Americans have their C-130 Hercules, while European countries will soon be able to use their own Airbus A400M Atlas transport aircraft. France’s military aviation was first.
The design and construction of the A400M was not easy due to the large delays and significant cost of the entire project.
The idea for a European transport aircraft appeared in the 1980s and involved the construction of a larger C-130 Hercules or C-160 Transall, which would fit perfectly into the needs of the French, Spanish, German, Italian and British armies.
The project assumed the use of turbo propulsion engines, the advantage of being the ability to land and take off at field aerodromes. And that was the problem, because of the load capacity of the engine, the engines needed to have the right power, but no European company did not have such in the offer. So it was decided to create a new Europop consortium whose task was to develop the TP400 from scratch. It was a very expensive and time consuming task, but it was successful and resulted in a powerful 11,000 horsepower engine, one of the best in its class.
The payload, initially set at 40 tons, also proved to be a problem. It turned out that the construction of the aircraft is too heavy, which in turn caused the restrictions on the amount of cargo carried. At present the payload is 37 tons (in the hold can be transported 116 soldiers).
However, the biggest problem in the implementation of this project turned out to be cost. Initially set at $ 27 billion, it soon became apparent that it was only wishful thinking, as a number of problems with the construction of the machine made the final costs close to $ 40 billion. Such large expenses have led to the withdrawal of Italy and South Africa, and other countries have significantly reduced their orders for the A400M and are immediately trying to get rid of them.