Air Transportation: A400M Attempts A Comeback

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June 5, 2016: Indonesia recently announced that it will purchase one or more of the Airbus A400M transports. The 141 ton A400M has a cruising speed of 780 kilometers per hour, a range of 6,400 kilometers (with a 20 ton load), and normally carries about 30 tons (or 116 paratroopers or slightly more regular passengers). The A400M entered service in 2013, four years late. This, and continuing delays, caused many customers to cut back on their orders or cancel entirely. So far 174 A400Ms have been ordered and 24 delivered. Indonesia would be the second customer outside Europe. The other is Malaysia which has ordered four and received two in 2015.

A400M was meant to be major competition for to the American C-130J and older C-130H military transport aircraft but so far that has not happened. Most C-130s are the 70 ton C-130H which 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 79 ton 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 is used by more than 50 countries. The A400M had an opportunity to give the C-130 a lot of competition, but this opportunity was diluted because the A400M failed to arrive on time and on budget. Still, the C-130 does now have the most formidable competitor it has ever faced in the A400M, which is expected to match all C-130 capabilities over the next few years.

 


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