Unveiled To Public Thursday In Spain
The Airbus A400M, the first all-new military airlifter produced
in over 30 years, made its first public appearance Thursday at the
production line in Seville, Spain.
At a ceremony presided over by His Majesty Juan-Carlos I of
Spain, the first aircraft was revealed to its customers, government
officials and an international body of journalists.
Airbus says the A400M will introduce a new set of standards to
the domain of military airlift -- a market dominated for some 30
years by the Lockheed C-130. To date, 192 orders have been received
from nine customer nations, comprising Belgium, France, Germany,
Luxemburg, Malaysia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey and the United
Not all is rosy with the A400M, however. In development for over
20 years, the plane has been repeatedly delayed due to a variety of
As ANN reported earlier this week, Airbus CEO
Thomas Enders conceded first flight of the A400M wouldn't take
place until late summer or early fall... about three months later
than previous estimates.
Optimized for both logistic and tactical operations and capable
of transporting payloads of up to 37 tonnes over distances of up to
4700 nm, the A400M offers twice the capability of the aircraft it
will replace. It also offers the potential for enhanced
interoperability in international missions involving "coalitions of
the willing" for both humanitarian and peace-keeping missions.
With an initial contract worth some 20 billion Euros, the
program was launched in 2003 under a single contract between Airbus
Military and OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation en
matiere d,Armement), the single contracting organization
representing the customers.