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What are the odds of this happening?

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  • What are the odds of this happening?

    Airbus thinks that they can sell the A400 to the US military,if they are manufactured in the US I think they might have a good chance.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8568817.stm

  • #2
    Well, I have a couple of takes on this.

    1) the A400 is a good plane from all I've seen over the years, and it makes good competition for the C130 series.

    But:

    Were in the business of logistics movement by air. This is what I do.

    the C130 is like the Mk1Mod0 eyeball. It is the basic element for Strategic Airlift Command, as well as the only aircraft being used by the other services as a dedicated transport platform. It has a 25,000 pound nominal airlift capacity over 6 positions for 463L (standardized airlift) pallets. It is capable of providing refueling services to both fixed and rotary-wing aircraft. It is a proven design with over 25 years of active service. It has short field capability, and has even, on at least 1 occasion, participated in Carrier operations. It is as ubiquitous in US transport service as the Humvee. It is used by many other nations worldwide, and by private transport firms.

    I guess the real question is, what advancements does the A400 provide that would make the United States choose to radically change its air transport aircraft to a totally different type?

    Transports are one of those things that are typically upgraded (or upgraded models are produced) rather than out and out replaced.

    For example: The C141 was replaced by the C17. Completely off the top of my head, the following advantages were gained by this change:

    Upgraded short-field performance
    The ability to transport approx. 50 thousand pounds more cargo, equalling roughly a 30% increase in capacity.
    Similar fuel economy
    The ability to transport wider objects, including M1 Abrams Tanks.
    Multiple configurations for palletized loads, up to 18 pallets.
    Increased speed of onload/offload due to better pallet utilization.
    Special operations upgrades for night flying and low altitude flying/higher performance.
    Reduced aircrew workload through better cockpit/aircraft setup.

    To replace the C130J, I believe that the A400 would have to reach the following benchmarks

    Massive increase in Special Operations abilities
    Take off from shorter fields fully loaded without JATO
    Have a lift capacity of 35000 pounds to accomodate the Stryker and other similar vehicles.
    Have no less than 6 and preferably 8 pallet positions.
    Have a troop capacity of 80+ramp baggage for administrative movements
    Have a troop capacity of 55 for combat movements
    Be able to carry a ramp pallet of 4000 pounds
    Have similar or better fuel economy per ton of cargo to the C130J
    Significantly reduce aircrew workload
    Have NO RESTRICTIONS on pallet width (the C130 has some minor restrictions on pallet width for pallet positions 5 and 6).
    Have NO RESTRICTIONS on pallet height (exception for Ramp Pallet) (Max allowable height is 96 inches for full load, 105 inches allowed if under 8500 pounds)

    These are the reasonable expectations I would have of the A400 if it was chosen to replace the C130. Otherwise, I see no reason to purchase such an aircraft.
    Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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    • #3
      tac covered the reasoning pretty good.

      So my take is slim to none.

      Congress would never buy into the idea even if it fit the US needs.
      "Ask not what your country can do for you"

      Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

      you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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      • #4
        VN, Tac!

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        • #5
          The A400 doesn't have the same capabilities that the C-130J has so if I was in the US I would rather stick with what you guys already have as the next version too will probably be better than the next A400 version..

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          • #6
            Well, when dealing with basic aircraft, one must look at mission and cost.

            Costs come in many forms, ranging from spare parts, to training, to overt purchase price, to logistics for a different set of spare parts when there are currently stocks forward deployed worldwide........

            The USMC still runs the UH1 and the AH1. There are many reasons, but one of them is that while they have upgraded and purchased new airframes of each type, training for both ground and aircrews has remained vastly similar, spare parts don't instantly become obsolete between generations of the same bird, and the logistical footprint is well established and built into the current system. Not to mention that both aircraft are perfectly capable of providing the services that prompted their purchase in the first place, and the basic mission hasn't changed for the MC.

            The C-130 debuted in Vietnam. Since then it has gone through many military configurations up to the current J frame. It has also gone through some civilian modifications, stretching the fuselage to 7 or even 8 pallet positions. Its logistics footprint is well established, as is operations and training doctrine. For any aircraft to arbitrarily replace the C-130 in the theater transport role, it would have to provide a massive increase in overall efficiency, probably coupled with an increase in mission capabilities or capacity as well. See my C141-C17 example for details. I just don't think that the A400 is anywhere near providing something so great and better than the C130J currently in service that it justifies replacing the C130 in the theater transport role.

            My vision for the future will be that the C130K/L/M/N will still be flying theater transport and support missions in 2030. I believe that it will remain the mainstay in this role till at least 2025. I cannot forsee the C130 type being completely replaced and retired until at least 2060.
            Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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            • #7
              I flew in C-130Bs (early 1960s vintage) as late as mid 1990s. They were doing fine. The design has been hard to beat for over half a century.

              in combination with the issues mentioned above, I also think the way the tanker saga unfolded, chances of any European aircraft getting a major contract are slim.

              Exceptions may be the CASA or the super tocano, in small batches.

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