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Is Airbus A400M a C-130 Competitor?


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I would say the A400M is competing more with the C-17 rather than the C-130. Pictures don't do it justice in terms of size and power. Notice the size of the props (17.5 feet diameter) and engine power (~11,000 SHP) below

General characteristics

Crew: 3 or 4 (2 pilots, 3rd optional, 1 loadmaster)

Capacity: 37,000 kg (82,000 lb)

116 fully equipped troops / paratroops,

up to 66 stretchers accompanied by 25 medical personnel

Length: 45.1 m (148 ft 0 in)

Wingspan: 42.4 m (139 ft 1 in)

Height: 14.7 m (48 ft 3 in)

Empty weight: 76,500 kg (168,654 lb)

Max takeoff weight: 141,000 kg (310,852 lb)

Max. landing weight: 122,000 kg (268,963 lb)

Total internal fuel: 50,500 kg (111,330 lb)

Powerplant: 4 × Europrop TP400-D6 turboprop, 8,250 kW (11,060 hp) each

Propellers: 8-bladed, 5.3 m (17 ft 5 in) diameter

Cruising speed: 780 km/h (480 mph; 420 kn) (Mach 0.68 - 0.72)

Initial cruise altitude: at MTOW: 9,000 m (29,000 ft)

Range: 3,298 km (2,049 mi; 1,781 nmi) at max payload (long range cruise speed; reserves as per MIL-C-5011A)

Range at 30-tonne payload: 4,540 km (2,450 nmi)

Range at 20-tonne payload: 6,390 km (3,450 nmi)

Ferry range: 8,710 km (5,412 mi; 4,703 nmi)

Service ceiling: 11,300 m (37,073 ft)

Tactical takeoff distance: 980 m (3,215 ft) (aircraft weight 100 tonnes, soft field, ISA, sea level)

Tactical landing distance: 770 m (2,526 ft) (as above)

Turning radius (ground): 28.6 m

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Don't get me wrong, I like the concept of the A400M, and it is being marketed as the middle ground between the C-130 and the C-17. There is a demand for it, as not everyone can afford the maintenance-intensive Globemasters, but there are a lot of loads that don't quite fit into the Herk.

It is perhaps a competitor as much as the C-27J is. Different size, different market.

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