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Luftwaffe Refuses Delivery Of Two A400M's


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#21 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 0216 AM

The C-130 is simply too small in diameter. It is only being used and now procured by France and Germany, because there is simply no other aeroplane of that size on the market right now for NATO. The C-160 Transall was built correcting shortcomings of the C-130 in mind. First and foremost not being built around the railway loading gauge. Which limits what type of vehicles you can load into it. Whereas a Transall can load pretty much anything within its weight limits. Of course trhere are still too big sized loads, but if it fits a rail car it fits a TRansall.

 

Your point of the A400M not going to be risked on the frontline is a problem that many modern aeroplanes share with it. 


 

IMO there never was a real need for any Luftwaffe air lift capability.
It sure was very close to useless during the Cold War.

 
Wrong. The Bundeswehr had a use for the Transall. And that is as a tactical transoporter to e.g. bring Fallschirmjäger behind soviet lines or to reinforce hotspots quickly. 

 
The A400M is a typical one-size-fits-nothing solution. "a tactical transporter with strategic reach".  Of course procured in too low numbers to be of any real use.
 

All of the out-of-area missions were unnecessary.
 
I suppose the root causes for the existence of a Luftwaffe air transport fleet (specifically the Noratlas procurement) were the cauldron resupply mission from 1942-1945 and the similar issue of the Berlin blockade. It was never reasonable to expect transport aircraft to be of use over a European battlefield 1960's and later. Our constitution really only considers (collective) defence as the legal mission of the armed forces. Everything abroad beyond that is bending the written constitution IMO.

 
The soviets certainly thought air assault a viable move in case of cold war gone hot. Why should this be wrong in the other direction?
 
 
And yes, supplying Berlin may have been a consideration in case of another blockade, but because of the legal situation only the three western allies would have been allowed to fly imho. So I do not think it was that important.

 

Well, not entirely. In 1982 we were going to crash land 2 C130's on airfields in Argentina, disgorging planeloads of SAS troopers to destroy Argentinian aircraft on the ground. They never did it, not through fear of lost of the aircraft, which with the American production line could be easily replaced. It was suddenly worked out it would be something of a waste of a lot of Britain's special forces that could not be easily replaced. Probably for decades.

 

Granted its an unlikely scenario, but it illustrates, when you have a large production line you can be wasteful in airframes. With just 56 built, and im guessing there wont be any more, nobody is going to take risks with these. So the idea they are somehow going to replace the Hercules I think is erroneous. I wouldn't be surprised to see another version of Hercules long after the A400 has left production. 

 

If they had put jet engines on A400, It may have  had a good market with freight haulage airlines. Something the C17 with its expense and complexity never got close to touching.


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#22 Yama

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 0518 AM

Military transports can never compete with former airliners in freight market, except for niche roles like transporting outsized cargo. Lockheed tried to sell Galaxy for commercial operators, and they thought it was way too uneconomical even at pre-Oil crisis fuel prices. Similarly, "MD-17" never got off the ground.

Edited by Yama, 20 November 2019 - 0518 AM.

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#23 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 0526 AM

Though I guess there still are lots of Il76's and antonovs out there fulfilling that role more cheaply.


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#24 Panzermann

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 1652 PM

Though I guess there still are lots of Il76's and antonovs out there fulfilling that role more cheaply.

 

Those only exist, because the soviet union wanted a purpose built aeroplane for the job. Modifying older passenger jet planes is just cheaper for most purposes. Except hauling big size freights.

 

 

If they had put jet engines on A400, It may have  had a good market with freight haulage airlines. Something the C17 with its expense and complexity never got close to touching.

 

 

 
How is an A400M simpler than a C-17?  :huh:
 
Both are military aeroplanes built to military specifications and requirements. Which are detrimental to civilian use, because most of the sturdiness is not needed. Exception proving the rule is the civilian versions of the C-130, because there have been manufactured sop many that economies of scale came into play.

Edited by Panzermann, 20 November 2019 - 1656 PM.

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#25 Dawes

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 1912 PM

The C-130 seems about "right sized" for the Special Operations role.


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#26 lastdingo

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 1914 PM

Panzermann, as I mentioned before, tactical airlift to the front or even past it wasn't a realistic option during the Cold War. Even a A400M is nothing but a target to a MiG-15, and Transalls would have faced much more capable opposition. Transalls were not equipped with the most basic countermeasures, as we learnt beyond doubt when they had to be upgraded for Bosnia.

 

The Fallschirmjäger mission of air drops was never a practical one, particularly not far forward. The time required to even only drop a single battalion to some spot as reinforcements ahead or in the flanks of hostile spearheads did roughly equate the time required for a 50...80 kph road march for the same purpose because of the necessary planning and scouting.

 

The Soviets had completely different objectives for choice with their air assault forces, and their VDV threat was probably still more of a diversionary threat than a real one. They could have invaded Iceland, could have exploited air supremacy vs. the Chinese, could invade and quickly topple Iran and so on. Moreover, the Soviets were weak in terms of Marines, and their VDV was a potential small wars tool. Look at the 'vertical envelopment' example par excellence, the airlift of light mechanised vehicles in the Ogaden War:  https://en.wikipedia...wiki/Ogaden_War

 

Nothing of this sort did matter to Germany, ever. We're not in the business of invading and any scenario in which we are in the business of collective defence features so much hostile air power and air defences that airlift to the battlefield or beyond is irrelevant  at the very least until the war was decided by a collapse already.


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