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First Airbus A400M for Spanish air force emerges from paintshop

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 20, 2016
A supplied image of the first Airbus A400M for the Spanish Air Force. (Airbus)
A supplied image of the first Airbus A400M for the Spanish Air Force. (Airbus)

The first Airbus A400M military airlifter for the Spanish air force has emerged from the paintshop at the manufacturer’s final assembly line in Seville, Spain.

Airbus Defence and Space said the aircraft, MSN44, would now undergo ground tests ahead of its planned first flight in mid-July.

Spain has ordered 14 A400Ms.

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18 Comments

  • Gordy

    says:

    They’re a big mover aren’t they. They may in the RAAF future to be considered for a eventual C-130J replacement in the 2030’s, if they are still in production then. Mind you, they have one fault that’s major, from what I hear; that is, they can’t dual deploy paratroop sticks from the side doors due to air turbulence flow issues.
    Major comment:The record of introduction of European produced and designed items into the ADF has been a slippery slope in the past 20 years, thus I would say,….no. Then again, this didn’t preclude the Short fin Barracuda did it.

  • Harry

    says:

    One major fault? Another is they cannot refuel helicopters unlike the C-130Js. Another is they cannot use bare bases, i.e. those with rough airfields. Another is they cannot use short runways, rather they need very long ones.

  • John J

    says:

    Barracuda isn’t in service yet. Euro products largely haven’t had a good track record- even going back to using them inVietam. Maybe we should stick with US/UK products ?

  • Paul Brisbane

    says:

    Australia now has a very balanced, modern transport fleet, The Germans are looking for a plane to fill the gap between the A400 and there old transports. The A400 is unable to land at a lot of remote airstrips at present available to C130 aircraft. By 2030 the USA will have the next generation available and a smart Government would invest to open the doors for local companies to be involved.

  • ULISES VELEZ

    says:

    THE SPANISH-AIR-FORCE HAVE STATE OF THE ART TACTICAL AIRLIFT TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT. FOR WORLDWIDE OPERATIONS.

  • Sean

    says:

    LOL , guys it is in the pipeline , not because we need it but because NZ does and that $20 Billion they promised to spend gets more bang if we buy six to their supposed 4 , supposed because were meant to sign on with NZ fixed for three with an option of ONE which we all know they will NEVER take up . Dont believe me , well look for an Airbus announcement and it gets better , some how the Kiwis get heavy maintenance with them buying less ! i do this in the interest of AUS and say NO to these monstrosities , im also drunk and well as the saying goes if not up in rank then out .

  • HerkyNav

    says:

    Finally, a replacement for the Caribou.

  • G4george

    says:

    A French or NZ wine Sean?

  • rpaps5

    says:

    Why the Euro-bashing guys? They are NOT the only producers of defence equipment who have development problems – it is how they are sorted and the eventual outcome that matters.
    Boeing has just as bad a track record as the Europeans – remember the E7A Wedgetail development, it ran 48 months late and the aust govt was so concerned it engaged an independent US University to confirm or deny that the AESA concept was able to work or not. The C17 development was a disaster in it’s infancy -long before Aust became interested, but it also came good.

    The Airbus KC30A boom while a development basketcase to start with is now running rings around all of the available US Tankers – and the Boeing KC767 development is still to work and has been delayed several times.

    The problem is, everyone wants the latest and greatest right now, even if the product is still on paper/just in production/immature etc. Face it ALL new products are so complex these days, they take time well past the estimated in-service date to become mature/reliable/fully operational!!

    RP

  • Harry

    says:

    The replacement for the Caribou is the Spartan; its a completely different plane

  • Red Barron

    says:

    Classic call G4george. Had me chuckling for an hour.

  • Derrick Aguero

    says:

    Everyone has forgotten the dark horse from Brazil, the KC -390. Same payload as the A400, roughly the same lenght and wingspan and backed by Beoing……

  • Sam Fulton

    says:

    I would put money on the RNZAF buying five of these to replace the C-130H models. Also Airbus recently acquired Safe Air in Blenheim which if you were a betting man would indicate the A-400M is a guarantee

  • Harry

    says:

    I doubt the RNZAF would buy such aircraft!

    1. It can’t refuel SF helicopters, unlike C-130s
    2. It can’t take off/land on short runways
    3. It can’t take off/land on bare (undeveloped) runways
    4. There are cheaper alternatives, such as C-130Js
    5. C-130Js share commonality with current ones providing savings in spares, simulators & skills training, etc.
    6. There are still many problems with the A400M with a number of developmental issues.

    Because of 1&2 they wouldn’t be able to land on the far flung rough airstrips of NZs various disparate island territories! Nor where the NZs would likely use them, say ETimor, PNG, Solomon Isl., etc. Although potentially usable for the Antarctic. Nevertheless, it doesn’t make sense, and I would be very surprised if they went ahead with it. Not without getting some Tactical lift that could. Like C-130Js or C-27 Spartans. But that would cost a lot of NZDF Dollars

  • Sam Fulton

    says:

    Valid points Harry but the problem with the C-130J is that we aren’t really getting much more than we have already got in terms of updates and you can’t fit NH-90’s into the back of a C-130J. As for refuelling helicopters in mid-air the NH-90 and A-109 have no such specs in the RNZAF.

    The C-17 in the early stages of production back in 1995 had all sorts of problems. It is now a magnificent aircraft. I firmly believe the A-400 once all the teething problems are sorted will be an amazing aircraft.

    From what I have heard Airbus is pitching the A-400M and Casa 295 to the RNZAF.

  • Harry

    says:

    True enough. I guess it all depends on the development. But if as you say Airbus is pitching both A400M and Casa 295… then that combo could work, so yeah I guess I agree then. Although for ANZAC interoperability… It would be great if they got the C-27 Spartan. Anyway, I heard they are wanting to pitch the A400M to the US. Well see how that goes. Do you know if there is still one or 2 unclaimed C-17s? That would be perfect for NZ, considering its white paper had a big section on the antarctic.

  • Derrick Aguero

    says:

    Harry, the last 2 C-17 are emark for Qatar, so no luck for NZ or any other country that already have C-17…..

  • Sam Fulton

    says:

    Harry, I agree, the C-27 would be great to be using alongside the RAAF, I guess the RNZAF has to look at the best bang for the buck as the defence budget in NZ is limited. Once they chose the NH-90 to replace the Hueys and went down the European route they suddenly had to look at how to transport them to any disaster zone or relief effort. Putting them onboard Navy ships is far from ideal.

    There has been no mention of replacing the RNZAF King Airs in the recent Defence White Paper and four C-27’s could be a great replacement for 42 SQN. This has been discussed from time to time.

    As for the C-17’s there is only one white tail left, the RNZAF were looking at two of them but at a price tag of $600 million and not to mention the fuel bill and running costs I think the idea has been shelved but you never know. I think to work alongside the RAAF and other western Air Forces the C-17’s are the way to go but I just don’t think the budget would allow it. The only other contender would be the A-400M.

    It will be very interesting to see which way they go. I am a Boeing man through and through but I think the RNZAF will go down the A-400M route for heavy air transport. “If it’s not Boeing it ain’t worth going”!!!!

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