant attitude, you must and will recognize the *highly* competitive market that the A400M now occupies. The Japanese are incredibly pragmatic people; C-2/YCX are not fast jets, attack submarines or tanks. They are transport aircraft with actual, legitimate dual use roles and there is a clear market for them.

    The KC-390 has a lot of support from many foreign primes (including Boeing) and the Brazilian government.

    Prototypes crash and test crews get killed during aircraft development. It’s just a tragic reality of the business. The sad loss of a G650 and its entire crew during testing has not materially impacted that program. I don’t think the An-70 program will be materially impacted either.

    Super Hornets have the capability to land and take off with their wings folded; that doesn’t mean the operators regularly operate the SH in that fashion. The C-17 has very impressive STOL capabilities but it puts a lot of stress on the airframe and so is only rarely used. Risking a very expensive A400M on primitive runways is not advisable for the immediate future.

    The USAF has an RFI for 6th generation air superiority fighters and many other “maybe” aircraft types.

    The C-17B variant is the most realizable and the most affordable of the “tactical lifter” variants being proposed. On the A400M tours, The USAF and Co. love to look at and fly new aircraft but that’s it. You many buy and drive a 640 hp Corvette ZR1 but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t like to take a spin in a Ferrari 599 if you get the chance.

    • Yes, I guess Boeing and Lockheed are just fine. Nothing happening. They can simple shrink or expand the cross sections of their stil young platforms a.bit & they’re all set.

  27. Uwe :
    My understanding is that there existed compelling reasons to do the IRIS-T.
    ( see last 2 para in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRIS-T#History )
    and longrange != shortrange.

    The Germans wanted a TVC missile with good IRCM resistance. ASRAAM did not quite meet those requirements. Diehl was already manufacturing the AIM-9M under license and working on a new FPA for the Rolling Airframe Missile Block 1’s IIR seeker. If I understand correctly, IRIS-T and RAM Block 1 share the same IIR seeker. The AIM-9X , ASRAAM and IRIS-T are both technically MRAAMs but just don’t tell Congress, Parliament or the Bundestag.

    • “good IRCM resistance” ? You want that all the time ;-)

      Very High agility and wide off boresight target aquisition. ( i.e. besting the russian seeker head ) was imu the primary driver. ( And the insight that BVR Standoff may have significant limitations.) The US here seems to follow agressor strategies (unexpected and silent Blitzkrieg ) while the EU works from a defensive arrangement.

      • High off-boresight

        keesje :
        Yes, I guess Boeing and Lockheed are just fine. Nothing happening. They can simple shrink or expand the cross sections of their stil young platforms a.bit & they’re all set.

        keesje :
        Yes, I guess Boeing and Lockheed are just fine. Nothing happening. They can simple shrink or expand the cross sections of their stil young platforms a.bit & they’re all set.

        If you are going to deliberately misrepresent what I said by omission or obfuscation you might as well preface your posts with “WARNING: POLEMIC ALERT” and stop pretending to provide any cogent, objective analysis. Or perhaps such a label is implicit in your posts…

      • Uwe :
        “good IRCM resistance” ? You want that all the time
        Very High agility and wide off boresight target aquisition. ( i.e. besting the russian seeker head ) was imu the primary driver. ( And the insight that BVR Standoff may have significant limitations.) The US here seems to follow agressor strategies (unexpected and silent Blitzkrieg ) while the EU works from a defensive arrangement.

        Oh I agree that good IRCM resistance is a must. My main point was that AIM-9X and IRIS-T had that and High Off Boresight + High initial agility as the main drivers unlike ASRAAM which has much higher initial velocity (it’s got a bigger motor) at the expense of initial and perhaps terminal agility.

        I disagree about AIM-9X and its implications for US doctrine; the emphasis was definitely on reaction shots from an aircraft forced to go defensive hence the high initial agility and 180 – 360 degree (in block II) spherical engagement zone.

        If there was any doubt as to the viability of BVR Standoff, Meteor never would have been commissioned and produced. After all, closing to the merge against an opponent *also* equipped with HOBS missiles and Helmet Mounted Displays is widely regarded as mutual suicide.

  28. kc135topboom :

    In 20 years time the A-400M will be a memory for the production line as the last airplane (#174) finally rolls off the line.

    Topbeam A400M will outlast C17 pretty easily unless US decides to shaft the taxpayer and order 500 of these old junks for usaf. lol.

    • Mark :

      kc135topboom :
      In 20 years time the A-400M will be a memory for the production line as the last airplane (#174) finally rolls off the line.

      Topbeam A400M will outlast C17 pretty easily unless US decides to shaft the taxpayer and order 500 of these old junks for usaf. lol.

      I think the C-17 line will be kept warm like the F-15 line was until new orders perk up or a new variant is developed or both. Boeing Defense seems quite keen on advanced variants and new designs. The A400M doesn’t really compete with the C-17 and neither do the KC-390, C-2 or An-70.

    • The only “old junk” in the military airlift businessis the one that is built in Europe. It has yet to carry its first military cargo on a military mission.

      • Not to be too pedantic but shouldn’t that be “new junk”?

        For all those C-17 cheerleaders, aka A-400 trashers, I think you all forget about the initial problems with the C-17. It was looking like a real loser in the first few years of its existence.

        Note to Topboom, you might point out, again, that Boeing “saved” the C-17 from the evil clutches of MD, but no matter who did what, the C-17 looked like a real bomb for the first few years of its existence.

  29. Uwe :
    Assume that he is holding a mirror

    Maybe I haven’t had enough coffee, Uwe but I don’t follow :(

  30. “The A400M doesn’t really compete with the C-17 and neither do the KC-390, C-2 or An-70.”

    Maurauder, true & totally contradicting your post #86.

    Just like the C-17 has no real comnpetitor, the A400M does neither.

    The A400M can take-off from Europe fly high and fast to a short mud strip in Afghanistan. With a LAV or other outsized load. Apart from a An-70 no other aircraft can do that. Add refill capabilities for a pair of Merlins or Tornado’s and there simply is no competition.

    Now the AN-70 is a great innovative design but the Russians will absorb it for the next 2 decades. Redesigning and producing.

    The Japanese never exported weapons, the C-2 is based on the old C-1, hasn’t soft terrain and refuel capabilities, isn’t ETOPS and carries less (30t).

    The 50 yr old C-130 is a great aircraft but heli’s and LAV don’t fit in, making it operational absolete.

    The C-17 is a 80t strategic transport, moving a single LAV in it is a crime against taxpayers. Some export and political driven US orders prevented the line from being closed. Some might say it might be stretched, reengined to become a C5A replacement. Might be an idea
    http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z160/keesje_pics/c17-cc5replacementidea.jpg, but it would become even larger.

    Meanwhile there is an upcoming requirement from the Army/Marines/USAF/DoD as evidenced by the RFI and Boeing and LM responses. Increasing / decreasing cross sections is as feasible as doing a new aircraft. That’s why nobody does it.

    I see a big change of LM weighing its options and cooperate on both a US A400M variant and maybe a new high cabin STOL 20t platform replacing the C130. I think DoD might have second thoughts on big VTOL’s after the Osprey.

    • A little fact checking and you will find you have no argument against the C-17 or C-130. Both land on “a short mud strip in Afghanistan” now, and have for several years. On a possible A-400M buy by the US, there is no requirement for that aircraft, and even if there was, there is no money to buy it. It is at or near the same price as the C-17, with half the capability (if that), making the C-17 a bargan. With the current, and future high unemployment in the US, Congress would never go for an EU airplane, even one “assembled” in the US. Congress also would never allow the EU to tie our military hands by witholding parts in a conflict the EU doesn’t beleive the US should be involved in.

      • The C-17 is roughly twice as expensive as the A400M, an astonishing $400 millions. Some pay even more.

        And then come the additional support contracts.
        http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/news/2011/10/05/boeing-c-17-support-contract-worth-up.html

        The Boeing C-17 is probably the most expensive transport aircraft in the world, easily beating the A380.

        That said, the C-17 is an excellent strategic transport, designed to move main battle tanks. Its rough terrain requirements were never entirely met, but that doesn’t seem an issue for its strategic use.

        It’s not a tactical transport . To big, expensive and vunerable. Thats where cheaper, smaller aircraft like the A400M come in.

        The Strykers weigh 19-26t and grew, and this has become an issue. A C-130 can carry a light Stryker only 500-600NM, under ideal conditions. All bigger versions don’t fit.

        While the Army has demonstrated the required transportability of Strykers by C-130 aircraft in training exercises, in an operational environment, the Stryker’s average weight of 38,000 pounds—along with other factors such as added equipment weight and less than ideal flight conditions—significantly limits the C-130’s flight range and reduces the size force that could be deployed. These factors also limit the ability of Strykers to conduct combat operations immediately upon arrival as required. With the similar maximum weight envisioned for Future Combat System vehicles intended for the Army’s future force, the planned C-130 transport of those vehicles would present similar challenges

        http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04925.pdf

        Since then (2004) the problem has grown. It think LM and Boeing would make a mistake to look the other way and count on their political weight (using employment, xenophobia) to change requirements in Washington as their main strategy. I guess they won’t.

    • @Keesje,

      No contradiction at all: I mentioned the proposed C-17B as A400M competition; the C-17B has some minor airframe modifications, new avionics and newer engines.

      You keep banging on about LAVs but are ignoring a crucial development: the US Army is going back to tracked vehicles in the APC/IFV category. The candidates for the M113 and Stryker replacement are: the Israeli designed/US Built Namer, a Modified Bradley and a tracked Stryker.

      All of these vehicles are well over 32 tons (the Namer is over 66 tons!) and the tendency is for armored vehicles to only get heavier; the upgrades to the current Bradley will push it over 35 tons and the same is true for the SEP/EC1 Abrams.

      My understanding is that the A400M has fallen well short of its design goal of 40 tons cargo capacity; I’m hearing/reading something in the 27 – 30 ton range. That’s inadequate for the US IFV/APC/MBT fleet.

      “It’s not a tactical transport . To big, expensive and vunerable. Thats where cheaper, smaller aircraft like the A400M come in.”

      FFS, Keesje, there’s no shortage of readily available photos & data showing the C-17 being used tactically, in theater, on dirt/mud fields. The C-17 has been risked against hostile fire and his been struck by everything from rifle rounds to MANPADS without airframe or I believe personnel loss; the greatest threat to the C-17 in hot LZs is Anti-missiles/rockets.

  31. keesje, $400M for each C-17? ROTFLMAO. Just a few monhs ago you were claiming the costs as $300M per airplane. Wow, a 33% cost increase. You have no idea what the C-17 (flyaway) costs are. Please stop making up numbers or including contract packages.

    “The Boeing C-17 is probably the most expensive transport aircraft in the world, easily beating the A380.” Well with the fire sale Airbus has had on every A-380 sold, that may be true.

    “It’s not a tactical transport . To big, expensive and vunerable. Thats where cheaper, smaller aircraft like the A400M come in.” See th link I put in my replay #105.

    “The Strykers weigh 19-26t and grew, and this has become an issue. A C-130 can carry a light Stryker only 500-600NM, under ideal conditions. All bigger versions don’t fit.” The C-17 can carry 3 of them, the A-400M can only carry 1. The USAF will have 223 of them out of 224 ordered (1 loss). South Korea has funded 4 C-17s, and Kuwait ordered 1, this is in addition to the 10 India has on order (and they are talking about buying more). Other C-17 customers (including delivered and ordered C-17s) are the RAF (8), RAAF (6), RCAF (4), NATO-SAC (4), QEAF (2), and UAEAF (4). That is 43+ new build C-17s delivered or on order. In comparison, the A-400M has just 4 international sales (yet to be delivered) to the RMAF, for a total order book of 174 airplanes, of which Germany is trying to remarket 14 of them.

  32. KCT, the biggest disadvantage of the A400M for you seems to be that it i new and not yet in service. Remarkable I think..

    You might think the C17 is the answer to growing requirements to move large vehicles, Boeing disagrees, hence their narrow C-17 variant.

    Add new engines and updated systems, and we have a brand new aircraft, probably also $400 million per aircraft..

    “My understanding is that the A400M has fallen well short of its design goal of 40 tons cargo capacity; I’m hearing/reading something in the 27 – 30 ton range. That’s inadequate for the US IFV/APC/MBT fleet.”

    Maurauder, have you considered the possibility that this might be non-sense?
    http://www.airbusmilitary.com/Aircraft/A400M/A400MSpec.aspx

    I have heard nothing about a foreseen payload restriction, apart from KCTopboom. It is and was 37t. Just right for the requirements you summed up. Stronger, the aircraft was designed for those requirements.

    Usually aircraft go through stages working up to final operating configuration, when all restrictions are gone. Maybe KCTopboom loves to suggest far reaching limitations because of these development limitations? Just wondering..

    • @Kessje

      Nobody knows the actual cargo capacity of the A400M; just its design goals. Does anyone think that EADS will hit those specs with the early models? Virtually none of the actual A400M customers believes so or has said so.

      Furthermore, with the pivot to Asia, those designs specs (cargo capacity at a certain range)
      are hopelessly inadequate for the US; the A400M is also too slow while carrying a 35 ton IFV/APC to provide anything other than supplemental re-supply; it can’t surge because it lacks the speed and the range for the Pacific theater. I’m sure the A400M will find a niche in the (geographically) tiny European and maybe middle eastern markets.

  33. Maurauder, EADS hit/ beat the payload-range specs from the start with the previous two projects, A330F and A380, so lets give them the benefit of the doubts. I can find no links suggesting otherwise.

    The A400M does M.7 at 35k ft and can be refuelled in air so is useful. In Asia Airbus is targeting Indonesia, India and Thailand for the A400M, as welll as additional aircraft for Malaysia.

    Up to now Airbus Militairy has been hold back on exports, because the focus was on limiting damage / compensation to the European customers. Selling the aircraft outside the EC would have sparked further escalation in the conflict with EC governments..

    It’s specified to carry e.g. CVR(T), Scimitar Mk2, Warriors, Puma’s and other tracked vehicles unlike the C130, C27 and Embraer freighter.

    http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/09/the-airbus-a400m-atlas-part-2-what-is-so-good-about-it-anyway/

    • @Keesje

      How is EADS’ experience on the A330F and the A380 at all predictive or suggestive of their performance on a new large military transport powered by new (not derivative) engines? That’s totally different to the situation with the A330F and A380.

      So the A400M requires tanker support to get anywhere useful in the Pacific in terms of expeditionary or reinforcement missions and does so at a much slower speed and with less payload than the C-17 which doesn’t require tanker support.

      Yes, the A400M can carry one base model Puma and maybe some of its crew only to discover that the Puma crew really needs that 11 tons worth of bolt-on armor that the A400M couldn’t carry.

      GDLS recent specification for its tracked, V-hull’ed Stryker is, base model, between 35 and 40 tons with an inevitable 5 – 10 ton bolt-on armor pack.

      As for the India, I can’t see them needing or wanting the A400M; their C-17s can provide the lift for any expeditionary effort and India has decent enough railroads to move large numbers of armored vehicles around the country. I know less about Thailand and Malaysia’s military needs/wants.

      • Tanker support: range vs. payload

        C-17 (according to http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/c17/docs/c17_overview.pdf)
        2,420 nm at 160,000 lbs (72,574 kg)
        4,000 nm at 100,300 lbs (45,495 kg) (“tracked Stryker”)
        5,610 nm at 40,000 lbs (18,143 kg) (paratroops)

        A400M (according to EADS)
        2,049 nm at 81,571 lbs (37,000 kg) (“empty tracked Stryker”)
        2,450 nm at 66,139 lbs (30,000 kg) (Stryker with slate armor: up to 24 t)
        3,450 nm at 44,093 lbs (20,000 kg)

        According to GDLS the suspension can handle up to 84,000 lbs – 38 metric tons. The tracked version is said to be around 70,000 lbs -32 t. A tracked Styker fits better in A400M than a wheeled Stryker in C-130. Can an unrefueled C-17 full of Stryker reach from CONUS to Japan, Afghanistan …? Can a C-17 refuel another C-17 or helicopter? US Army has more than 4.000 Stryker that hardly fit in a C-130.

        “slow speed” cruise speed
        C-17: 450 kn / A400M: 421 kn
        Travel time for 2,400 nm
        C-17: 5.3 hours / A400M: 5.7 hours
        The time difference for 2,400 nm is 24 minutes or about one hour from CONUS to Kabul (14 hours for A400M).

        Which type of surface is suitable for an A400M, a C-17 or an AN-124 according to payload?

        Remarks about India:
        – Railroad tracks are nowadays easily destroyed
        – For one C-17 you’ll get about two AN-124 (German Army uses several AN-124 via SALIS)
        – EADS with A330MRTT is “preferred vendor” for India’s new tanker (Il-78 tanker was cheaper/no Boeing offer)

        According to this source http://www.defensenews.com/article/20121031/DEFREG03/310310007/Airbus-Wins-India-8217-s-Tanker-Rebid?odyssey=nav|head “The Indian Air Force is using six Il-78 midair refuelers bought from Uzbekistan and plans to buy 12 additional tankers, which includes the six [A330MRTT] from Airbus.” And what are the other six tankers? A C-17 isn’t a tanker. German Luftwaffe tries to sell about 12 A400M.

        • MHalblaub, no a C-17 cannot air refuel another C-17, but you know that. Then again a C-17 doesn’t have to, there are plenty of KC-135s, KC-10s, and the RAAF KC-30s (once cleared for Boom refueling), and 2 KDC-10s to do that today. The KC-46 will take up refueling the C-17 in the future. An air refueling probe can also be fitted by the RCAF and RAF if they wanted to refuel from the CC-150 and/or Voyager. But that refueling will take a long time, as would refueling an A-400M. BTW, the A-400M cannot refuel another A-400M yet, and if or once it can it will be a terrible waste of an airlift asset as that type of refueling would, most likely, take placed during a huge need for airlift capability (combat deployment/redeployment, humanitarian relief, etc.).

  34. Keesje, thank for the link bank, found this site from sound inbound traffic stats

    Gents, there seems to be some pretty one dimensional arguments going on here, comparing the headline performance stats. On costs, trying to compare costs of complex military equipment is almost impossible because people outside looking in never have the full facts and fail to understand the subtle differences, its something I rarely indulge in.

    Keesje kindly posted a link to one part of a multi part series of articles on the A400M that although optimistic in some aspects, are at least (I think) pretty balanced in others.

    If you have a few moments please pop over to Think Defence and have a read, would really be interested in your feedback

  35. No, I was thanking Keesje for a link back to Think Defence, seems nothing wrong in that

    If you read Think Defence you will see that I am no defender of British military procurement but on the whole, I don’t think it is any worse or any better than anywhere else. Some success, some failure and a big fat middle that never gets discussed.

    My point on the A400M is that, like many programmes, is that it is often over hyped by supporters and detractors alike and the series I posted was an attempt to throw some balance onto the subject.

    You might disagree, which is fine, but I would hope that you read the series before throwing in criticism

    Just sayin :)

    • Fair enough. It’s hard for me to be neutral on the A400M particularly given its convoluted origin (Boeing, Lockheed tie-in then not, then the Antonov An-70 then not), its painful and protracted birth and the truly appalling behavior of EADS in extorting money from the partner nations or in the case of South Africa, refusing to return that country’s substantial deposit after South Africa cancelled its order.

      And now, especially after the ill-advised EADS/BAE merger failed, we have to endure the incessant PR campaigns and traveling air shows for EADS products in the US since EADS can barely convince its partner nations to pay for the aircraft the partner nations themselves commissioned.

      The A400M is totally unsuited for the US pivot to Asia but to hear Keesje talk about it, you’d think you could wage the entire WWII Pacific Campaign again using just the A400M and the APC/IFV or Helicopter it can carry, provided you have sufficient tankers and a sufficiently huge fleet of A400Ms.

  36. Oh, and as for Naval Typhoon, I don’t think I have ever advocated anything other than F35B for the UK’s Joint Combat Aircraft requirement

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