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Luftwaffe Refuses Delivery Of Two A400M's


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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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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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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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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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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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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
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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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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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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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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.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/compare-aircraft-results.asp?aircraft1=820&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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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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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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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
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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
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