Airbus 400M


Is this a new cargo plane? … id=1366706


if would have just taken a minute to look it up, i could have said " Its a new military transport built by airbus, thus the M on the end. :unamused:


No, the tanker is an A330 derivative.


Thanks. I actually looked it up, then edited my initial question with cargo intead of tanker.


Yes, it’s planned to replace the venerable C-130 with approx. twice the capacity of the older Hercs. But it hasn’t flown yet, primarily due to long-term engine teething problems.

It’s about two years late out of the dock, the adjusted first flight was promised before 2Q of '08, now the end of the year is a more likely target if not 2Q of '09.


I’ve seen photos of this thing before but never realized it was an Airbus product. Looks like McDonald Douglas added turbo props to a C-17 kinda.
Its pretty neat, I like the windmi, I mean propellers.


The windmills and their engines are the primary problem with getting this baby in the air. EADS is already on the third engine design after two earlier participants fell on their swords.

Given the fact that the engine is the most powerful turbo-prop in the Western world (11,000 shp), its slow gestation is to be expected. Another problem has been with the gear boxes that will give the aircraft its unusual configuration of contra-rotating eight bladed scimitar propellers on each wing.

The present design is from a consortium consisting (ownership share in brackets) of:

Rolls-Royce (28%) United Kingdom
Snecma (28%) France
MTU Aero Engines (28%) Germany
Industria de Turbo Propulsores (Sener Aeronautica and Rolls-Royce) (16%) Spain

Workshare on the TP400-D6 engine is split based on the number of aircraft purchased by each of the partner nations.The current shares are: Snecma 32.2% (including work at Techspace Aero), Rolls-Royce 25% (includes work at German operations), MTU 22.2%, ITP 20.6% (includes a Turkish share from TEI who are responsible for the front bearing structure and exhaust nozzle assemblies).

Production responsibilities are as follows:


Engine integration
HP compressor
LP shaft
Intermediate case
Bearing support structure


HP turbine
Powerplant installation
Lubrication system
Engine control system (in cooperation with MTU)
Accessory gearbox (in cooperation with Hispano-Suiza)


IP compressor
IP turbine
IP shaft
Engine control system (in cooperation with SNECMA)
Engine testing
Final assembly


Power turbine
External dressings
Front bearing support
Turbine exit casing
Special test equipment
Extensive engine testing
Exhaust nozzle

Yes, the A400M is very reminiscent of the C-17 given its swept wing and high vertical stabilizer. But it will only carry less than half of what a C-17 can, there’ll no driving an Abrams tank in it and taking off! It’s notable that the lag in deliveries of the A400M has seen the C-130J series “Super” Hercules becoming more attractive to potential customers and lead to a rash of new orders for it. (Note the six bladed scimitar Hamilton propellers, same manufacturer as the A400M propellers.)

I find it particularly ironic that the aircraft being used as a testbed for the new engine is the venerable C-130:

(Photo compliments of Chris Pasley)

and two of the problems arising during test flights are the inherent imbalance in only operating one of the 8 bladed behemoths and the minor fact that the exhaust from the 11K SHP replacement for the normal 5K SHP engine has the rather disconcerting habit of melting the vertical stabilizer and tail!


:open_mouth: contra-rotating on each wing!?

Wow, looking at photos with people walking under it, it looks very comparable in size unless…(below)

looking at this photo in scale w/ an aircraft I can relate to sizewise, that prop looks alot smaller than it does on the A400 (or at least my impression of how big the A/C is)…although it still dwarfs the C-130 classic boxy 4 blades.

great info JHEM!!!


Buy American!

Out of work? Hungry? Eat your import!


Supposedly the rationale for counter-rotating props is so that the loss of any one engine will result in identical handling characteristics, stall speeds and Vmca regardless of which engine fails. (Yes, I know, all of the Allisons on a C-130 turn clockwise.)

I have discussed this with pilots and designers a lot smarter than me and the consensus of opinion is that they did it because.

Here’s a better perspective shot. You can readily see why the plane is often called a C-17 with props.


I’m pretty sure the blades on the testbed engine are 2/3 size. Not enough fuselage clearance to swing a full sized prop.


Not that I disagree with you in principle (although I drive a Mercedes) but the US hasn’t ordered any A400s to date. Nor does any US aircraft manufacturer build anything to compete directly with the A400M.