07/03/2014: The A400M was originally conceived of in a world where lifters were trucks to carry cargo and troops from point A to B.
This world has totally been transformed by operations in the past decade, during which the A400M was being developed and readied for its roll out into operations.
With the last decade of experience and the revolution in air dropping, the air lifter is an integral part of the kind of expeditionary logistics, which insertion forces clearly need to operate with for 21st century operations.
The first operational A400Ms are to be found at the Orléans – Bricy Air Base in France. France and Turkey are the launch customers for the A400M and my colleague, Murielle Delaporte, recently visited the squadron and interviewed several members of the French Air Force A400M team. What she found was that the airlifter is part of reworking the entire approach to how the French Air Force will do airlifting in supporting operations.
The workflow is changing to take advantage of the rapidly reconfigurable airlifter, and the ability to shape load to mission in a rapid turn around scenario. The ability to carry troops and equipment, which can exit the aircraft from the side and back, respectively, provides an interesting operational capability as well.
Credit Video: Airbus Defence and Space