YouTube – Airbus A400M
three or four
4 x 11,060 hp ea.
139 ft. 1 in.
The Airbus A400M is arguably the world’s most versatile turboprop military transport aircraft. It was conceived in the early 1980’s as a European alternative to primarily American built mid sized propeller driven tactical cargo transport aircraft and air tankers.
Production of the aircraft prototype went through a number of growing pains, with manufacturing partners coming and going. This, and the complexity of the project, delayed its development. The Airbus A400M was introduced to the public on June 26, 2008 and made its first flight on December 11, 2009.
The Airbus A400M uses a fly by wire control system. It can maneuver at roll rates of up to thirty five degrees/second and can roll up to 120 degrees. Extensive use of composites means lower overall weight, a longer fuselage life, minimal corrosion and air frameware. The wings are a light weight design, optimized for efficient lift distribution. A computerized engine control system enables faster throttle response and more economical operation.
There is ample room in the Airbus A400M for machinery and cargo that weighs too much or is too big for other aircraft of its type. In addition to military transport, the aircraft can be used for the quick transportation of humanitarian supplies into undeveloped landing strips.
The Airbus A400M is able to fly at near jet-like speeds and ceilings, with the economy of turboprop engines. This means it is able to fly more missions in a given time, react more quickly to critical events, and keep crew and transported soldiers stress to a minimum.
The aircraft has been optimized to operated from remote, unprepared landing strips. It has the power and thrust to operate at higher altitudes and temperatures, carrying heavier loads than comparable aircraft.
There is no need for external equipment to quickly on load and off load most cargo. This can get the aircraft in and out of “hot” landing zones in a hurry, reducing the chances of taking incoming hits.
Because the Airbus A400M can carry more parachutists and heavier droppable loads than other similar aircraft, fewer sorties will need to be flown to deliver similar quantities of goods, promoting overall savings.
Parachuting and cargo drops can quickly and efficiently be made through either rear doors or a rear ramp. This can be at altitudes as high as 40,000 feet due to a high efficiency pressurization system. Cargo can also be safely delivered during passes at altitudes as low as fifteen feet.
TheAirbus A400M can be set up for Medevac transportation of up to 66 liters and 25 medical attendants.
For air to air refueling the Airbus A400M is capable of matching the ideal refueling speeds and altitudes of the slowest and fastest, lowest and highest flying of military aircraft and helicopters. No other air tanker operating today can match the wide flight envelope of the A400M.
Germany’s Airbus A400M aircraft will be equipped with Elbit’s DIRCM (Directional Infrared Counter Measures). The DIRCM system uses cutting-edge fiber laser optics combined with sensors to defend aircraft in the event of an attack from infrared-seeking surface-to-air missiles.
In February of 2020, Airbus disclosed that it faces US$1.3 billion in added charges across the A400M program. They say that a new contract with OCCAR and the launch nations of Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey, and the UK is a cost neutral agreement. It is designed to “achieve Airbus A400M aircraft full suite of contracted capabilities and retrofit schedule while also keeping the program on a sound financial footing”.
To date Airbus has produced some 87 Airbus A400M aircraft and has multiple orders from nations around the world, primarily England, France, Germany and Spain.
RC Airbus A400M
The RC Airbus A400M is a relatively new aircraft and, so far as we know, these are the only models of it and the sole source of scale airplane plans and kits for it is from Tony Nijhuis Designs.
Pictured above is the giant scale RC Airbus A400M scratch built by Sergio Vergara. It has a 12 foot wingspan and is made from balsa and plywood. Sergio uses .91 Saito four stroke engines to power the 46 lb. model.
The Tony Nijhuis Designs RC Airbus A400M has a wingspan of 76 in. with a length of 63 in. Construction is from balsa and ply. It will take Speed 600 size motors for power, either brushed or brushless. Best performance with the brushed motors was achieved using 9 x 7 props. Weight of the model, ready to fly, is just 9 1/2 lbs.