Airbus Military A400M Atlas Long Range Multirole Transport Aircraft
The Airbus A400M Atlas has entered operational-level service with French military forces and foreign export deliveries are beginning.
Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Airbus A400M "Atlas" (formerly "Grizzly") is billed as long-range military transport and represents a multi-national development effort. To date the program has been beset by technical delays and cost overruns that have seen initial orders curtailed (or cancelled outright), no doubt due to a downturn in the global economy. The A400M represents the first attempt by Airbus at a high-wing, "T-tail" aircraft and makes use of carbon-fiber composites throughout her construction as a weight savings measure. The A400Ms primary competition remains the ubiquitous (though aging) medium-lift American Lockheed C-130J "Super Hercules" and heavy-lift Boeing C-17 "Globemaster III" series transports though the Airbus product will be marketed to fill the gap between the two aircraft types. Lockheed claims its 1996-era C-130J can accomplish up to 95 percent of what Airbus claims for its newer A400M. At this stage in its development, the A400M is in something of dire straights with Airbus not expecting the program to become profitable unless it receives substantial sales from outside of the NATO fold. At least 2.4 billion Euros are expected to be lost to the program and a European bailout on November 5th, 2010 pumped 3.5 billion more Euros into the fledgling aircraft while orders from key buyers were slightly reduced.
The A400M Atlas (formerly known as the "Grizzly") is designed to meet the aerial transport needs of the modern military. It incorporates the latest in aviation technologies and construction practices to produce a robust and reliable performer tasked with heavy duty hauling of men and machine across vast distances. Performance capabilities are such that the Atlas can operate from soft or rough airfields while at low speeds and can fulfill the dual roles of military service and humanitarian efforts (including MEDEVAC) thanks to its oversized cargo hold.