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A400M (Future Large Aircraft) Tactical Transport Aircraft

Posted by Tra Tran Hung trên Tháng Bảy 21, 2009






Maximum Take-Off Weight
Maximum Landing Weight
Operating Empty Weight
Maximum Payload
Total Internal Fuel


4 x TP400-D6 turboprop
Over 11,000shp each


Cruise Speed
Mach 0.68 to 0.72
Maximum Operating Speed
300kt CAS
Range at Maximum Payload
30t Payload Range
20t Payload Range
Maximum Operating Altitude
Tanker Performance Characteristics
2-point role-convertible tanker/transporter
Fuel Capacity
46.7t or 58t with two cargo bay fuel tanks

Cargo Box Dimensions:

Length (Excluding Ramp)
Ramp Length
Height (Aft of Wing)
Cargo Box Capacity



The A400M (formerly known as the future large aircraft) is a military transporter designed to meet the requirements of the air forces of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

A European staff target was drawn up in 1993, together with a memorandum of understanding signed by the governments of the seven nations. Italy subsequently withdrew from the programme. Airbus Military SL of Madrid, a subsidiary of Airbus Industrie, is responsible for management of the A400M programme.

Other companies with a share in the programme are: BAE Systems (UK), EADS (Germany, France and Spain), Flabel (Belgium) and Tusas Aerospace Industries (Turkey). Final assembly will take place in Seville, Spain.

“The A400M (formerly known as the future large aircraft) is a military transporter.”

In May 2003, a development and production contact was signed between Airbus and OCCAR, the European procurements agency for 180 aircraft: Belgium seven, France 50, Germany 60, Luxembourg one, Spain 27, Turkey ten and the UK 25 aircraft. First metal cut for the airframe of A400M was in January 2005 and final assembly began in August 2007. The first aircraft was rolled out in June 2008 and was scheduled to make its maiden flight in late 2008. However problems with the propulsion system have resulted in a delay and first flight is expected in the second half of 2009.

First deliveries to the French Air Force are planned for late 2010. Deliveries are expected to conclude in 2025.

In April 2005, South Africa signed a contract with Airbus Military to be a full participant in the A400M programme. South Africa will order between eight and 14 aircraft, for delivery between 2010 and 2014. In July 2005, Chile signed a letter of intent with Airbus Military for up to three A400M. In December 2005, Malaysia signed a contract for the purchase of four A400M.

Total firm orders for the A400M stand at 192 aircraft.

A400M design

The A400M has a much larger payload than the C-160 Transall and C-130 and the design makes extensive use of composite materials. The capability for short soft field landing and take-off is part of the requirement and the aircraft has six-wheel high-flotation main landing gear.

The need for airdrops and tactical flight requires good low-airspeed flight and the aircraft also has long-range and high-cruise speed for rapid and flexible deployment.

“The A400M has a much larger payload than the C-160 Transall and

Final assembly of the composite (carbon-reinforced plastic – CRP) wingbox is taking place at Airbus UK in Filton. GKN Aerospace of the UK is to supply the complex carbon composite wing spars. Denel Aviation of South Africa is the supplier for the fuselage top shells and wing-fuselage fairings. EADS, Augsburg, is supplying the 7m×4m composite cargo door.

Fuselage assembly is at Airbus Deutschland in Bremen. Final assembly of the aircraft will take place at EADS CASA in Seville.


The cockpit is fully night-vision compatible and provides accommodation for two pilots and an additional crew member for special mission equipment operation. It will be fitted with a fly-by-wire flight control system developed for the Airbus range of civil airliners. Two sidestick controllers are installed to allow the pilot an unrestricted view of the electronic flight displays. The throttle controls are placed centrally between the two pilot stations.

Thales and Diehl Avionik Systeme are developing the A400M’s FMS400 flight management system, based on integrated modular avionics modules, an adaptation of systems being fitted on the Airbus A380 airliner. The avionics will include cockpit control and display systems with nine 6in×6in displays and a digital head-up display which features liquid crystal display (LCD) technology and enhanced vision systems (EVS), for enhanced situational awareness.

A400M for Germany will be fitted with a terrain-masking low-level flight (TMLLF) system, from EADS Military Aircraft, for low-level flight control. The TMLLF system has a Saab Avitronics flight computer. EADS Defence & Security Systems digital map generator is also being fitted.

There is a military mission management system (MMMS), from EADS Defence Electronics, which includes two mission computers. The MMMS controls cargo handling and delivery, calculating the load plan and the computed air release point before an air drop, as well as fuel management and fuel operational ranges. The MMMS also manages the tactical ground collision avoidance system (T-CGAS) and military / civil communications.

“The A400M cockpit is fully night-vision compatible and accommodates two pilots and an additional crew member.”

Rockwell Collins has been selected to supply the HF-9500 high-frequency communications system and the avionics full duplex ethernet (ADFX). Cobham Antennas Division will provide the SATCOM antennas.


The EADS Defence Electronics defensive aids suite will include an ALR-400 radar warner from Indra and EADS, MIRAS (multi-colour infraRed alerting sensor) missile launch and approach warner developed by EADS and Thales, and chaff and flare decoy dispensers. A laser DIRCM (directed infrared countermeasure) system may be added later.

The aircraft can also accommodate armour plating crew protection, bulletproof windscreens, engine exhaust treatment for infrared emission reduction, and inert gas explosion retardation and fire retardation in the fuel systems. The wings have hardpoints for the installation of electronic warfare pods and refuelling pods.

Cargo systems

Rheinmetall Defence Electronics is supplying the loadmaster control system for electronic cargo control. Loadmaster consists of a workstation and control panel, eight sidewall lock panels and a crew door panel. It provides efficient ground loading and airborne cargo drops.

The payload requirements include a range of military helicopters and vehicles, heavy engineering equipment, pallets and cargo containers.

The cargo bay can transport up to nine standard military pallets (2.23m×2.74m), including two on the ramp, along with 58 troops seated along the sides or up to 120 fully equipped troops seated in four rows. For Medevac, it can carry up to 66 stretchers and ten medical personnel.

The A400M can air-drop paratroops and equipment either by parachute or gravity extraction. It can air-drop: single load up to 16t; or multiple loads up to 25t total; or 120 paratroops plus a wedge load of 6t; or up to 20 1t containers or pallets.

“The cargo compartment can be configured for cargo, vehicle or troop transport or air drop, or a combination.”

It can also perform simultaneous drops of paratroops and cargo (RAS / wedge or door loads) and very-low-level extraction (VLLE) of a single load up to 6.35t, or multiple loads up to 19t total weight. Gravity extraction can be performed for a single load up to 4t, or multiple loads up to 20t total weight.

The cargo compartment can be configured for cargo, vehicle or troop transport or air drop, a combination of these and for aero-medical evacuation. A single loadmaster is able to reconfigure the cargo compartment for different roles either in flight or on the ground. A powered crane installed in the ceiling area of the rear section of the fuselage has a five-ton capacity for loading from the ground and for cross-loading.

The rear-opening door has full compartment cross-section to allow axial load movement, roll-on and roll-off loading and for the air drop of large loads.


The A400M will be convertible to a tactical tanker, with the ability to refuel a range of aircraft and helicopters within two hours. Flight Refuelling Ltd is supplying the 908E wing pod drogue system, which provides a fuel flow of up to 1,200kg/min for each pod, and the centreline pallet-mounted hose drum unit fitted in the rear cargo bay, which provides a fuel flow of 1,800kg/min.

In addition, up to two cargo bay fuel tanks (CBT), which connect directly to the A400M’s fuel management system, can be fitted. Total fuel capacity is 46.7t or 58t with the CBTs.


The aircraft’s independent navigation system comprises an inertial reference system (IRS) integrated with a global positioning system (GPS). The weather and navigation radar is to be the Northrop Grumman AN/APN-241E, which incorporates windshear measurement and ground mapping capability.

The radio navigation suite includes a pair of instrument landing systems, VHF Omnidirectional Radio ranging (VOR), radio distance measuring equipment (DME), air traffic control (ATC) transponders, automatic direction finders (ADF) and a tactical air navigation unit (TACAN).


In May 2003 Airbus Military selected the three-shaft TP400-D6 turboprop engine, to be manufactured by EuroProp International (EPI). EPI is a consortium formed by Rolls-Royce (UK, Germany), ITP (Spain), MTU (Germany) and Snecma (France). Rolls-Royce will be responsible for overall integration.

The four engines will each have a maximum output over 11,000shp. EPI states that they will be the largest turboprops ever made in the West. The engines will be fitted with FADEC (full authority digital engine control), supplied by BAE Systems and Hispano-Suiza.

“The A400M will be convertible to a tactical tanker, with the ability to refuel a range of aircraft and helicopters.”

Ratier-Figeac SA of France (a business unit of Hamilton Standard of USA) will supply the eight-bladed composite variable pitch FH386 propellers. The propellers will be 5.33m (17.5ft) in diameter and are fully reversing with the capability to back the fully loaded aircraft up a 2% slope. FiatAvio will supply the propeller gearbox.

Electrical power generation systems are being supplied by Aerolec, a joint venture between Thales and Goodrich. The variable frequency generators will provide up to 400kVa.

Landing gear

Messier-Dowty has been chosen as the supplier of both main and nose landing gear. Each main landing gear consists of three independent twin-wheel assemblies, providing six wheels on each side. This allows the plane to land on unprepared runways. The landing gear system will enable the A400M to ‘kneel’ which lowers the rear ramp to facilitate the loading of large vehicles.

The main landing gear shock absorbers maintain a minimum distance from the ground whatever the load. Messier-Bugatti will supply wheels and brakes. The aircraft will have two nose wheels and 12 braked wheels.


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