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Airbus sees potential for sale of "hundreds" of A400Ms to the US military

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posted on Sep, 14 2014 @ 12:14 PM
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a reply to: Matt1951

That's why they're buying J models. The C-130 fills a specific role that the A400M doesn't. Yes it's a nice plane, but it's like using a C-17 when a C-12 would do the job. It doesn't fit, and buying it just for the sake of it not being a C-130 would be a huge mistake.




posted on Sep, 14 2014 @ 03:36 PM
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originally posted by: boomer135

originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: Matt1951

So is the C-130 though. The HC/MC/KC-130 all serve as tankers for both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.


And so is the new kc-46, the kc-10, and to some extent the kc-135. They always think about multiple roles for these aircraft when building them.


Some of the C130s are configured as tankers:
en.wikipedia.org...

whereas all of the A400Ms can be used as tankers:
www.sldinfo.com...


"With a basic fuel capacity of 50.8 tons, which can be increased by the use of extra cargo hold tanks, the A400M is the most capable tactical tanker in the market.

The standard A400M aircraft has full provisions for Air-to-Air Refueling (AAR) operations already installed as standard and only requires the rapid installation of the optional air-to-air refueling kit to become a tanker.

Designed from the outset to be a dual-role transport and tanker aircraft, the A400M provides air forces with a cost-effective way to acquire an air-to-air refueling capability in addition to a versatile logistic and tactical airlifter."

edit on Sun Sep 14 2014 by DontTreadOnMe because: EX TAGS ADDED IMPORTANT: Using Content From Other Websites on ATS



posted on Sep, 14 2014 @ 03:44 PM
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a reply to: Matt1951

And what niche does it fit in the US inventory? It's bigger than the Hercules, and smaller than the Globemaster. So it's not a fit at the small tactical transport role, nor at the medium/large transport role.

It doesn't fit in the inventory anywhere. What's the point of having a transport that doesn't fit anywhere?



posted on Sep, 14 2014 @ 03:45 PM
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originally posted by: Matt1951
Some of the C130s are configured as tankers

whereas all of the A400Ms can be used as tankers


The USAF isn't going to care much about the probe-and-drogue capability of the A400M. The Marines on the other hand care which is reflected by the fact that every KC-130 can be used as a tanker. If the USAF was really tempted by probe-and-drogue for their cargo aircraft, they'd have ordered their C-130J's as KC-130J's like the Marines.



posted on Sep, 14 2014 @ 03:58 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

The British are canning the C-130, but keeping the C-17 and the A400M. Maybe it is the C-130 that is not a good match. Clearly the Army wanted the C-27; as it is more economical to use a smaller transport when that is all that is needed for a mission. The newest C-130s have a life of 30 years, so they aren't going to disappear overnight. At some point, the US will stop buying C-130s, although they will be used for a long time after that.

The C-17 is going out of production. Boeing closes the line in 2015. At some point in the future, some variant of the A400M might look good. As might the Embraer KC-390, which is the same size as a C-130.

With sfc improvements from the geared turbofan, and with variable pitch fan blades eliminating the need for thrust reversers, the days of the turboprop should be numbered, at least for military transport.

The Air Force is looking at future transports: www.military.com...



posted on Sep, 14 2014 @ 04:04 PM
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a reply to: _Del_

The C-130 is on the small side to be a good tanker for the US Air Force. Which is why they are purchasing new, large, 767 based tankers.



posted on Sep, 14 2014 @ 04:21 PM
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originally posted by: Matt1951
The British are canning the C-130, but keeping the C-17 and the A400M.


Fact check: The British are canning their older C-130K's, but keeping the C-130J's, the C-17, and the A400M.


The C-17 is going out of production. Boeing closes the line in 2015. At the future, some variant of the A400M might look good.


Everytime the C-17 line is about to shut down Congress rams more money down the throat of the Air Force (which probably responds with a mixture of shrugs and chuckles) to order some more. Why would they spend almost the same money to order a A400M now, when they could have a domestically built C-17 with twice the capability for about the same cost?
30 years from now if the A400M is still being produced (which is in serious doubt the production schedule currently only runs to 2024), the Air Force will take a look at airlift options including the A400M. We're talking 2045 at the earliest for retirement. Not sure where Airbus is seeing dollar signs.



posted on Sep, 14 2014 @ 04:22 PM
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a reply to: Matt1951

The C-130 doesn't have a boom, which USAF aircraft would need to tank. Neither does the A400M.



posted on Sep, 14 2014 @ 04:31 PM
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Any c-130 can be turned into a probe and drouge tanker by simply adding a fuel bladder and ar kit into the cargo hold of the jet. They just open the rear cargo door and extend the drogue. Its even palletized if I recall correctly.



posted on Sep, 14 2014 @ 06:01 PM
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the A400, C-130 and C-17 are all in quiet different categories - none of them can "replace" any of the others IMO - the C-130J is the baby, with a "mere" 20,000kg capacity, the A400 has twice that at about 38,000kg, and the C-17 has twice that again at over 77,000kg.

the A400's advantages are a significantly heavier carry than the C-130 combined with a very good short field performance and long range at heavy weights.

the C-130 is, and always will be, smaller and so handier still, and cheaper, and also US-sourced!

The C-17 is unmatched in its carrying class and the A400 is never going to compete on those terms.

Any decision to purchase will be the subject of considerable study, and, TBH, the A400 will probably suffer from the US's well known preference for domestically developed products.

chest beating by a bunch of "know-it-all" amateurs (in which I include myself
) isn't going to matter a squat - all of them are great aircraft.



posted on Sep, 14 2014 @ 06:25 PM
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a reply to: Aloysius the Gaul

I'm not trying to slag on the A400M. Once the kinks (which are to be expected) are worked out, it will be a fine aircraft in service. But the limited size of the orders so far and the long development time have ballooned the unit cost. It's cheaper per pound to spend a very few more million and buy the C-17 which, as you admit has more lift capability. Does the USAF have room in the budget to spend money on a new supply line and acquisition cost for an aircraft that fills a role between the Herk and the C-17? Not really. If other nations prefer 2 A400M's to a C-17 and three Herks, maybe they have requirements (or are invested in the program enough) where that makes sense for them. I don't think it makes sense for the USAF, and that's even before you factor the "not made here" issues.



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 03:54 PM
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Actually I thoroughly enjoy this discussion, everyone is making good points. Lets talk fuel efficiency. Rumors are: GE is developing a gearbox for their 738 turboshaft, so it could replace the Rolls-Royce engine on the C-130. Speculation is a 10% fuel burn advantage, as well as a weight savings. The GE turboshaft may also replace the engine on the Osprey. Considering commercial airliners are going with two turbofans, for economics, shouldn't the C130 size and the A400 size transports use two geared turbofans, with the latest materials technology? It looks like there would be substantial cost savings over the thirty year life of the aircraft.



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 04:21 PM
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a reply to: Matt1951

For some applications, four really is better. Not so much for efficiency as for power. If you look at the performance jump between the H and J, between the engines and prop changes, it's pretty staggering. Especially in the cargo capacity on take off above 10,000 feet. The C-130 works well with four, and reducing that would require a pretty major redesign, and huge costs.



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 04:43 PM
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You'd hurt the C-130's short-field performance if you went to two turboprops with the same hp. Then there's the comfort level and safety margin of having four engines when you're out over the Atlantic and one goes out, or an engine out on takeoff/landing, or in the case of battle damage when you're on approach in theatre.



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 05:51 PM
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Oh and the kc-130j can refuel fighters as well. The normal hercs have trouble going fast enough. We can barely refuel them. Most of the time we have our flaps extended and are in a 300 foot per minute toboggan just so they can stay on the boom.



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 06:01 PM
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a reply to: _Del_

I was thinking two turbofans. With variable pitch fan blades, there is no advantage to the turboprop? Since the thrust reverser would be eliminated. The thrust reverser is considered a liability on rough fields. Essentially, the turboprop and turbofan have merged into a new engine, when you have a geared turbofan, with variable pitch blades. These engines won't be available for 10 years. Considering the Air Force is looking at new transports, they have to be considering engines of the future for these transports.
Yes, it would require significant re-engineering of the C-130 (or A400).



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 06:02 PM
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a reply to: boomer135

Some fun pictures:

KC-130 and F-35s
KC-130 and F-14s
KC-130 and AV-8B and F-18
KC-130 and F-35 underside Now this one is interesting, with the F-35 hanging the gear down.
KC-130 and Typhoon
KC-130 and MV-22B



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 06:03 PM
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a reply to: Matt1951

They would have to re-engineer so much you might as well build an entirely new airframe at that point, and start from scratch.
edit on 9/15/2014 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 07:43 PM
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originally posted by: Matt1951
I was thinking two turbofans. With variable pitch fan blades, there is no advantage to the turboprop?


You're losing the propwash, so you're losing some lift (and drag) which will affect your short field performance. We'd have to have real numbers to work, but I'm willing to bet that at low altitude the Turboprop is still more efficient. And the engines are several years away.
But the big thing is now you have to strengthen and/or redesign the wing to accomodate the new engines. And again an engine out scenario goes from unpleasant to very scary with two engines providing all the thrust.
Lockheed looked at a jet-powered C-130. It evolved into the C-141.
It was in the same class as the A400M, but had a higher cruise speed and more lifting capacity and about the same range. The USAF retired the C-141 almost ten years ago and has not looked for a replacement, preferring the C-17 class for missions requiring more capacity than a C-130 offers.



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 07:44 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
KC-130 and F-14s


There's an F-4 hiding in that photo, too! haha



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