TYPE: Strategic transport.

PROGRAMME: Original FIMA programme replaced April 1989 by five-nation industry MoU to develop four-turbofan, new technology transport to replace C-130 Hercules and C.160 Transall; Independent European Programme Group (IEPG) defined Outline European Staff Target (OEST) during 1991; initial studies undertaken by Euroflag organisation, which name reflected working designation Future Large Aircraft (FLA). Western European Union report in third quarter of 1991 concluced Euroflag FLA should form core of future European military transport capability to support Rapid Reaction Corps; national armament directors of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Turkey affirmed support for 12 month prefeasibility study completed by Euroflag in late 1992; UK MoD declined involvement, but retained observer status; UK participation privately maintained by BAe and Shorts (10 per cent of BAe work); European Staff Target and intergovernmental MoU signed by seven nations in 1993; full feasibility programme officially started October 1993, by which time cargo hold width and height increased from original 3.66 m (12 ft 0 in) and 3.55 m (11 ft 7¼ in), respectively; study finished May 1995 and submitted to European defence ministries. Meanwhile, FLA underwent profound change in April 1994 when turbofans deemed incapable of providing desired performance; aircraft recast with four turboprops of new design. Discussion of a 'close association' between Euroflag and Airbus Industrie began third quarter of 1993 and formalised in June 1995.
Launch of the predevelopment phase (PDP) was postponed at least six months from early 1996 as a result of funding uncertainties. Original intention was for PDP to run from 1996 to 1998 and define a comprehensive specification for the aircraft and contractual forms and conditions against which the partner nations would make commitments. Full development and production phase (DPP) sheduled to follow directly on from PDP and terminate with first flight in 2002. Customer deliveries were then planned to begin in 2004.
France announced funding withdrawal from FLA development on 13 May 1996 and UK failed to rejoin the programme later that year, despite intention announced in December 1994 (when the RAF purchased Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules). However, Germany became first to sign a European Staff Requirement, on 24 July 1996, although having terminated official funding for FLA development in previous month. AMC accordingly announced a 'single-phase' programme in May 1996.
The new programme schedule started in mid-1998 with a set of formal prelaunch activities (PLA), largely funded by industry and lasting 12 months, leading to a fully documented proposal for the Airbus A400M. This contained the technical proposal, including the aircraft specification and performance guarantees, and the commercial proposal with firm and fixed prices; a full set of contractual terms and conditions; and detailed planning of the single-phase programme. Strategic workshares (detailed enough to allow industry to provide the necessary resources to complete the proposal) were agreed at the start of PLA.
February 1999 delivery of the A400M proposal, initiated a 12-month period of negotiation of individual national requirements before planned official launch during early 2000 to meet an ESR now supported by Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the UK, but not Portugal. The 'PLA + single phase' programme provides industry with an uninterrupted development schedule and strong commitments from governments, while it also meets the customers' requirement that industry carries as much of the development risk as possible.
A meeting in March 2000 saw Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and Turkey identify a requirement for 131 A400Ms (37 fewer than expected) while, on 16 May, UK announced its intention to buy 25 aircraft (becoming first to fully commit). France and Germany followed on 9 June 2000. Seven participating nations announced selection of A400M on 27 July, committing to 225, including one for Luxembourg, although Turkey had reduced planned procurement to 10 at time of MoU signature in June 2001. Portugal announced requirement for four shortly thereafter and subsequently rejoined programme as a risk-sharing and industrial partner in early 2001. By June 2001, however, number of aircraft had fallen to three and it subsequently withdrew in early 2003. MoU of 19 June 2001 on development and acquisition of A400M covered 196 aircraft, omitting 16 for Italy which in late October 2001 revealed it would not proceed with purchase. Formal launch was expected in early 2002, but delayed for more than a year as consequence of German failure to obtain parliamentary funding approval. However, Germany made commitment in December 2002 to 60 aircraft and programme officially launched on 27 May 2003, with signature of contract by OCCAR and Airbus Military. Programme then anticipated production of 180 aircraft for seven customers.
Flight testing is expected to be at EADS CASA's Seville plant and Airbus' Toulouse facility, with certification by a single authority; six prototypes to be built, of which five will be refurbished and sold on completion of test duties. EADS CASA at Seville will have sole production line, assembling components from the UK (wings), France (cockpit management and flight control systems), Germany (main fuselage), Spain (horizontal stabiliser), Belgium (wing leading edges and flaps), Italy (aft fuselage and other subsystems), Turkey (structural elements) and Portugal (wing/fuselage and undercarriage fairings). Germany committed US$4.4 billion to the programme in November 2000, though this represented 60 per cent of the amount required to guarantee Germany's 73 aircraft and planned 33 per cent workshare. France committed US$2.6 billion at the same time.
A timetable of 56 months between contract and first flight has been agreed, with first delivery 77 months after contract signature. Maiden flight now tentatively scheduled for February 2008, with deliveries beginning in 2009-10. France and Turkey will be first to accept aircraft, with Germany and the UK receiving their first A400M in 2010.

CURRENT VERSIONS: Primarily for carriage of military personnel and outsize cargoes such as helicopters, armoured fighting vehicles, trucks and 40ft ISO containers. Also designed to provide full aerial delivery and tactical air land capability, particularly into soft, natural surface airstrips. Typical strategic air transport capability will be 30,000 kg (66,139 lb) payload over 2,450 n miles (4,537 km; 2,819 miles) with full reserves, or 20,000 kg (44,092 lb) payload over 3,550 n miles (6,574 km; 4,085 miles). A400M can be modified to operate as a single-hose refueller (or, in conjunction with wing pods, as a three-point refueller); a pallet-mounted hose drum unit, secured to the closed rear ramp, will dispense fuel via a centreline hose passing through a resealable aperture in the ramp. Fuel load can be increased by installation of additional tanks in cargo hold, up to total capacity of 11,500 kg (25,350 lb). With additional fuel tanks installed, an A400M could transfer 40,000 kg (88,185 lb) of fuel at a point 400 n miles (740 km; 460 miles) from base with lotier time of two hours. A400M speed envelope permits safe refuelling of fighter and large multi-engined aircraft, as well as helicopters.

CUSTOMERS: Procurement agency is Organisation Conjointe de Co-operation en matière d'Armement (OCCAR) in Bonn, acting for all prospective NATO purchasers. First deliveries reserved for France, followed by Turkey, then Germany and UK. Exports expected, and attempts made in early 1995 to interest Japan; Australia briefed in February 2001 and again in November 2002 and may acquire A400M as eventual replacement for existing fleet of C-130H Hercules; export market estimated at 400 aircraft over 25 years, with A400M to secure 50 per cent share. Other countries that could acquire A400M include Canada, Norway and Sweden.

COSTS: Total development cost expected to be €20 billion. Unit price estimated in early 2003 as €85 million, for basic aircraft. In December 2002, however, average flyaway price said to be €118.5 million, including 16 per cent VAT. Discrepancy probably explained by different equipment configuration.

DESIGN FEATURES: High-wing, T-tailed aircraft with rough-field landing gear and much larger cabin/hold floor area and cross-section than C-130/C.160, permitting high payload factors with low-density cargo, vehicles or mixed passenger/cargo loads. Use of propellers felt to be essential for adequate thrust-reverse performance for taxying and short landing; for maximising power response; and for minimising FOD vulnerability. Long-range cruising speed of M0.68 to M0.72 up to 11,280 m (37,000 ft). Tactical mission parameters of 150 m (500 ft) AGL in IMC on predeterminated route with civil standard of safety. Airbus Military has noted that its extensive use of new technology gives twice the volume and payload of the C-130J at the same life-cycle cost. Compared with the C-17, the A400M is said to be less than half the price and to have one third of the life-cycle cost. Minimum service life 30,000 hours, including allowance for low-level flight and short-field performance. Optimised for autonomous deployment; AMC offering 15-day away-from-base serviceability guarantee, all necessary support being within flight crew's capabilities.
Wing sweep 15° at 25 per cent chord; anhedral 2°; taper ratio 0.334; mean aerodynamic chord 5.690 m.

FLYING CONTROLS: Fly-by-wire, hydraulically powered; manually actuated electrohydrostatic back-up for ailerons, elevator and rudder. Four spoilers and two-section flaps on each wing; tailplane trimmable by screw-jack. No slats. Spoilers used for roll control, lift dumping and as speed brakes.

STRUCTURE: Aluminium alloy, with titanium alloy in highly loaded areas (around windscreen, wing/fuselage joint and landing gear anchorage) and glass fibre or carbon fibre for lightly loaded components (landing gear doors and various fairings). Tailplane has aluminium alloy central structural box and two outer composites box structures; elevator primary structure of carbon fibre. Fin has three-spar main box, trailing-edge shroud and single-piece rudder, all primarily of composites, plus metal/composites removable leading-edge. Rudder of carbon fibre, with aluminium, hinge-connecting ribs. Extensive use of composites in wing for skins, stringers, spars and moving surfaces; metal for ribs, engine mountings and fuselage pick-ups. Front spar at 15 per cent chord; composites rear spar at 62.5 per cent hord. Modern design and manufacturing techniques expected to afford major reductions in maintenance man-hour requirements and increases in aircraft availability/survivability.
Responsibilities and workshares are Belgium: detailed wing machined elements, including manufacture of leading-edges and main landing gear doors; France: overall systems integration and FCS, plus manufacture of front fuselge, wing centre-section, rear ramp and engine bearers; Germany: overall fuselage leadership and composites, plus manufacture of wing skins, wing/fuselage fairing, fin, rudder, fintip, flaps and (with Belgium) rear fuselage; Portugal: overwing fairings and elevators; Spain: final assembly line and composites, plus manufacture of engine nacelles and (with Portugal) tailplane; Turkey: forward centre fuselage, ailerons and spoilers; and United Kingdom: overall wing leadership, plus manufacture of wing main structure.

LANDING GEAR: Retractable tricycle type with sufficient 'flotation' for semi-prepared and/or unsurfaced runways. Each main unit has six wheels in tandem pairs, retracting rearwards into fairings on fuselage sides. Each pair of mainwheels has independent, lever-type shock-absorbers. Twin nosewheels retract forwards. Emergency gravity extension of all units. Multidisc carbon brakes on mainwheels can operate differentially to assist steerable nosewheel in ground manoeuvring. Turning radius; landing gear 15 m (50 ft); wingtip 28.6 m (94 ft). Mainwheels can 'kneel' for unloading of large cargoes. Hydraulic strut at rear of each sponson supports and stabilises aircraft during loading and unloading.

POWER PLANT: Initial candidate engines rated at approximately 6,898 kW (9,250 shp); M138 turboprop offered by Turboprop International SNECMA (33 per cent), MTU (33 per cent), Fiat Avio (22 per cent) and ITP (12 per cent) and based on SNECMA M88-2 core; Rolls-Royce Deutschland proposed a turboprop development of the BR715 turbofan, 8,949 kW (12,000 shp) BR700-TP; and Pratt & Whitney Canada offered a 'Twinpac' version of the existing PW150. Required engine power, as defined by Airbus, was up to 7,457 kW (10,000 shp).
Choice initially settled on three-shaft 7,457 to 9,694 kW (10,000 to 13,000 shp) turboprop TP400 developed by Fiat Avio, ITP, MTU, Rolls-Royce, SNECMA and Techspace Aero, although this also rejected in February 2002 on basis of being too costly and too heavy as well as insufficiently powerful. Engine competition subsequently re-opened, with European and US manufacturers invited to submit proposals. Airbus announced intent to choose engine by September 2002, but decision delayed until 6 May 2003, when 8,202 kW (11,000 shp) EuroProp International (ITP, MTU, Rolls-Royce and SNECMA) TP400-D6 selected in preference to Pratt & Whitney Canada PWC180. Engines are to be 'handed', with one of each wing pair rotating in opposite direction to the other, offering reduction in torque and elimination of asymmetric airflow over wing.
Fuel capacity 64,030 litres (16,915 US gallons; 14,085 Imp gallons) in five tanks (no transfer tank) inside wing box; electric pumps and valves all mounted outside tanks. Detachable in-flight refuelling probe. Provision for inert gas system; provision for wing-mounted refuelling pods; optional HDU in cargo hold; and optional additional fuel tanks, totalling up to 14,400 litres (3,804 US gallons; 3,168 Imp gallons), in fuselage. Pressure refuelling, with gravity back-up.

ACCOMMODATION: Two-man, NVG-compatible flight deck with dual sidestick controllers and additional forward-facing workstation for third 'mission crew member' to assist with tactical and special tasks, when required. View from flight deck exceeds JAR 25 and MIL-STD-850B. Provision for bulletproof flight deck windows, 68 mm (2¾ in) thick, and armour protection around crew's and loadmaster's seats. Loadmaster station forward of and overlooking cargo area. Two fixed, screened urinals and fixed hand-basin, starboard, rear. Astrodome for formation surveillance expected. Flight crew rest area with two foldaway bunks.
Two passenger doors forward; two rear. Forward, port, for normal access; forward, starboard, for emergency exit; rear doors for paratroop dropping. Three emergency exits in roof for flight crew and passengers. Cargo door, hinged at aft end, raised hydraulically to hold roof for loading via rear ramp. Closed-circuit TV surveillance of cargo hold, with imagery selectable on flight deck displays.
Cargo floor with 250 tiedown rings stressed to 4,536 kg (10,000 lb) and 60 to 11,340 kg (25,000 lb). Typical loads include Warrior, MRAV or LAV-III armoured vehicles; Super Puma or two Tiger helicopters; nine pallets (88 x 108 in military or 88 x 125 in civil); plus 57 troops and second loadmaster on permanent (tip-up) sidewall seats; two 20 ft ISO containers; Patriot SAM system; six Land Rovers, plus trailers; 66 stretchers and 10 medical attendants; or 120 armed troops on sidewall and removable centreline seats. Ramp stressed for 6,000 kg (13,228 lb) loads and has three hydraulically powered toes and 90 tiedowns stressed to 4,536 kg (10,000 lb).

SYSTEMS: FBW FCS derived from Airbus airliners, including sidestick controllers (left hand for captain, right hand for co-pilot, with conventional central power-lever throttle quadrant).
Electrical power provided by four engine-driven generators, each of 75 kVA. Additional power from three-phase generator on APU (90 kVA) in landing gear sponson; three-phase generator on RAT; emergency battery; and external power receptacle. DC power from four 200 A transformer/rectifier units; two feed separated, main DC busbar; one feeds the 'flight essential' busbar and charges the emergency busbar and battery; and one feeds the APU starting system. Two Ni/Cd batteries are additional source for DC power.
Two hydraulic systems, Blue and Yellow, each operating at 207 bar (3,000 lb/sq in). Blue (driven by Nos. 1 and 4 engines) powers port aileron and elevator, No. 4 (inboard) and No. 2 spoiler on each wing, back-up brakes, cargo ramp and ground stabiliser struts. Yellow (Nos. 2 and 3 engines) responsible for starboard aileron and elevator, Nos. 2 and 4 spoilers on each side, landing gear kneeling, brakes and landing gear actuation. Both systems power flaps, rudder, trimmable horizontal stabiliser and steering. Each system has 140 litre (37.0 US gallon; 30.8 Imp gallon)/min engine-driven pump and 40 litre (10.6 US gallon; 8.8 Imp gallon)/min alternate current motor pump; power transfer unit between systems for emergency use.
Pneumatic system for air conditioning and pressurisation; wing and engine air intake anti-icing; engine starting; and pressurisation of other onboard systems. Two computers control four engine air bleed units. Interior divided into three air conditioning zones; flight deck and two in cargo hold. Cabin pressure altitude 2,440 m (8,000 ft) when flying at 11,280 m (37,000 ft).

AVIONICS: Comms: HF and V/UHF with COMSEC capability, SELCAL and optional Inmarsat SATCOM. Audio management system, wireless intercom system, cockpit voice recorder and passenger address system. ELT and IFF transponder.
Radar: Civil weather radar, replace by optional military radar with ground mapping mode.
Flight: Three inertial platforms with embedded air data systems. VOR, DME, Tacan, ADF (optional), multimode receiver (ILS, MLS and GNSS), two radar altimeters and Enhanced-GPWS. Terrain-referenced navigation system and future air navigation system (FANS A) as options.
Instrumentation: Two HUDS; seven identical full-colour head-down displays (HDDs); two keyboard devices and two cursor control devices (CCDs); an eighth identical HDD, a third keyboard device and a third CCD as options for a third crew members.
Mission: Two management computers and two military mission management computers; optional MIDS tactical datalink.
Self-defence: Modular defensive aids subsystem (DASS) with optional elements including central computer, RWR, MWS (passive/active), LWR, expendables dispensing system (chaff/flare), direct energy infra-red countermeasures and towed radar decoy.

EQUIPMENT: Winch at forward end of cargo hold. Optional 5-tonne power crane in roof above cargo ramp. Provision for one 1,200 kg (2,646 lb)/min refuelling pod under each wing and/or 1,800 kg (3,968 lb)/min HDU in rear of cargo hold.