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Last Updated: 7 Jul 04



Future Transport Aircraft (FTA)
































































A400M - the UK's solution for the Future Transport Aircraft (FTA) requirement.
Staff Requirement: European Staff Requirement (ESR) - Future Large Aircraft (FLA)

Service RAF

The Staff Requirement to replace the RAF’s ageing fleet of Hercules transport aircraft was originally endorsed in summer 1993. The roles and characteristics sought for both tactical and strategic airlift were essentially similar to those of the existing aircraft. They included the ability to deploy troops or freight between theatres or within a theatre of operations either by parachute or landing on short, semi-prepared strips. Emphasis was placed on solutions that offered significant improvements in reliability, maintenance and operating costs over the Hercules C-130K fleet.

General characteristics / technical performance
The A400M aircraft will provide tactical and strategic mobility to all three Services in peace, crisis and war. The A400M will be employed on inter- and intra-theatre air transport tasks, primarily in support of the Joint Rapid Reaction Force (JRRF).

Max. Payload = 32 tonnes @ 2.25g

Range @ Max. Payload = 2580nm

Cruise Speed Range (M = Mach No.) = 0.68 - 0.72 M

Overall Dimensions
Length = 42.2 Metres
Height = 14.7 Metres
Span = 42.4 Metres

Cargo Box
Length = 17.71 Metres
Height = 3.85 Metres
Width = 4.00 Metres

As an example, the aircraft will be capable of carrying 32 Tonnes over 2300 miles e.g. 6 land Rovers plus trailers or outsize dump truck with tracked excavator. It will also be capable of cruising at speeds comparable with other pure-jet military transports (0.68M-0.72) and can operate either at low-level (down to 150ft AGL) or up to an altitude of 40 000ft.


In the order of £2.3Bn (UK share of design, development and production costs only)

Quantity: 25 A400M to be procured by UK

In-Service Date (ISD) / Major Milestones:

  • UK Decision made – 16 May 2000
  • Decision announced that A400M will be based at RAF Brize Norton - 16 August 2002
  • Decision announced by Airbus Military (AM) that EPI TP400-D6 engine has been selected for A400M - 6 May 2003
  • Signature of Inter-Governmental Arrangements complete - 27 May 2003
  • Contract signed by OCCAR-EA (acting on behalf of the participating nations) and Airbus Military SL - 27 May 2003
  • In Service Date – 2011.

Commercial Aspects

A competitive Request for Proposals for the Future Transport Aircraft was issued to AM, Boeing  and Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems (LMAS) in July 1998 by the UK, on behalf of Belgium, France, Spain and the UK, seeking tenders at prime contractor level against the FLA ESR.

In January 1999, proposals were received from AM for A400M, from LMAS for C-130J and Boeing for C-17. Proposals were assessed both jointly and from a national perspective. For the UK, final selection and Main Gate Approval was achieved on 16 May 2000, conditional on price, programme viability and timely contract placement. Decisions by other nations followed.

The strategy for A400M has been to adopt a ‘commercial approach’ whereby the emphasis is on the prime contractor to secure a cost-effective solution that meets our requirements. The A400M contract placed with Airbus Military is for the design, development, production and delivery of the complete aircraft, including its engines and all other systems.  The contract does not prescribe any national workshare arrangements.  Airbus Military is free, therefore, to select its suppliers on grounds of performance, time and cost, thereby ensuring that we obtain best value for money.  Consequently, there are no impediments to British companies securing valuable sub-contract business.

It has been estimated that A400M will directly create or sustain over 2500 long term skilled jobs in the UK, notably in design and advanced manufacturing. The key location will be Filton, Bristol where Airbus UK will not only exercise overall management of the wing and its design, but also the entire assembly, full equipping and delivery of wings to the aircraft final assembly line in Seville, Spain. Indirect jobs could bring the total UK employment figure to over 8,000.

Further information on the commercial aspects of this programme can be found at – http://www.airbusmilitary.com.

International Collaboration
The A400M programme represents a collaboration involving the Governments and industry of seven European partners. – UK (25 aircraft), Germany (60 aircraft), France (50 aircraft), Spain (27 aircraft), Turkey (10 aircraft) and Belgium (8 aircraft, including one on behalf of Luxembourg). OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armaments Co-operation) manage the programme on behalf of the participating nations. Further information can be found at –

Current Status
Airbus Military announced on 6 May 2003 that it had selected the TP400-D6 powerplant for the A400M. This engine will be developed and manufactured by EuroProp International, a European consortium consisting of Rolls-Royce, Snecma Moteurs, MTU Aero Engines and Industria de Turbopropulsors (ITP).

Following approval of the German commitment by the Bundestag Budget Committee on 21 May, the last of the inter-governmental arrangements were signed off by 27 May. The A400M prime contract for the design, development and production of the A400M aircraft and associated products and services was signed on 27 May in Bonn by the Director, OCCAR-EA and by the Chief Executive of Airbus Military. This contract came into effect on 31 May.

Public/Private Partnerships: Not applicable

Point of Contact: A400MB@dpa.mod.uk

Last Reviewed: July 04

Last Updated: July 04