Airbus A400M Atlas

 

The Airbus A400M Atlas is a European, four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed by Airbus Military (now Airbus Defence and Space) as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities to replace older transport aircraft, such as the Transall C-160 and the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. The A400M is positioned, in terms of size, between the smaller C-130 and the larger C-17 Globemaster III; it can carry heavier loads than the C-130 and is able to use rough landing strips. Along with the transport role, the A400M can perform aerial refueling and medical evacuation when fitted with appropriate equipment. It has been advertised with the tagline "transport what the C-130 cannot to places that the C-17 canít".

The Airbus A400M increases the airlift capacity and range compared with the aircraft it was originally set to replace, the older versions of the C-130 Hercules and the Transall C-160. Cargo capacity is expected to double over existing aircraft, both in payload and volume, and range is increased substantially as well. The A400M operates in many configurations including cargo transport, troop transport, and medical evacuation. The aircraft is intended for use on short, soft landing strips and for long-range, cargo transport flights.

It features a fly-by-wire flight control system with sidestick controllers and flight envelope protection. Like other Airbus aircraft, the A400M has a full glass cockpit. Most of the aircraft systems are loosely based on those of the A380, but modified for the military mission. The hydraulic system has dual 3,000-psi channels powering the primary and secondary flight-control actuators, landing gear, wheel brakes, cargo door and optional hose-and-drogue refueling system. As with the A380, there is no third hydraulic system. Instead, there are two electrical systems; one is a set of dual-channel electrically powered hydraulic actuators, the other an array of electrically/hydraulically powered hybrid actuators. The dissimilar redundancy provides more protection against battle damage.

The A400M's wings are primarily carbon fiber reinforced plastic. The Ratier-Figeac FH385 propellers turn counterclockwise and FH386 clockwise. The eight-bladed scimitar propellers are made from a woven composite material. The aircraft is powered by four Europrop TP400-D6 engines rated at 11,000 hp each and the engine is said to be the most powerful turboprop engine in the West to enter operational use.

The pair of propellers on each wing of the A400M turn in opposite directions, with the tips of the propellers advancing from above towards the midpoint between the two engines. This is in contrast to the overwhelming majority of multi-engine propeller driven aircraft where all propellers turn in the same direction. The counter-rotation is achieved by the use of a gearbox fitted to two of the engines, and only the propeller turns in the opposite direction; all four engines are identical and turn in the same direction. This eliminates the need to have two different "handed" engines on stock for the same aircraft, simplifying maintenance and supply costs. This configuration, known as down between engines (DBE), allows the aircraft to produce more lift and lessens the torque and prop wash on each wing as well as reducing yaw in the event of an outboard engine failure.

The A400M has a removable refueling probe mounted above the cockpit to allow the aircraft to receive fuel from drogue-equipped tankers. Optionally, the receiving probe can be replaced with a fuselage mounted UARRSI receptacle for receiving fuel from boom equipped tankers. The aircraft can also act as a tanker when fitted with two wing mounted hose and drogue under-wing refueling pods or a centre-line Hose and Drum unit.

As of August 2018, Airbus A400M Atlas aircraft are operated by the Air Forces of Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, and Malaysia.  Belgium and Luxembourg have orders for eight aircraft of which none have been delivered.

Photos in the slideshow were taken between March 2017 and November 2017.  Apologies for the large copyrights in each photo - this is necessary in this day and age where photos are widely stolen and passed along as if they are one's own.