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Luftwaffe Refuses Delivery Of Two A400M's


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#1 Dawes

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 2031 PM

Seems like quality problems have dogged this aircraft from the start (although the Boeing KC-46 isn't exactly a pillar of success either). Has it been performing adequately in service?

 

https://thedefensepo...y-airbus-a400m/


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#2 JasonJ

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 0217 AM

It recently got certified for paratrooper drops.
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#3 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 0238 AM

I thought I read something about an availablity of 20 percent in RAF service. But I wouldnt get excited just yet, the F15 when it entered service had similar appalling availability figures.


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#4 Yama

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 1306 PM

Like most Cold War era military aircraft, F-15 was rushed into service as very much immature project by todays standards. A400M, by contrast, was in the making for 35 years and still sucks. It is an unimaginable disaster of a program, even worse than NH90.
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#5 lastdingo

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 2202 PM

https://defense-and-...in-trouble.html

 

See the first comment.


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#6 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 0205 AM

To be fair, the Fred was pretty unreliable too (not to mention dangerous) till they fixed it. They will work it out.


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#7 Yama

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 0410 AM

https://defense-and-...in-trouble.html
 
See the first comment.


Those guys were up-to-date with things. I had bad feeling about the project (then called FLA) already in the '90s when it looked - at best - very borderline viable with planned acquisition numbers (288 firm orders+potential followup/export orders). Now they're far below those numbers with much larger budget than predicted. The program seemed so tailor-made to very narrow set of industry and operational requirements that any further order base for the aircraft or engine seemed unlikely. Boy, that An-70 sure looks much more attractive in retrospect, no?
At very least they should have chosen the Pratt engine.
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#8 Panzermann

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 0651 AM

At very least they should have chosen the Pratt engine.

​

 

That did only exist on paper then either. But much of the decision was industry politics of course, to nurture european engine design capabilities.

 

 

Maybe they should have just copied and modernised the Kuznetsov NK-12.  ^_^​ 


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#9 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 0730 AM

I dont understand why we didnt just hang Trent engines on it, and sod being a turboprop.


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#10 lastdingo

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 0753 AM

Turbofans are quite unpopular for transport aircraft with a pretence of operations from austere and short runways.

Turboprops and similar can reverse thrust much better than any turbofan, which enables very small turning radii on the ground.

A transport aircraft that lands with cargo, delivers it, but then cannot manoeuvre for take-off is of little use.

 

That being said, I don't think short airfield or soft soil performance is relevant for airlift operations at all.

The one instance that I know of when the supposed STOL capability of the C-17 was used was when the crew erroneously landed on a small runway close to the real airport and had to take off for a super short hop the next day, presumably after unloading much fuel (2012).


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#11 JasonJ

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 0824 AM

Turbofans are quite unpopular for transport aircraft with a pretence of operations from austere and short runways.

Turboprops and similar can reverse thrust much better than any turbofan, which enables very small turning radii on the ground.

A transport aircraft that lands with cargo, delivers it, but then cannot manoeuvre for take-off is of little use.

 

That being said, I don't think short airfield or soft soil performance is relevant for airlift operations at all.

The one instance that I know of when the supposed STOL capability of the C-17 was used was when the crew erroneously landed on a small runway close to the real airport and had to take off for a super short hop the next day, presumably after unloading much fuel (2012).

 

C-2 can take off from 500 meters. C-1 from 460 meters.


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#12 Panzermann

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 0902 AM

Turboprops are more fuel efficient and are said to be better on a dirt strip and not as susceptible to FOD hazards than jet engines.


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#13 JasonJ

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 0918 AM

Turboprops are more fuel efficient and are said to be better on a dirt strip and not as susceptible to FOD hazards than jet engines.


That's true and I recall that being a specific requirement for the A400m.

But C-2 had a specific requirement for short runway takeoff. Its quite shorter than A400m's 770 meters and C-130's 600 meters.

Edited by JasonJ, 15 November 2019 - 0919 AM.

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#14 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 1218 PM

Turboprops are more fuel efficient and are said to be better on a dirt strip and not as susceptible to FOD hazards than jet engines.


Maybe so, but then we see the C17, and the il76.

I think it's too same big to be seen as a Hercules replacement, where I can see such considerations apply.
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#15 Yama

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 1237 PM

Jet transports designed to operate from unpaved small fields tend to have awkward engine placements, like An-72.
C-17 and Il-76 don't really have same austere field capabilities as smaller turboprops.
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#16 Chris Werb

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 1314 PM

C-17 austere field capabilities are seldom if ever used and certainly not by the RAF.


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#17 BJE

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 0543 AM

 

Turboprops are more fuel efficient and are said to be better on a dirt strip and not as susceptible to FOD hazards than jet engines.


Maybe so, but then we see the C17, and the il76.

I think it's too same big to be seen as a Hercules replacement, where I can see such considerations apply.

 

As military equipment has grown in size since the 50ies, the transport aircraft has to grown also. So the A400M is a conceptual replacement for the Hercules even if the later is still in production.


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#18 lastdingo

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 1030 AM

IMO there never was a real need for any Luftwaffe air lift capability.

It sure was very close to useless during the Cold War.

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.


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#19 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 1039 AM

 

 

Turboprops are more fuel efficient and are said to be better on a dirt strip and not as susceptible to FOD hazards than jet engines.


Maybe so, but then we see the C17, and the il76.

I think it's too same big to be seen as a Hercules replacement, where I can see such considerations apply.

 

As military equipment has grown in size since the 50ies, the transport aircraft has to grown also. So the A400M is a conceptual replacement for the Hercules even if the later is still in production.

 

 

The problem with that reasoning is, that although the equipment may have grown in size (not that much I would argue, but lets accept the reasoning), the tactical setting in which the aircraft has to operate is not going to change that much. After all, the Hercules can operate and drop loads on every kind of frontline airstrip. We have here an aircraft that is almost twice as long again as the Hercules, and its empty weight is twice as much. How practical is it going to be to operate something that large off a front line, perhaps even road, airstrip? Not very much im guessing.

https://www.military...20&aircraft2=28

 

Its hardly much more practical than a C17. ok, its lighter, and a bit smaller. But hardly enough to make it worth risking such a large airlift asset in the kind of places you would be happy to risk an Hercules.


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#20 Panzermann

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 1847 PM


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.


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