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The A400M in the UK

Trevor Taylor and Justin Bronk
RUSI Defence Systems, 13 August 2016
Aerospace, Air Power and Technology, Defence, Industries and Society, Equipment and Acquisitions, Military Sciences, UK
Despite a troubled development history, the RAF’s new A400M Atlas is not only breaking new ground in terms of technical performance, but also the way in which industry and the Ministry of Defence are working together to support, maintain and operate the aircraft

Note on sources: The authors were lucky enough to visit the A-400M maintenance, logistics and training facilities at RAF Brize Norton in July 2016 to conduct interviews and research on the aircraft.

The UK’s new medium-heavy transport aircraft, the Airbus A400M, has had a troubled development pathway. However, one of its major outstanding issues has been eased with clearance in July of a fix that more than quadruples the time between checks for a gearbox for the Europrop TP400-D6 engines. Problems with this gearbox had been severely limiting fleet availability rates. Airbus still has to deliver new aircraft at a sufficient rate to appease its disgruntled German customer and to persuade its other customers that improvements in manufacturing have improved delivery quality and reliability, not least with regard to the development of fuselage cracks. The A400M has some way to go before it can become a source of profit rather than loss for Airbus.

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Trevor Taylor
Professorial Research Fellow, Defence, Industries and Society

Trevor Taylor is Professorial Research Fellow in Defence Management at RUSI, where he heads up a research programme in Defence,... read more

Justin Bronk
Research Fellow, Airpower and Technology

Justin Bronk is a Research Fellow specialising in combat airpower and technology in the Military Sciences team at RUSI. He is also... read more

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