First A400M fitted with pods for midair refueling | World Defense

First A400M fitted with pods for midair refueling

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France receives its first A400M fitted with pods for midair refueling
By: Pierre Tran
01.12.2017
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The latest A400M will be flown to the air base at Orleans, south of Paris, in the next few days. (Airbus)


PARIS ― France’s procurement office has revealed it received its 12th A400M airlifter, which is the first in the European program to be fitted with two underwing pods for in-flight refueling of fighter jets.

“The Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) took delivery Nov. 22, 2017, the 12th A400M Atlas military transport aircraft, to be handed over to the Air Force,” the DGA said in a Nov. 30 statement. The A400Ms already in service will have the fuel pod added as they undergo a retrofit over time.
The latest A400M will be flown to the air base at Orleans, south of Paris, in the next few days. France is due to receive a further three A400Ms by 2019, as set out by the 2014-19 military budget law.

The A400M program still poses problems in fitting capabilities and cutting costs, Airbus said Oct. 31 in its nine-month financial results.
“However, achievement of the contractual technical capabilities and associated costs remain highly challenging,” the aircraft company said. The A400M program also faces “challenges” in winning export orders on time, cutting costs, industrial efficiency and commercial exposure, “which could impact the program significantly,” Airbus said.

Talks continue with client nations and OCCAR, the European procurement agency, to “de-risk” the program, the company said.
Airbus Defence and Space is working to deliver two key capabilities sought by France, namely in-flight refueling of helicopters and dropping paratroopers from doors on both sides of the fuselage.

Airbus has signed a contract with Cobham for the British firm to build a hose for helicopter refueling, with a test flight expected toward the end of 2018, an Airbus spokesman said.

Test parachute jumps have been made out the fuselage doors, backed by detailed computer modeling on the aerodynamics, he said. Work continues on increasing weight and various pallets for cargo airdrops from the rear ramp.

Work on finding solutions to meet those and other requirements has eaten into Airbus’ cash pile, prompting the company to ask client nations to put a cap on financial penalties for failing to deliver the capabilities. Germany, for instance, withholds 15 percent of cash as the aircraft fails to meet the contracted capacities.

A planned meeting of ministers in London of seven client nations and Airbus was postponed to February from mid-November, Reuters reported. That meeting is to discuss the company’s request for fines to be capped.

Airbus has so far this year delivered 17 A400Ms, with expectations for 20 shipped by the end of 2017. The company delivered 17 units last year, three short of the target.

Airbus last year booked a charge of €2.2 billion (U.S. $2.6 billion) to cover financial penalties and slow deliveries.

The company has asked a reset of the financial penalties from the client nations Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey. Malaysia is also a customer.

The A400M is designed to offer three-point aerial refueling, with two underwing pods and a central hose and drogue system from the fuselage.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/201...01.17&utm_term=Editorial - Daily News Roundup
 

Khafee

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Air-to-Air Refuelling can be done either through two wing mounted hose and drogue under-wing refuelling pods or through a centre-line.
The two hose and drogue under-wing refuelling pods can each provide a fuel flow of up to 400 US gal / 1,200 kg per minute to receiver aircraft. Refuelling can also be done through a centre-line Hose and Drum Unit (HDU) which provides a higher fuel flow of some 600 US gal / 1,800 kg per minute. The A400M is the only tactical tanker offering a third refuelling point for large aircraft refuelling and as an alternative to pods.

To monitor day and night Air-to-Air Refuelling operations, the A400M can be fitted with three cameras controlled from the cockpit by the co-pilot, suppressing the need for visual observers.

Refuelling any Probe-Equipped Aircraft
The A400M is the only Tanker which can refuel the entire range of probe-equipped military aircraft at their preferred speeds and altitudes. Thanks to its powerful turboprops it can fly both at the low speeds and low altitudes to refuel slow receivers as well as at higher speeds and altitudes of about 300 knots and altitudes around 25,000 ft which are typically used for refuelling of fast jets, such as fighters (such as the Eurofighter) or large aircraft (such as the C295) or even another A400M for buddy refuelling.

The A400M can be equipped to receive fuel via an optional nose probe mounted above the cockpit thus providing truly global reach for transport or tanking missions. The nose probe allows the A400M to be refuelled from tankers equipped with a centreline refuelling like the A330 MRTT or even another A400M.

To do so, the A400M receiver is equipped with a refuelling probe mounted above the cockpit. This increases the range and enduration of the A400M. The probe can easily be removed when it is not needed.
http://defence.airbus.com/portfolio/a400m/a400mcapabilities/
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Khafee

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What is the flight range. I would stick to the A330, KC-10, KC-46A.
Max range, with a light load, 8,900km.

With 20t - 6,300km

With 37t - 3,300km
 
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