Airbus A400M military airlifter

Airbus A400M timeline:


A400M rollout (Photo: Airbus)
A400M rollout (Photo: Airbus)
  • The Airbus A400M development started in the seventies as the Future Large Aircraft project. Request for Proposal August 1997.

  • Memorandum of Understanding is signed June 19, 2001 at the Le Bourget Air show.

  • On May 27, 2003, a contract was signed between Airbus Military and OCCAR (Organization Conjointe de Coopération en Matière d’Armement), representing Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey, and United Kingdom for a total of 180 aircraft. The industrial program was formally launched on May 31,  2003.

  • Start production January 2005.

  • First Flight will be in 2008, and the first delivery in 2009.



The A400M Common Standard Aircraft (CSA) is capable of performing:

  • strategic operations (long range, large capacity, high cruise speed).
  • tactical missions (soft-field performance, autonomous ground operation, low speed / low level operations, aerial delivery).
  • “in-theatre” tanking operations (receiving as well as dispensing fuel).

The A400M is designed to civil certification standards complemented where appropriate by specific military requirements. The aircraft design incorporates leading state-of-the-art technology including:

  • Fly-by-wire Flight Control System with side stick controllers.
  • Flight envelope protection system, already proven in Airbus commercial aircraft.
  • Advanced structural design incorporating extensive use of composite materials.
  • High performance turboprop engines, allowing operation in civil air traffic control environment.
  • High flotation landing gear, allowing operation from short, unpaved airfields.




The Airbus A400M will play an essential role in enhancing Europe’s airlift capabilities, whilst enabling the establishment of common support, training and operational procedures and greater interoperability in multi-national humanitarian and peace-keeping missions.


Air-to-Air Refueling


The A400M is also quickly convertible into a tactical tanker. The flight envelope of the A400M allows it to refuel a wide range of aircraft and helicopters, at the altitudes appropriate to their missions.



  • A two-point trailing drogue system can be installed within two hours by fitting two standard air-to-air refueling pods (optional) to the multi-role attachment points on the wings. Each pod provides a fuel flow of up to 1200kg/min.
  • A centre-line pallet-mounted hose drum unit can be fitted in the rear cargo bay. It provides a fuel flow of 1800kg/min.




Developing nation: European Nations.
Manufacturer/designer:  Airbus Military.
Production line: Toulouse-Blagnac, France
Type aircraft: Military transporter.
First flight:


First delivery:


  Airbus A400M
Cockpit crew: 2 pilots, 1 loadmaster
Troops: 120
Cabin length: 17,71 m.
Cabin diameter: 4,00 m.
Cabin height: 3,85 m.
Ramp length: 5,40 m.
Cargo volume: 356 m³.
Wing span: 42,4 m
Wing area: 221,5 m².
Fuselage length: 43,8 m.
Fuselage diameter: 4,10 m.
Height: 14,6 m.

four Europrop International TP400-D6 each rated 11.000 Hp.

Propeller: Ratier FH386 eight blades 5,33 m diameter.

empty: 70.000 Kg.

– fuel:  46.700 kg.

– max. payload: 37.000 Kg.

Max. take off weight: 130.000 Kg.
Max. landing weight: 114.000 Kg.
Cruise speed: mach 0,68.
Max. speed: mach 0,72.
Service ceiling: 8.840 m.
Max. ceiling: 12.190 m.
Max. range: 9.260 km.

– take-off run 940 m at max. take-off weight.

– landing run 625 m at max. landing weight.

Airbus A400M order book:     










United Kingdom


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Research: Rob Vogelaar