Exactly four weeks ago, all seemed well for the Airbus A400M in Germany, as the first German aircraft took first took the skies. But now, reports in well known German media cast doubt over the tactical airlifter, already in service in France and Turkey. A number of shortcomings prevent German A400Ms from seeing serious use any time soon, according to the reports.
According to critics, German A400Ms will initially be incapable of dropping paratroopers or heavy cargo after delivery to the Bundeswehr. Also, the type is said to lack any defensive equipment against enemy ground-to-air and air-to-air missiles, with modifications not made before 2016. No comments by Airbus or the Bundeswehr were cited.
Inquiries by the media into the A400M were probably sparked and enlarged by much publicized – – but never confirmed – problems with other air assets, such as Eurofighter Typhoon. The A400M’s apparant problems with dropping paratroopers however, as the type is known to have been involved in air drop tests earlier this year.
The first German A400M is expected at Wunstorf airbase before the end of the year. It is the first of 53 ordered by the German Air Force, where 60 was originally planned for. Rising costs reduced the order, however.
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest