MADRID — Acquisitions of Airbus’s A400M military transport are continuing apace, the company reports.
Airbus now has 174 orders for the A400m, according to a company presentation last Tuesday at SMi Group’s Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refueling Conference here. Airbus says 53 A400Ms have been delivered, with the most recent coming to the French Air Force last week. The Spanish Air Force will get its next A400M in two weeks. Spain will eventually have 14 A400Ms by 2019.
A400M, which has 37 tonnes of payload capacity, was originally supposed to start deliveries in 2009. The aircraft had a four-year delay before deliveries began.
Didier Vernet, in charge of military affairs at Airbus Defense & Space, said that the OEM can foresee a next-generation military transporter that can take off vertically and still has 50 tonnes of payload capacity. This military aircraft is nothing more than a kernel of a concept at present — “I am not sure we will succeed with that,” Vernet said — which is why, for now, Airbus is focused on its current roster of military transport aircraft: the C295, for which Airbus has 203 orders, and the A330 MRTT, a multi-role refueling tanker, which has 56 orders by 11 air forces, in addition to the A400M.