The A400M airlifter is a cost-effective, high-speed turboprop aircraft specifically designed to meet the harmonised needs of European NATO nations and which equally fulfils the requirements of other air forces around the world.
Designed to fill the gap between the C-130 and the C-17, the A400M will provide both tactical and strategic capability.
The aircraft will be powered by four modern, turboprop engines driving state-of-the-art eight-bladed propellers, a choice based upon considerations of both performance and fuel economy, providing cruising speeds of up to Mach 0.72 and altitudes up to 37,000 feet.
The A400M is, of course, intended for the rigours of the military transport role, with all that this entails. It is designed for operation into and out of semi-prepared runways and has excellent soft field performance, enabling it to deliver large amounts of payload to tactical forward bases or to evacuate a full complement of refugees or casualties from a remote disaster area. It is also fully equipped for air-to-air refuelling as a receiver and can be converted to a tanker role in just two hours.
The A400M is scheduled to first fly in 2008 and enter into service in 2009.