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The BBC's Paul Moss
"A controversial step"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 16 May, 2000, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
A400M: Military workhorse
A400M
Airbus expands into military market with A400M
The A400M is a military transport aircraft designed to meet the requirements of eight European Air Forces, including Britain, to replace their fleets of C-130 Hercules and C-160 Transall.

Most of the European fleet of over 400 military transport aircraft is more than 25 years old and will become obsolete in the next century.

The aircraft is part of the Airbus family, representing the expansion of the consortium into the military sector.


A400M charateristics
Length: 41.80m
Wing span: 42.40m
Maximum range: 9,200km
Maximum speed: Mach 0.72
Maximum payload: 32,000kg

It is intended to recreate Europe's success in the commercial aircraft sector in the military transport field.

The project brings together British Aerospace, CASA, Aerospatiale, Airbus, Alenia, DASA, Flabel and TAI under the management of Airbus Military.

All weather capability

Airbus Military says it will be capable of operating in any type of climate and weather conditions, providing an in-flight refuelling capability. It will also be equipped for rapid conversion into an air tanker.

In terms of design, the A400M has a classic high wing configuration, fuselage with ramp and large rear door, high flotation retractable landing gear and "T" tail.

Its four turboprops provide it with a cruise speed of 0.72 mach at altitudes of up to 40,000 feet and the plane has excellent low speed handling characteristics needed for paratroopers and load dropping.

The manufacturers say it will be able to land on short, unpaved runways or soft grass fields.

It will be able to carry military payloads non-stop from Europe to military, commercial, or remote airfields in central Africa or the Middle East.

The A400M fuselage has been designed with a spacious cabin, making it suitable for the transport of bulky cargo like helicopters, heavy vehicles, missile batteries and light vehicles placed side by side.

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22 Dec 97 | Business
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