Several European nations (Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany,
Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain)
have established EATF (European Air Transport Fleet). This will consist of a
pool of C-130 and A400M military transports for NATO or European Union military
or (more often) peacekeeping operations.
nations get more involved in peacekeeping and humanitarian relief operations
overseas, they are hustling to make good on their shortage of long range
military transports. One solution is the EATF, so that all the transports
available can be used by any of the pool nations involved in a distant
has a pool that includes leased Russian AN-124s, and a planned buy of three or
four C-17s. Last year, four nations (Germany, France, Holland and Belgium)
created EATC (European Air Transport Command), and pooled many of their shorter
range transports (C-160s and C-130s). Members of the pool also have 117 new
A400Ms on order, but these won't begin arriving for another 3-4 years.
Cold War, such air transports were very low priority, because if there was a
war, the mighty Red Army of the Soviet Union was going to home deliver it. But
now all the action is far away, and the military needs air freight for
emergencies and other urgent missions.
An-124s get a lot of work from NATO nations. This aircraft can carry up to 130
tons of cargo, as well as outsized and extremely large cargo. The more numerous
American C-17 can only carry up to 84 tons, while the new A400M can lift a
maximum of 40 tons. The advantage of the two smaller airlifters is the ability
to operate from shorter unpaved runways, which makes them less dependable on
has a top speed of 779 kilometers per hour, a range of 7,500 kilometers, and
normally carries about 27 tons. The nearest competitor is the American C-130.
The most common version is the C-130H. It has a range of 8,368 kilometers, a
top speed of 601 kilometers per hour, and can carry up to 18 tons of cargo, 92
troops, or 64 paratroopers. The latest version, the C-130J, has a top speed of
644 kilometers, 40 percent more range than the C130H, and can carry 20 tons of
cargo. The C-130 has been in service for over half a century, and is used by
more than 50 countries. The C160 is an European aircraft, that is best
described as a half-size C-130. Great for moving stuff around inside Europe,
but less so for more distant destinations.