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  • And So It Begins
    Posted by Bill Sweetman 1:56 PM on Oct 13, 2011

    Yes, that was an A400M with USAF insignia at the Association of the US Army show this week. And it may not be long before USAF and Army bases in the United States see the real thing.

    blog post photo

    EADS North America confirms that a US promotional tour is being seriously considered, and that a 2012 date has not been ruled out. Civil certification, due around the end of this year, would make it possible. The key question might be timing. Any demonstration tour would have to be arranged without affecting preparations for service entry.

    Also, there is no immediate US requirement, and until some budget numbers settle the size and mission of the army, and the service defines some of its future vehicles, trying to define a plan for airlift will not be easy. 

    However, the issue will have to be addressed sooner or later, because US plans for a follow-on to the C-130 have remained confused. Army plans for a heavy vertical-lift aircraft are comatose at best, according to sources at AUSA, while the USAF continues to fund research on a stealthy tactical transport -- which it is hard to see turning into a real program for decades. Meanwhile, not much has been heard recently of Lockheed Martin's upsized-C-130 or Boeing's trimmed-down C-17FE.

    Tags: ar99, ausa11, A400M

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