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Paul Jackson- The A 400 is a better plane

Had the pleasure of jumping out of them in Fort Bragg years ago, sure were fun for that......no need to worry about squaring in the door..........WHOOOSH!
KevinB said:
Well no doubt some are -- I am sure a lot are in better shape than our Hercs though -- but I smell a potentialBritish Sub fiasco if the CF went that route.

  It may be practical to get some from the USAF as a transition piece for the C17?   But I am not airforce guru so I dont knwo if that would help or hinder -- and given we dont seem to be getting C17's anytime soon...

Heard a storey a some time back .Might be true ,might not roughly 8 or so years ago there was a joint Canada/US airpower conferences I understand it  they offered us 18-24 C141B s the offer was turned down on the grounds that the 141's were rather  old on the tooth( mind you the141's offered up had about half the hours our C130 E's had at the time.)
GK - would imagine that the 141s have put in a lot more time onto their clocks since 9/11
Ugh...C-141.  Bad memories of flying from NY to the Ukraine in one of those back in July 2001 with 180 other Marines (plus kit) crammed in like sardines to the point that we were staggered seating with our knees interlinked into the other guy's crotch who was opposite you.  Making a head call underway was kind of like crowd surfing in that you literally had to walk over other Marines to make it to the crapper.  Not a fun way to spend 14 hours.
Back to the A-400M....

Came across this article.  The Malays are buying 4 A400s to replace/supplement their C130s.

Cost - about 185 MUSD a copy - presumably including spares, support and training (simulators maybe?)

Delivery - 2013-2014

Fascinating that:

A) They can tolerate the long lead time

B) They can plan far enough ahead that they can tolerate the long lead time

A400M Aircraft to Boost Armed Forces Capability, Says Najib
(Source: Bernama news agency; published Dec. 8, 2005)

(Copyright Bernama news agency; reproduced by permission)
LANGKAW, Malaysia --- Malaysia Thursday signed an agreement with Airbus Military to procure four A400M aircraft worth RM2.8 billion in efforts to beef up the defence forces' capabilities. 

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the new aircraft would replace in stages the ageing fleet of its C130 transport aircraft currently in service. 

He told this to reporters after witnessing the signing ceremony at the Mahsuri International Exhibition and Convention Centre (MIEC) in conjunction with the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) 2005 here. He said two of the aircraft would be delivered on 2013 while the rest on 2014. 

"The government decided to purchase the aircraft as we need aircraft with the latest technology and with high capability to replace the C130," he said. Najib, who is also the Defence Minister said, the C130 would continue its role until it is no longer economical to operate the aircraft. 

Through the purchase of A400M, Malaysia is to benefit from the aircraft development whereby a Malaysian firm, Composites Technology Research Malaysia Sdn Bhd (CTRM), would undertake two development programmes worth RM907 in manufacturing composite components. 

He said, Malaysia would also receive additional programmes worth RM800 million if there is more orders for the aircraft from all over the world. 

"Based on additional orders for 196 aircraft of that type from all over the world, we are expected to receive additional work worth RM800 million," he said. 

CTRM was established in November 1990 by Minister of Finance Malaysia Inc in line with the government's aspiration to start manufacturing composite parts for the aerospace industry. 

After looking at the advantages and the opportunity to expand the nation's "aerospace" industry, the government made the decision to buy the four aircraft, said Najib. 

"The procurement must be seen as a package, not only to fulfill the armed forces' needs but also as an effort to expand the nation's aerospace industry," he said. 

Najib also witnessed the signing of several more contracts for the supply and delivery of military equipment between Malaysia and the respective suppliers, among others Selex Sistemi Integrati, Sapura Thales Electronics and Sapura Defense Sdn Bhd. 

Apart from that, Najib also witnessed the delivery of an Agusta A109 Light Observation Helicopter by AgustaWestland for the army at the MIEC ground. (ends) 


At the link there is an attached article talking about the industrial offsets secured and EADS global expansion.

It also states that it will be 2 years before the A400s "Maiden Flight".  How much slack in that? How long to debug?

Better make that a 10-12 year lease on the C-17s ......
GK .Dundas said:
Heard a storey a some time back .Might be true ,might not roughly 8 or so years ago there was a joint Canada/US airpower conferences I understand it  they offered us 18-24 C141B s the offer was turned down on the grounds that the 141's were rather  old on the tooth( mind you the141's offered up had about half the hours our C130 E's had at the time.)

True...late 80's.  Also, with Salt II and other conv arms reductions, in 1984 the US offered CAF (then) a whackload of AH-1S...the US figured it was physically cheaper to give them to Canada free, than to even ship back Stateside to "remove said weapon systems for inventory in Germany".  This was, of course, while the CFLH (CF Light Helicopter, known as CFNSLH - CF not-so-light helicopter, just before the programme's closure) was in full swing...Canuck pride wouldn't let us avoid looking the gifthorswe in the mouth and just take the freebie Cobras...they had just got the -S mod, too!  ::)

I figure we have to do a mission analysis to determine just what it is we can realistically require of the transport fleet.  As much as lots of strat lift would be timely, the pragmatic (and equally cheap Scot inside of me) figures that the greatest specialized lift capability bang for buck is the tactical, short-range intra and intertheatre lift from the strat airhead for replenishment purposes, thus not sure that lifting LAVs in would be a driving factor (AN225 Mryia is not a bad option for dumping Mech into theatre).  I don't think the B747-CBF is such a bad idea to get stuff to the theatre airhead (lily padding?), given our limited funds.  My discussion with many TAL buds is either buy more H models from around the world or get the J's and figure out something about the props...apparently the composite props of the 130J and 130J-30 are prone to nicking/abrasion that quickly takes the props near tolerances...can't verify that but there must be a shred of truth to it asI've heard some TAL guys say buy -J's and put -H props on them.  FWIW, I'm not sure that the C27J is best bang for the buck...I've been in the back of one and it is SMALL...think of the hercs going into theatre now, and put the ramp at where the current rag-and-tube seating stops...hmmmm.  Not just because I'd kill to fly one, but MH-47Gs are in-flight refuelable, only fly 70-80 kts slower than a C27J and can still carry a similary payload (albeit admittedly over shorter distances.)

So, that's what I'd do...

Strat: B747-freighters (lots of -200s and -300s in addition to the -8 and -CBFs more avail as A380 converts staqrt hucking more 747s),
Op/Tac: C130J's with H-model metal props or get and refurb more H's and put a common avionics suite in them. 
Short tac: ...have a hard time saying C-27J, wanna say -47G or F, but will wimp out as say nothing less/smaller than Herc for intra-theatre cargo.

FWIW, 2 more ¢...

Duey thanks for the insight.

I like the hook idea for short tac -- due to the capability to sit down and pick up casualties from complete terrain -- something the others cannot.

Kev, the only other thing I think would work out is the MV-22...which, of course, I'd gladly fly! ;D
Duey - How fast can those new -Gs fly?  70 to 80 knots difference?  Info I have from Flug Revue suggests 325 ktas cruise for the C27 and 140 ktas cruise for the -SD and most other models. 

Also how fast do they go with 10 tonnes hanging from their belly or flying at 30,000 ft?

Being cheeky.

If-I-were-king-of-the-world you'd still get your 'Hooks, and the J-30s  probably are "the answer" but I still think that the C27 would fit nicely into the mix.


Kirkhill, I must have transposed my info for the 27J...I was thinking 235-255 kts for the Spartan.  A Chinook's Vne is in the 160's or 170's...our CH147 Vne was 173kts.  I flew up to 169 on a test flight once in a CH147 and we would normally cruise at at least 140, sometimes 150 if we were lightly loaded.  Looks like my math doesn't quite work out then...I'd still fly the 47G! Or....like I mentioned to Kevin, an MV-22! :D

Duey, that's the C27 Spartan's competition, the Casa 295, that only does 256.  And while the 27 has a 2.25 m high cabin the 295 only has a 1.9 m cabin - watch that helmet.


CDS is a forward looking type of guy but, unfortunately, we're so far behind the 8 ball that it will be some time before we have the luxury of being able to get delivery of what we need when we need it.
One of the problems we are likely to encounter is getting ANY aircraft in a timely fashion.

C130s and C141s are using up their remaining hours fast.  The C5 I don't know about but can't think it is in any better shape.

And according to the article below the C-17s are rapidly eating up the airframe hours (especially for the first 50 to 70 or so) due to heavy loads and short, rough strips.  10 year old aircraft worth 135 MUSD apiece due to be clapped out in 5 years.

Logistics wants to increase build from current 180 a/c to 300-350 a/c.  Air Force apparently wants to build other a/c instead.

It sounds to me as if the US is going to be looking for any open production lines that can supply air transport for some time.  C-17, C-130J and C-27J may all end up being put into production out of necessity and then, unless we can organize something like the M777s for the arty, we could be looking at very long delivery times in any event.

Idle speculation on my part.  Anybody got any hard facts?


April 17, 2005: The U.S. Air Force is desperately scrambling to get money to build its new F-22 and F-35 fighters. But in the meantime, an even more essential aircraft, the new C-17 transport, is being worked to death. The problem is that the C-17 is more in demand during the war on terror than are air force combat aircraft. Only the two dozen AC-130 gunships, and a hundred or so A-10 ground attack aircraft and F-16 fighter-bombers are getting steady work these days. But their workload is nothing compared to the C-17s, which are in constant demand to deliver personnel and material to American troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other places where the war on terror is being fought.

The C-17 entered service ten years ago, and those first few aircraft quickly compiled 3,000 flight hours supporting peacekeeping operations in Bosnia. Each C-17 has a useful life of 30,000 flight hours, but the current force is flying such long, and hard (landing on rough fields) flights that many of the early model C-17s will be worn out within five or so years. This attrition is accelerated by the fact that the early model C-17s are structurally different, and weaker, than the later model C-17s. The wing box in the center of the fuselage was insufficiently strong  for the loads placed on it. This was corrected later in the production run, but those early planes are going to wear out faster than later model planes of the same flight hours. Adding to this problem is the fact that many C-17s are landing on rough fields with heavy loads and are taking life time shortening structural damage. We have flown a lot of C-17s into northern Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and a bunch of other 'stans with rough/short strips in 2001 and 2003. The C-17 was built for this sort of thing, but lots of these landing come at the price of shorter useful life.

It's always been an uphill fight getting new air transports built. There were so many delays in the C-17 program that, when the 1991 Gulf War came along, the C-17 was not available and the the C-141 transports, that was supposed to keep flying until 2010, were basically worn out and had to be retired early. Now the C-17s are doing more work, to make up for the missing C-141s. Originally, there were to be 120 C-17s (at $135 million each), with production ending in 2004. After September 11, 2001, it was realized that more air transports would be needed, and the production run of the C-17 was increased to 180. It is now proposed to  increase it again to  222 aircraft. But logistics planners insist that 300 will be needed, if wartime needs are to be met. Moreover, the rapid deterioration of the early model C-17s means that eventually 350, or more, will have to be built to maintain a fleet of 300 transports.

The major problem is that the air force is run by combat pilots. Although they recognize the importance of the C-17, they tend to focus on getting warplanes built. Additional C-17 construction comes at the expense of building new combat aircraft, and that's a hard sell inside the air force. Usually, it lobbying by the army, and other branches of the government, that compels Congress to strong arm the air force generals to build the needed C-17s. It's an ugly, messy and time consuming way to get aircraft built, but it works.
Kirkhill said:
C130s and C141s are using up their remaining hours fast.   The C5 I don't know about but can't think it is in any better shape.

The C-5 is just as bad, if not worse.  In 2002, when I worked with them, the aircraft in service spent most of their time on the ramp, puking oil and there were other problems as well - that I forget at the moment.  Serviceability was brutal and TRANSCOM could hardly keep to a published schedule because of it.
There seems to be a lot of discussion about acquiring the C27J Spartan for either Tactical Airlift or Fixed Wing SAR.  What does not seem to be taken into consideration is that there has been a grand total of two Spartans delivered to any military in the world.  The only country that has them is Greece, and of the two that has been delivered, only one has been accepted.  The delivery schedule is well behind.
When Lockheed bid for the US Coast Guard C130 replacement, it rejected the Spartan as a platform, and instead used the CASA 235 for its (winning) bid.  Interesting, considering that Lockheed was originally a supporter of the aircraft.
The other thing that should be considered is that the manufacturer, Alenia, has a very poor record of supporting aircraft.  The USAF bought ten C27A aircraft in the early 90s, and parked them after five years due to parts and maintenance problems. 
All this to say that you really have to be careful what you ask for, someone might give it to you.....
2010 too late for new planes


Tuesday, December 20, 2005 Posted at 4:05 AM EST

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

Ottawa â ” The first of 16 new military transport planes is not scheduled for delivery until 2010, two years after the Department of National Defence says its aging Hercules fleet will be inoperable, an internal government document obtained by The Globe and Mail shows.

The document, which the Defence Department submitted to the Treasury Board last month, raises fresh questions about the federal government's approval in the last days of its mandate of the $4.6-billion aircraft purchase.

DND officials for weeks have insisted that the procurement had to be completed urgently because the Hercules fleet must be replaced in about 36 months, or the lives of pilots and crew will be at undue risk.

"We know that three years and a little bit more than that, the fleet starts to become almost completely inoperational," General Rick Hillier, Chief of Defence Staff, said last month.

He added that Canadian troops need new planes "not another 15 years from now, not 10 years from now and actually not even five years from now."

Gen. Hillier reiterated the statement in a private briefing several weeks ago with the Bloc Québécois and New Democratic Party defence critics.

"They're trying to explain to us that if nothing is done today, the whole fleet will fall apart in three years," Bloc MP Claude Bachand said at the time.

The Treasury Board document thus raises new questions about DND's bidding process, which until now has effectively shut out competitors other than Lockheed Martin.

Asked about the document, the Defence Department said it has no comment. Defence Minister Bill Graham also declined to comment.

The accelerated process and in particular the contract specifications have been widely understood in the defence industry to favour Lockheed Martin over other potential contenders such as Airbus and Boeing.

Gen. Hillier and Mr. Graham have insisted that DND's conditions for the contract do not make the process uncompetitive, because the necessity for speedy delivery is incontrovertible.

They say any company is free to satisfy those conditions, if it can.

But according to a secret DND timetable and cost projection to the Treasury Board, dated Nov. 21 and signed by Mr. Graham, the timing of the delivery of the first aircraft is not three years out, but nearly five, in May, 2010. A copy of the document was obtained by The Globe and Mail.

A detailed table in the document sets out a schedule that would deliver four aircraft a year in each of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, for a total of 16.

A table, entitled Project Milestones, says that, given "preliminary project approval" in November of this year, the contract will be awarded in May, 2007.

The apparent two-year delay is significant. The Defence Department has been told by Airbus that the company can deliver two A400M transports by 2010, and the balance by 2014, as well as provide refurbished Hercules transports in the interim, should that be necessary.

"That is guaranteed," said Martin Sefzig, director of programs at EADS-Casa, Airbus's major shareholder.

"The production line has been designed to accommodate extra orders."

Although it remains unclear which aircraft bests suits DND's needs, this casts into doubt the most compelling argument against the Airbus craft, which is that it could not be available in time to meet DND's schedule.

Last month, after a plan to buy $12.2-billion worth of 50 military aircraft was criticized by industry insiders and opposition politicians for perceived unfairness of the bidding process, the Defence Minister announced an abridged plan, for transport planes only. Of the total $4.6-billion cost, $3-billion is directly related to procuring the aircraft, with $1.6-billion for servicing costs over 20 years.

At a news conference on Nov. 22, Mr. Graham and Gen. Hillier dismissed allegations that contract requirements were tailored so that only one plane, Lockheed Martin's Hercules C-130J, could fulfill them.

"The procurement process will be competitive, fair and transparent," Mr. Graham said. A spokesman for Mr. Graham reiterated this recently.
With time-lines getting so short, we risk being boxed into a bad contract before our aircraft fall out of the sky.

There was a long running thread in the Air Force section which examined the feasibility of purchasing Russian IL-76 transports as a field expedient solution to our problems. Bad as it may sound (and we would have to buy 2-3 IL-76 and do total cannibalization and rebuilds for each one we actually want to fly), they have the indisputable virtue of being available RIGHT NOW. The former Soviet Union built over 500 of the beasts and I think they are still in production. We could get planes for a fairly modest price ($50 million each seems to ring a bell), and bulk discounts are always available. Even with the overage and rebuild costs we could have six or more flying for the cost of two C-17s.

The long lead times for C-17s, C-130J, and the fact the A-400 dosn't even exist (and the AN-70 is in permanent prototype status) really dosn't provide many alternatives.
As bad as all the other options are cobbled together Il-76s are likely to be worse.

It would quickly become a plumber's nightmare of worn-out cannibalized parts, long lead Russian parts of unknown quality and domestically reverse engineered parts.  If the aerotechs are having fits with the CP-140 they would love the IL-76.

The C-17 should not be hard to come by as the line was only being held open by dint of Congress forcing the purchase of 6 aircraft the Airforce said it didn't want, or didn't need, or couldn't afford (pick one).  Securing 2-6 of those should not be that hard.  That would take some of the strain off the existing fleet of Hercs so that they can husband their available hours.

If a fleet of small aircraft (either C-27s or C-295s) were bought as well that would take some of the rest of the strain.

There are advantages to a mixed fleet of small and very large aircraft that a mid-sized fleet can't deliver.  Especially if small forces are being deployed.

A Mid-Size plane still has to haul a lot of metal and gas into the air even if its only carrying a small load.  If it has to do that frequently it costs a lot of money both to operate and maintain.  At the same time it is too small to carry many outsize pieces of cargo.

An aircraft with a 10 tonne capacity (like the C-27/C-295) operating from airheads 1000 to 1500 km from deployed troops, capable of airdrops and rough strip landing would meet a large amount of the needs currently.  As I understand it the C-130s we have currently often fly at less than their maximum load of 17 tonnes. 

Vehicles and surge cargo could be carried by the C-17s.

Perhaps a Hi-Lo strategy rather than in between would fit our needs better.

Kirkhill said:
It would quickly become a plumber's nightmare of worn-out cannibalized parts, long lead Russian parts of unknown quality and domestically reverse engineered parts.   If the aerotechs are having fits with the CP-140 they would love the IL-76.

Apples to oranges........Your point being ?