Airbus A400M - Military Power

The Most Versatile Airlifter of the 21st Century

Nov 22, 2013
Photographers: Airbus
Still in its testing phase, the Airbus A400M is poised to take the military world by storm. Built to meet the transportation needs of modern armed forces, this all-new cargo plane can perform missions that previously required two or more different aircraft to complete. The A400M has the ability to transport a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, two heavy-armored vehicles, rescue boats, or mobile cranes for disaster relief inside of its cargo hold—all while remaining agile enough to fly through hostile air.
Technology
One of the key elements of the A400M’s versatility is its all-new turboprop engine. Fitting the aircraft with four 11,000hp Europrop TP400-DX engines allows for a wide range of speeds and flight levels and offers extremely efficient fuel consumption. The cockpit features two head-up-display units, which provide the pilots with all primary flight information, along with flight director orders and guidance during critical mission phases, such as landing at unequipped airfields, refueling, or low-level flight. In addition, the cockpit utilizes eight LCD screens: three for each pilot and two for systems monitoring. The A400M also makes use of fly-by-wire controls, giving much greater precision to flight commands, allowing for optimum performance during critical or extreme escape maneuvers.
Photo 2/4   |   Airbus A400m Cockpit
Survivability is key for any military aircraft, and the A400M was designed with this specifically in mind. The aircraft is built for low detectability and low vulnerability, with damage-tolerant flight controls, an armored cockpit, and bullet-resistant windscreens. With its minimal infrared signature, highly responsive flight control system, steep descent and climb performance, and comprehensive defensive aids, the A400M is hard to find, hard to hit, and hard to kill.
Operational Flexibility
The A400M is designed to be a true jack-of-all-trades. In addition to hauling cargo and supplies, the aircraft can be outfitted to provide air-to-air refueling for any type of aircraft or helicopter. This is due in part to its ability to fly at low speeds and low altitude, and higher speeds at high altitude, providing support for the entire range of probe-equipped military aircraft, at their preferred speed and altitude. In addition, the A400M itself can be equipped to accept in-flight refueling, greatly increasing its range.
Photo 3/4   |   Airbus A400m Fueling While Flying
Airbus Military is setting new standards in paratrooper operations. The A400M can accommodate up to 116 fully equipped paratroopers, carrying them to drop zones as high as 40,000 feet for Special Forces operations. Delivering supplies to forward troop outfits, the aircraft has the ability to fly as low as 15 feet for low-level load deliveries and can airdrop up to 55 100-pound containers or pallets via its automated release system.
Serving in a humanitarian role, the A400M can be equipped for medical evacuations. Along with the eight stretchers that are permanently stored onboard, it can accommodate as many as 66 additional NATO stretchers and 25 medical personnel, seated on troop seats.
Tactical Performance
Thanks to the aircraft’s short landing ability, the A400M is able to transport critical equipment and personnel directly to where they are needed most—near the site of the action. The ability to take off and land on unmaintained runways is credited in part to the use of turboprop engines, which are less sensitive to debris ingestion than typical jet engines. To further minimize the risk of damage from foreign objects, the A400M is fitted with a 12-wheel main landing gear and an airframe that is designed to efficiently absorb shock loads, allowing for safe operations on stone, gravel, and even sand runways. In addition to supporting military operations, these characteristics ensure swift humanitarian aid can be directly deployed to disaster regions, should the need arise.
Photo 4/4   |   Airbus A400m On Runway
MIL-SPEC: A400M
Manufacturer: Airbus Military
Engines: Europrop International TP400-DX (x4)
Power Output: 11,000 hp (each)
Maximum Cruise Speed: 344 mph
Maximum Operating Altitude: 40,000 feet
Maximum Range: 5,480 miles
Range with Max Payload: 2,048 miles
Length: 148 feet
Height: 48 feet
Wingspan: 139 feet
Cargo Hold Length: 58 feet
Cargo Hold Height: 13 feet
Cargo Hold Volume: 12,000 square feet
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 310,850 pounds
Maximum Landing Weight: 271,200 pounds
Internal Fuel Weight: 111,300 pounds
Maximum Payload: 81,600 pounds

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