Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
MSN3 is in the air from Seville right now and for at least some of the time today all three aircraft were simultaneously airborne from SEV or TLS. And that's the 100th flight done.
If you can get to Farnborough 19-22 July you can see Ed Strongman's display sequence - which will not disappoint.
Official Airbus Military statement below:
The third development aircraft of the new A400M airlifter made its maiden flight today, taking off at 13h 57 local time (GMT +2) from Seville. Experimental Test Pilot Tony Flynn captained the flight, supported by Experimental Test Pilot François Barre. The crew also included Flight Test Engineers Laurent Lapierre and José Angel Corugedo, and Test Flight Engineer Gérard Maisonneuve. MSN 3 joins its sister-ships MSN 1 and MSN 2 which were also in the air during this test flight, meaning that 3 A400M were flying at the same time. During the day this fleet also passed the milestone of 100 test flights and 400 flight hours. Airbus head of flight operations Fernando Alonso said: “The addition of MSN3 to the fleet is great news and will let us push ahead even more rapidly with the flying programme.” MSN3 is the third of an eventual five aircraft which will conduct the 3,700 hour flight-test programme leading to first delivery. It is the first aircraft to carry a medium flight-test instrumentation load, rather than the heavy fit of the first two, and will be primarily dedicated to auto-flight development, aircraft systems development, and route-proving. The fourth aircraft, MSN4, is at an advanced stage of manufacture at Seville and is due to fly around the end of the year, followed by the fifth in mid-2011. A total of 184 aircraft have so far been ordered by Belgium France, Germany, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom
Shots elsewhere (Flightglobal) of the A400M at Brize alongside a C-17 and a Hercules show just how much of a "narrow-body" (to borrow a term from civil aviation) the C-130 is. Time for the RAF to move into the "wide-body" age, and for military transport pilots to get their mitts on fly by wire and sidesticks* on an aircraft which can move what the Army's being equipped with into places where the Army (inter alia) needs it...
*PS. In addition to the lucky drivers of A330s, though I don't know how many of those will be driven by RAF pilots and how many by AirTankers' people.
Last edited by Jig Peter; 19th Jul 2010 at 15:41.
Reason: Add PS (and asterisks)
It's probably fair to say that the RAF would have loved to have moved into the "wide body and side stick age" many many many months ago.
Sadly the folk tasked with providing this new technology seem to have been dragging their corporate arses, so much so that the latest rumour going round is that the Defence review could see even more changes to the order
Whilst we truckie pilots thank you for looking out for us I suspect many of us aren't particularly bothered by sidesticks and quite a few of us are already involved in "wide body" trucking. Sadly, those poor souls find that their hugely capable Boeing strat/tac airlifter is tied up doing endless, mostly soul destroying strat lifting to and from theatre. I suspect your "wide-body" Airbus will end up doing the same, regardless of what the brochure says.
As for delivering what the Army needs to where they need it I suspect you and they will also continue to be disappointed. As the RAF has become the most risk averse outfit ever to put on a uniform you'll be unlikely to see the Airburkules do anything other move big loads from 11000ft tarmac rwy to 11000ft tarmac rwy.
I know that things are DIRE and that 2 fleets per role is the aspiration from on high, but I cannot see the Herc J Fleet getting dumped post SDSR (The K's are another story, obviously). More likely I would suggest is that we're talking C-17 and Herc J until 2015-16, then sell the J's and get take delivery of A400M.
thats what I meant! They would have to "prove" the 400M before getting rid of a highly capable fleet; having said that, course 1 A400M would probably be good for the states route currencies, as well as all those trips to the far east on export deal trips!
The sop for sticking with the A400 will be the "early" retirement of the J - early 2020s.
Stopstart's crystal balls reckon that SDR will see sacking off of remaining K fleet forthwith, reduction in A400 buy + earlier retirement of J, reduction of AWACs fleet by at least 50%, canx RIVET JOINT and possible binning of MRA4. Would be nice to dispose of VC10 but we'd lose AAR capability. Leasing a couple of tanker spec C130Js off the Italians would fill the gap but I suspect our Lords and Masters will be too busy abusing themselves over the fabulous JSF brochure to look that deeply into it all....
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Stoppers, the Italians are very glad to have their tanker-spec C-130s because Ol' Bubba Boeing still hasn't been able to get the dismal KC-767I to work properly.... So I doubt whether they'd agree to releasing the only tanker platforms they currently have which actually work....
Given a few more years in the sand and it won't be just the C-130Ks which will be totally shagged out. So I would envisage a slow 1:1 A400M:C-130J programme. Numbers don't add up? Yes, but, thanks to the sandaholics, there will be a whole herd of CH-47s looking for a role in life post-2014....
Had Marshalls ever been capable of giving the TriStar a multi-hose capability, then the VC10 (apart from 'those' 3 K3s...) would certainly be facing early retirement. Whereas now I would envisage the VC10 adopting a 'tanker-only' role pretty soon - and the TriStar being used increasingly less as a tanker. Particularly if the cost of operating TriStar and FSTA together comes under closer scrutiny.
My ears tell me that a certain FSTA organisation has a contractual clause in place which will make the UK A400M's use as a tanker somewhat problematic - except, perhaps, for refuelling helicopters...
A task for which a KC-27J with a lightweight fusleage refuelling unit would be far better employed.....
BEags, the only trouble with a one for one type swap is that you're not swapping like for like. Shiny new A400 will roll straight into strat lifting; your intra-theatre lift and airdrop will still have to be covered by the J for a long while yet. As for the Italians I'd heard they were trying to offload their tankers a while back - maybe just unfounded rumour
Can't make it on Friday unfortunately as I'll be flying round in circles chucking stuff at the sea!