Category Archives: Cargo

Liberty Lifter project

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched the Liberty Lifter project to demonstrate a leap in operational logistics capabilities by designing, building, and flying a long-range, low-cost X-plane capable of seaborne strategic and tactical lift. The new vehicle concept seeks to expand upon existing cargo aircraft by proving revolutionary heavy air lift abilities from the sea.

Liberty Lifter project
Liberty Lifter Aims to Revolutionize Heavy Air Lift: large seaplane concept envisions extended operations, affordable production, advanced controls

The envisioned plane will combine fast and flexible strategic lift of very large, heavy loads with the ability to take off/land in water. Its structure will enable both highly controlled flight close to turbulent water surfaces and sustained flight at mid-altitudes. In addition, the plane will be built with a low-cost design and construction philosophy.

Although current sealift is very efficient in transporting large amounts of payload, it is vulnerable to threats, requires functional ports, and results in long transit times. Traditional airlift is much faster, but has limited ability to support maritime operations. Additionally, today, such aircraft suffer payload limitations or require long runways.

There is a history of attempting to develop aircraft created to fly with «wing-in-ground effect», which means the aircraft is flying no more than the length of its wingspan above ground or water. The most well-known examples are the Soviet «ekranoplans». These vehicles were high speed and runway-independent, but were restricted to calm waters and had limited maneuverability.

«This first phase of the Liberty Lifter program will define the unique seaplane’s range, payloads, and other parameters», said Alexander Walan, a program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. «Innovative advances envisioned by this new DARPA program will showcase an X-plane demonstrator that offers warfighters new capabilities during extended maritime operations».

To address the shortcomings of existing vehicles and operational concepts, the Liberty Lifter program focuses on addressing three main challenges.

Extended Maritime Operations: Emphasis will be placed on operating in turbulent sea states by creating high-lift abilities at low speeds to reduce wave impact load during takeoff/landing, and innovative design solutions to absorb wave forces. In addition, the project will address risks of vehicle collision during high-speed operation in congested environments. Finally, the aim is for the vehicle to operate at sea for weeks at a time without land-based maintenance activities.

Full-Scale Affordable Production: Construction will prioritize low-cost, easy-to-fabricate designs over exquisite, low-weight concepts. Materials should be more affordable than those in traditional aircraft manufacturing and available to be purchased in large quantities.

Complex Flight and Sea Surface Controls: Advanced sensors and control schemes will be developed to avoid large waves and to handle aero/hydro-dynamic interactions during takeoff/landing.

The Liberty Lifter program aims to design, build, float, and fly an affordable, innovative, and disruptive seaplane that operates efficiently in ground effect (less than 100 feet/30.5 meters above surface), can sustain flight altitudes up to 10,000 feet/3,048 meters Mean Sea Level (MSL), and enables efficient theater-range transport of large payloads at speeds far exceeding existing sea lift platforms. Liberty Lifter will use low-cost manufacturing akin to ship fabrication in building a highly innovative seaplane capable of meeting Department of Defense (DoD) heavy lift requirements (100+ tons/200,000+ lbs.) that operates with runway and port independence.

500th C-130J Airlifter

Hercules history is made once again, with the announcement that Lockheed Martin recently delivered its 500th C-130J Super Hercules airlifter. This Super Hercules (Lockheed Martin aircraft #5934) is a C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft assigned to the 130th Airlift Wing located at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston, West Virginia. The 130th Airlift Wing is a longtime C-130 operator that is currently modernizing its legacy Hercules fleet with C-130Js.

C-130J Super Hercules
Lockheed Martin Reaches Super Herculean Milestone with Delivery Of 500th C-130J Airlifter

The U.S. government operates the largest C-130J Super Hercules fleet in the world. This delivery represents the U.S. government’s continued transition to the C-130J Super Hercules as the common platform across the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard.

«This delivery represents the thousands of people – past and present – that design, build, fly, maintain and support C-130Js around the world», said Rod McLean, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Air Mobility & Maritime Missions (AMMM) line of business. «Like its namesake, the C-130J Super Hercules is a legend defined by its strength and power. Yet, it is the people who are part of the C-130J operator, production, supplier and industry partner communities who truly define the Super Hercules and helped the C-130J Program reach this monumental achievement».

The C-130J Super Hercules is the current production model of the legendary C-130 Hercules aircraft. The airlift choice of 26 operators in 22 nations, the global C-130 fleet has surpassed more than 2 million flight hours and holds more than 54 world records.

Defined by its versatility, there are 17 different mission configurations of the C-130J Super Hercules that includes transport (military and commercial), humanitarian aid delivery, aerial firefighting, natural disaster relief support, medevac, search and rescue, weather reconnaissance, and aerial refueling.

As the most advanced C-130 ever produced, the C-130J-30 Super Hercules (which is 15 feet/4.6 m longer than legacy C-130 models) offers these enhancements and advancements compared to legacy models:

  • 30% more passengers and cargo;
  • 50% more CDS bundles;
  • 44% more paratroopers;
  • 30% crew reduction;
  • 14% more fuel efficient;
  • 20% improvement in payload/range capability;
  • Integrated defensive suite and 250 knot ramp/door;
  • Automated maintenance fault reporting;
  • Unmatched situational awareness with digital avionics and dual HUD.

Remote Carrier launcher

Airbus A400M Atlas, the world’s most advanced multi-role airlifter utilised by military forces around the globe, has demonstrated an airborne launch of a drone fulfilling a vital function for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

Do-DT25 drone
Future Combat Air System: A400M clears the first hurdle as a Remote Carrier launcher

During a recent test, an A400M Atlas deployed a drone from its opened rear cargo ramp door whilst airborne, validating its ability to air-launch drones. In the future such unmanned aircraft, called Remote Carriers, can serve as force multipliers for various missions, while keeping the pilots out of harm’s way. Manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) will allow the Remote Carriers to operate in concert with manned aircraft, opening new fields of tactics to surprise, deceive, deter, saturate and strike opponents.

During the A400M Atlas flight test, an Airbus-built Do-DT25 drone, acting as a surrogate Remote Carrier, was released over a test range in Northern Germany. Shortly after the launch, the drone’s parachute opened, delivering it safely to the ground. Throughout the test, the drone was connected and transmitting data to the A400M Atlas «mother aircraft». This data transfer illustrates how Remote Carriers can be connected to a combat cloud network, providing vital information by serving the role of «eyes and ears» over the battlefield, whilst also enabling them to be tasked by the manned aircraft’s operators during their missions.

 

Building up the expertise in manned-unmanned teaming

The A400M Atlas air-launch demonstration involved a joint flight test crew from the German Air Force and Airbus. The new Modular Airborne Combat Cloud Services (MACCS), also an Airbus product, enabled full connectivity between the airlifter and the drone.

Airbus will continue validation of the A400M Atlas as an airborne launch platform for Remote Carriers, envisioning the ability to deploy large numbers of these drones. The multi-role airlifter’s large cargo bay is expected to be able to hold 40 or more Remote Carriers. By bringing Remote Carriers closer to the fight, an A400M Atlas will provide the numbers in terms of flying platforms for a Future Combat System to serve multiple missions, even in a well-protected environment. The next flight test is planned to happen this year.

In addition, Airbus contribution to the 2021 German Air Force’s Timber Express exercise saw an important development step being cleared. A Eurofighter networking with and tasking two Do-DT25 drones in real-time, became the successful first application of MUM-T with operational military aircraft in Europe.

Previously, Airbus also demonstrated the control of five Do-DT25 drones by a mission group commander who was airborne in a manned command and control aircraft. Validating such elements, as connectivity, human-machine interface, and the concept of teaming intelligence through mission group management, also constitute key steps towards using Remote Carriers as force multipliers within the Future Combat Air System.

Initial Operational Capability

The U.S. Navy announced Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the CMV-22B Osprey, confirming the platform’s operational readiness following the successful completion of its maiden deployment, on February 18, 2022.

CMV-22B Osprey
CMV-22B Ospreys, attached to Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30, fly over Naval Air Station North Island, California. VRM-30, as part of Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, returned to Naval Air Station North Island, California, February 12, 2022, following an eight-month deployment to U.S. 3rd and 7th Fleet areas of operations. The Carl Vinson CSG is the first carrier strike group to deploy with a combination of fourth and fifth-generation platforms within CVW 2 that predominantly represent the «Airwing of the Future», including the F-35C Lightning IIs of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 and the CMV-22B Ospreys of VRM-30 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Olympia O. McCoy)

The aircraft was formally declared IOC on December 14, 2021, aligning with the scheduled first-quarter fiscal year requirement.

«The CMV-22’s maiden deployment with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 and the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) team is an operational success, giving me the confidence necessary to make the declaration», said Rear Admiral Andrew Loiselle, Director, Air Warfare Division, N98, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. «As we continue to deliver the advanced platforms that will make up the Air Wing of the Future, the CMV-22B Osprey provides the necessary support and more to carry our future force».

Loiselle’s designation marks a key milestone in the design, development, acquisition and testing of the CMV-22B Osprey and confirms its relevance and readiness to meet the needs of the Navy’s Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) mission. The aircraft transports personnel, mail, supplies and cargo from shore bases to aircraft carriers at sea, and will eventually replace the C-2A Greyhound.

«IOC designation is more than a stamp of approval», said U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Brian Taylor, V-22 Joint program manager. «It is a vote of confidence from top Navy leadership that the design, testing and production of this aircraft meet the logistical needs of the carrier air wings designated to fly the CMV-22B Osprey».

This past summer marked the first deployment for the CMV-22B Osprey. Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30 embarked on the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) alongside the F-35C Lightning II and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye squadrons. The first deployed detachment has executed a mission completion rate of 98% and a mission capable rate of 75%. The CMV-22B Osprey is a crucial element of future carrier airwings due to the cargo capacity needed to transport F-35 power modules and additional logistics support for future carrier air wing deployments with next-generation platforms.

«This aircraft went from first flight to first deployment in 19 months; a feat possible through the dedication of the Navy’s acquisition, engineering, test and operational communities, as well as industry, all working in tandem, toward a common goal», said Taylor.

With 50% more internal fuel than the Marine Corps’ Osprey variant, CMV-22B Osprey can transport up to 6,000 pounds/2,721.5 kg of cargo and personnel over a 1,150 nautical mile/1,323 mile/2,130 km range. The U.S. Navy redesigned the forward sponson fuel tanks and added two wing fuel tanks to add capacity and extend the flight range.

«As our fighter/attack and surveillance aircraft expand in both capability and size to extend the range of the carrier air wing, we must also evolve our support aircraft, in tandem, to supply those platforms. The CMV-22B Osprey will transport cargo and personnel to outfit the most advanced aircraft carrier strike groups as we continue to meet the needs of our missions worldwide», said Taylor.

The program will continue to refine and test capabilities on the aircraft, addressing the agile needs of the fleet. To date, Bell Boeing has delivered 14 aircraft with 44 on contract and full operational capability expected in 2023.

Manufacturing in India

India has formalised the acquisition of 56 Airbus C295 aircraft to replace the Indian Air Force (IAF) legacy AVRO fleet. It is the first ‘Make in India’ aerospace programme in the private sector, involving the full development of a complete industrial ecosystem: from the manufacture to assembly, test and qualification, to delivery and maintenance of the complete lifecycle of the aircraft.

Airbus C295
India formalises acquisition of 56 Airbus C295 aircraft

Under the contractual agreement, Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain. The subsequent 40 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled by the Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) in India as part of an industrial partnership between the two companies.

The first 16 aircraft will be delivered over four years after the contract implementation. All the IAF C295s will be handed over in transport configuration and equipped with an indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite.

«This contract will support the further development of India’s aerospace ecosystem, bringing investment and 15,000 skilled direct jobs and 10,000 indirect positions over the coming 10 years», said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. «The C295 has proven again as the segment leader, and with the addition of India as a new operator, the type will enlarge its footprint even more, not only on the operational aspects but on its own industrial and technological development».

Sukaran Singh, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tata Advanced Systems Limited, said, «This is a moment of pride for Tatas and a milestone for the Indian military manufacturing ecosystem. For the first time, an Indian private company will be wholly manufacturing an aircraft in India. This endeavour demonstrates Tata Advanced Systems’ capabilities as a defence manufacturer to build globally competitive complex platforms in India».

‘Make in India’ is at the heart of Airbus strategy in India, with the company constantly increasing the country’s contribution to its global product portfolio. The C295 programme will see Airbus bring its complete bouquet of world-class aircraft manufacturing and servicing to India in collaboration with our industrial partners, including the Tatas and leading defence public sector units such as Bharat Electronics Ltd. and Bharat Dynamics Ltd, as well as private Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

With a proven capability of operating from short or unprepared airstrips, the C295 is used for tactical transport of up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers, and for logistic operations to locations that are not accessible to current heavier aircraft. It can airdrop paratroops and loads, and also be used for casualty or medical evacuation (medevac), as demonstrated during the COVID-19 crisis, using either basic litters or mobile Intensive Care Units (ICU) with life support equipment. The aircraft can perform special missions as well as disaster response and maritime patrol duties.

The IAF becomes the 35th C295 operator worldwide, with the programme reaching 278 aircraft, 200 of which are already in operation and have booked more than half a million flight-hours.

Kazakh Atlas

The Republic of Kazakhstan has placed an order for two Airbus A400M Atlas aircraft and becomes the ninth operator together with Germany, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Malaysia and Luxembourg.

A400M Atlas
The Republic of Kazakhstan orders two Airbus A400Ms

With delivery of the first aircraft scheduled in 2024, the contract includes a complete suite of maintenance and training support. Together with the agreement a Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed to collaborate on Maintenance and Overhaul services and with a first step of creating a local Airbus C295 maintenance centre.

«The A400M Atlas will become the cornerstone of Kazakhstan’s tactical and strategic airlifting operations», said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. «This new export contract brings the total number of A400M Atlas orders to 176 aircraft, a figure that we expect to increase in the near future. With more than 100 aircraft delivered and 100,000 flight hours in operation, the A400M Atlas has proven its capabilities, reaching a state of maturity that many potential customers were waiting for».

With the capacity to accommodate the country’s inventory and conduct military, civil and humanitarian missions, the A400M Atlas will enable Kazakhstan to quickly respond to any mission by rapidly deploying game-changing capabilities over long distances and enabling effective access to remote areas.

 

Specifications

DIMENSIONS
Overall Length 45.10 m/148 feet
Overall Height 14.70 m/48 feet
Wing Span 42.40 m/139 feet
Cargo Hold Length (ramp excluded) 17.71 m/58 feet
Cargo Hold Height 3.85-4.00 m/12 feet 7 inch-13 feet
Cargo Hold Width 4.00 m/13 feet
Cargo Hold Volume 340 m3/12,000 feet3
WEIGHTS
Maximum Take Off Weight 141,000 kg/310,850 lbs
Maximum Landing Weight 123,000 kg/271,200 lbs
Internal Fuel Weight 50,500 kg/111,300 lbs
Maximum Payload 37,000 kg/81,600 lbs
ENGINE (×4)
EuroProp International TP400-D6 11,000 shp/8,200 kW
PERFORMANCE
Maximum Operating Altitude 12,200 m/40,000 feet
Maximum Cruise Speed (TAS) 300 knots/345 mph/555 km/h
Cruise Speed Range 0.68-0.72 M
RANGE
Range with Maximum Payload (37,000 kg/81,600 lbs) 1,780 NM/2,050 miles/3,300 km
Range with 30,000 kg/66,000 lbs Payload 2,450 NM/2,796 miles/4,500 km
Range with 20,000 kg/44,000 lbs Payload 3,450 NM/3,977 miles/6,400 km
Maximum Range (Ferry) 4,700 NM/5,406 miles/8,700 km

 

The 100th A400M

Airbus has reached 100 A400M Atlas deliveries with MSN111, the tenth A400M Atlas for the Spanish Air Force. The aircraft performed its ferry flight on 24th May from Seville to Zaragoza, where the Spanish A400M Atlas fleet is based.

A400M Atlas
Airbus delivers the 100th A400M Atlas

In the same week, the A400M Atlas global fleet also achieved the 100,000 flight-hours landmark performing missions worldwide for all eight customer nations.

All A400M Atlas operators have been able to operate the aircraft intensively for Covid-19 emergency response missions, as well as conduct joint, collaborative operations.

These milestones clearly demonstrate the maturity of the A400M Atlas programme on all fronts.

 

New capabilities

Recently the A400M Atlas successfully conducted a major helicopter air-to-air refuelling certification flight test campaign in coordination with the DGA (French Directorate General of Armaments), completing the majority of its certification objectives, including the first simultaneous refueling of two helicopters.

The A400M Atlas is already able to drop up to 116 paratroopers, via simultaneous dispatch from the side doors with automatic parachute opening, or from the ramp with automatic parachute opening or in freefall, day and night. Recent tests were completed in Spain, in collaboration with the UK Royal Air Force parachute test team, to expand up to 25,000 feet (7,600 metres) for automatic parachute opening – and up to 38,000ft (11,582 metres) for free fall.

The A400M Atlas also completed additional tests to expand its air drop capability, including multiple platforms with parachute extraction (23 tonnes). France and Spain participated in these flights. Another way to deliver cargo on austere airstrips without handling equipment was also certified: Combat offload of up to 19 tonnes of pallets (one pass) or 25 tonnes (two passes) on paved or unpaved airstrips.

The A400M Atlas also achieved a new decisive milestone after the certification flights of its Automatic Low Level Flight capability for Instrumental Meteorological Conditions (IMC). Using navigation systems and terrain databases, without the need of a terrain-following radar, this is a first for a military transport aircraft. This makes the aircraft less detectable in hostile areas and less susceptible to threats while conducting operations in hostile environments.

 

In operation

In terms of collaborative missions, the Spanish Air Force supported the French Armée de l´Air in the transport of a Caracal helicopter from Cazaux (France) to Tucson (USA), using a Spanish A400M Atlas. The flight was used by CLAEX (Spanish Logistics Center for Armament and Experimentation) and CECTA (Air Transport Cargo Evaluation Cell) to validate the loading process on Spanish A400Ms.

Key military missions last year included the delivery of almost 40 tonnes of food, water, fuel and ammunition by a single French A400M Atlas to troops based in the Sahel region of Africa, the first A400M Atlas to airdrop supplies in a country outside of Europe.

In addition, Germany became the first A400M Atlas customer to use the A400M Atlas as a tanker in real missions providing support in the «Counter Daesh» operation in Jordan.

 

Life-saving medevac missions during COVID-19

2020 and 2021 also saw the use of the A400M Atlas in civil emergency response roles during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, not least for civil medical evacuation (medevac) duties – with Airbus providing critical support for air force operators – as well as for transporting key medical relief supplies. The versatility of the aircraft also allowed a rapid conversion to medevac configuration, where installed critical care modules provided airborne intensive care units.

With the maturity, versatility and unique capabilities proven in operations all around the world, A400M Atlas is proving to be a game changer for military airlift and humanitarian missions in the 21st century.

 

Specifications

DIMENSIONS
Overall Length 45.10 m/148 feet
Overall Height 14.70 m/48 feet
Wing Span 42.40 m/139 feet
Cargo Hold Length (ramp excluded) 17.71 m/58 feet
Cargo Hold Height 3.85-4.00 m/12 feet 7 inch-13 feet
Cargo Hold Width 4.00 m/13 feet
Cargo Hold Volume 340 m3/12,000 feet3
WEIGHTS
Maximum Take Off Weight 141,000 kg/310,850 lbs
Maximum Landing Weight 123,000 kg/271,200 lbs
Internal Fuel Weight 50,500 kg/111,300 lbs
Maximum Payload 37,000 kg/81,600 lbs
ENGINE (×4)
EuroProp International TP400-D6 11,000 shp/8,200 kW
PERFORMANCE
Maximum Operating Altitude 12,200 m/40,000 feet
Maximum Cruise Speed (TAS) 300 knots/345 mph/555 km/h
Cruise Speed Range 0.68-0.72 M
RANGE
Range with Maximum Payload (37,000 kg/81,600 lbs) 1,780 NM/2,050 miles/3,300 km
Range with 30,000 kg/66,000 lbs Payload 2,450 NM/2,796 miles/4,500 km
Range with 20,000 kg/44,000 lbs Payload 3,450 NM/3,977 miles/6,400 km
Maximum Range (Ferry) 4,700 NM/5,406 miles/8,700 km

 

60th KC-130J

The U.S. Marine Corps received its 60th KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft in March; the aircraft includes improved navigational performance, a modernized cockpit, and other key upgrades.

KC-130J Super Hercules
The 60th USMC KC-130J aircraft takes off from Lockheed Martin production facilities in Marietta, GA on March 31 on its way to VMGR-252 in Cherry Point, NC (U.S. Navy Photo)

The Tactical Airlift Program Office (PMA-207) accepted delivery of the aircraft outfitted with the Block 8.1 updated cockpit and AN/AAQ-24 DoN Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure (DoN LAIRCM). These upgrades address obsolescence issues and improve survivability.

Produced by Lockheed Martin, the KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft have undergone numerous adaptations since entering Marine Corps service in September 2000.

The Block 8.1 cockpit upgrade includes a new flight management system that complies with Communications, Navigation, Surveillance and Air Traffic Management mandates. It also boasts enhanced GPS capabilities, improved communications systems, and improvements to the KC-130J’s friend-or-foe identification technology.

The addition of DoN LAIRCM, a laser-based self-protection system designed to defend against surface-to-air infrared missile threats, increases survivability of the aircraft and aircrew in the event of an airborne attack.

«Both these systems increase the aircraft’s combat effectiveness to perform the KC-130J Super Hercules core mission essential tasking», said Navy Captain Steve Nassau, PMA-207 program manager. «The KC-130J Super Hercules is a global workhorse, and the Block 8.1 upgrade clears the path for the aircraft to have world-wide access, while the DoN LAIRCM allows the aircraft to operate under expanded threat environments».

The aircraft will become part of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 252 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.

«Our team has worked hard to make sure the Marine Corps is ready to utilize and support this aircraft», said Joanna Sockoloskie, PMA-207 KC-130J Super Hercules integrated product team lead. «We have been involved from the start and it is our mission to ensure our Marines have the latest and finest equipment available».

The Marine Corps will receive the remaining 26 aircraft over the next five years reaching their program of record 86 KC-130Js.

 

Specifications

Primary Function Tactical air-to-air refueling, assault support and cargo airlift
Date Deployed 2004
Propulsion Four Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 turboprops
Length 97 feet 9 inches/29.3 meters
Wingspan 132 feet 7 inches/39.7 meters
Height (Tail Height) 38 feet 3 inches/11.4 meters
Weight (Maximum gross, take-off) 175,000 pounds/79,380 kg
Range 3,548 nautical miles/4,083 miles/6,571 km
Crew Three
Prime Contractors Lockheed Martin, Cobham, Rolls Royce Corporation, Dowty

 

Belgian Air Force

The Belgian Air Force has taken delivery of its first of seven Airbus A400M military transport aircraft. The aircraft was handed over to the customer at the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville (Spain) and subsequently performed its ferry flight to the 15th Wing Air Transport in Melsbroek (Belgium), where the aircraft will be based.

Airbus A400M
Airbus delivers the first A400M to the Belgian Air Force

This A400M, known as MSN106, will be operated within a binational unit composed of a total of eight aircraft, seven from the Belgian Air Force and one from the Luxembourg Armed Forces.

The second A400M for Belgium will be delivered in early 2021.

Alberto Gutierrez, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space, said: «With the delivery of this aircraft all launch customers are now equipped with the A400M. MSN106 will join Luxemburg’s aircraft in the binational unit operated jointly with Belgium. Despite challenges due to Covid-19, our teams have achieved all 10 aircraft deliveries scheduled this year, bringing the global fleet in operation to 98 aircraft».

 

Specifications

DIMENSIONS
Overall Length 45.10 m/148 feet
Overall Height 14.70 m/48 feet
Wing Span 42.40 m/139 feet
Cargo Hold Length (ramp excluded) 17.71 m/58 feet
Cargo Hold Height 3.85-4.00 m/12 feet 7 inch-13 feet
Cargo Hold Width 4.00 m/13 feet
Cargo Hold Volume 340 m3/12,000 feet3
WEIGHTS
Maximum Take Off Weight 141,000 kg/310,850 lbs
Maximum Landing Weight 123,000 kg/271,200 lbs
Internal Fuel Weight 50,500 kg/111,300 lbs
Maximum Payload 37,000 kg/81,600 lbs
ENGINE (×4)
EuroProp International TP400-D6 11,000 shp/8,200 kW
PERFORMANCE
Maximum Operating Altitude 12,200 m/40,000 feet
Maximum Cruise Speed (TAS) 300 knots/345 mph/555 km/h
Cruise Speed Range 0.68-0.72 M
RANGE
Range with Maximum Payload (37,000 kg/81,600 lbs) 1,780 NM/2,050 miles/3,300 km
Range with 30,000 kg/66,000 lbs Payload 2,450 NM/2,796 miles/4,500 km
Range with 20,000 kg/44,000 lbs Payload 3,450 NM/3,977 miles/6,400 km
Maximum Range (Ferry) 4,700 NM/5,406 miles/8,700 km

 

C-27J Next Generation

Leonardo has begun the final testing of the C-27J Next Generation which features new equipment, a new avionics system and advanced aerodynamic devices, these will enhance the existing high performance of the aircraft. The first C-27J Spartan in the new configuration will be delivered to an undisclosed customer in 2021.

C-27J Next Generation
The successful C-27J Spartan sheds its skin to reach new performance heights

The performance and reliability of the C-27J Spartan continues to evolve as the best response to its customers’ needs. Pushing on the aircraft’s versatility and mission flexibility, the C-27J Spartan offers an ever-increasing range of mission solutions, which adapt in response to new challenges faced by operators. A true force enabler, its unrivalled multi-mission capabilities are key in presenting the latest evolution of the Spartan as a cost-effective solution and an intelligent investment for nations, which are selecting it for their military, as well as civil protection requirements.

Marco Zoff, Leonardo Aircraft Division’s Managing Director, said: «The enhanced C-27J brings the unrivalled quality and capabilities of the Spartan to the next, higher level. Its operators will benefit from modern avionics, increased performance and efficiency. The Spartan embodies the essence of national security, proving to be the best asset for armed forces’ defence operations and for their fundamental contribution to population support and disaster relief». In a world hit this year by the COVID-19 pandemic and other emergencies international media have extensively reported on the C-27J’s relentless and effective support to communities in need. Mr. Zoff also added: «Our customers have discovered in this aircraft an element of social inclusion, because it is the only aircraft capable to reach people in the most remote rural areas of their nations».

Leonardo is committed to serving and protecting communities around the world, contributing to their sustainable growth by leading in next generation technologies. Partnering with Governments, private organizations and industries for the best security and safety capabilities is a cornerstone of Leonardo’s BeTomorrow2030 Strategic Plan.

Already acknowledged as the most effective multi-mission military transport aircraft in its class, the C-27J Next Generation today features comprehensive new avionics and aerodynamic developments with new winglets, for improved operational efficiency and even better performance. Mission-proven across all continents with a number of prime air forces, the Spartan is operated in the world’s most demanding operational environments – from the Andes to Afghanistan – for military transport, cargo and paratroopers air drop, last tactical mile troop support, special operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

C-27J Spartan
The first enhanced aircraft will be delivered to an undisclosed customer in 2021

The brand-new avionics system of the C-27J Next Generation is designed to comply with Next Generation Air Traffic Control requirements, including Future Air Navigation System (FANS) 1/A+ datalink; Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) 7.1; Instrument Landing System (ILS) Cat.II; enhanced video Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS). New cockpit displays; new weather radar; new radio navigation; enhanced satellite communications and radio communication capabilities; new intercommunication system; new cockpit and cargo panels; Mode 5 Friend or Foe/ Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (IFF/ADS-B) out and tactical Vertical Navigation (VNAV) and Search and Rescue; lighting system with Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) technology have also been included. Moreover, former avionics and general systems interface boxes have been replaced with new equipment by Leonardo’s Electronics. The new baseline configuration is also offered as a retrofit to current operators wanting to upgrade their C-27J Spartan fleet capabilities.

Thanks to its exceptional structural strength and systems redundancy, the C-27J Spartan offers unique qualities of ruggedness, reliability, outstanding survivability and manoeuvrability. Its capability to operate from the most rudimentary airstrips, performing Short Take-Offs and Landings (STOL) in extreme environmental conditions is enhanced by the winglets, while Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) provides an independent power source, which can restart engines in flight, or make the aircraft autonomous and self-reliable during deployment missions at improvised airfields.

The aircraft can be equipped with a Defensive Aids Sub-Systems suite, secure communications and ballistic protection in order to operate in high threat environments.

Thanks to its multiple roll-on/roll-off mission kits and systems, the C-27J Spartan can be quickly configured and reconfigured to carry out a wide range of tasks, including a tactical transport, maritime patrol, even incorporating Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) or Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C3ISR) tasks. As a tactical transport aircraft, its capabilities include transport of troops, cargo, paratroops and cargo airdrop, Medical Evacuation/Casualty Evacuation (Medevac/Casevac), VIP, but can also carry out operations of humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and fire-fighting, thanks to its fast operational reconfiguration.