Do you see any interest in the A400M in India, especially now that the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III production line has closed down?
There isn’t any particular market or region that is not suitable to this capability that we’re providing. And when you say it’s the end of C-17 – yeah, it’s the end for a good reason, because the world needs more flexible tools. And more modern tools. And A400 provides just that.
Now your question specifically for India – India has very legitimate and very ambitious plans and needs for its air force or generally logistical support.
And the beauty of A400M is that it does both the hi-lo tactical and the long-range strategic.
It’s quite complementary – for example what the UK would be doing – they use the C-17 for really – I mean, truly big logistical point to other big logistical point, long range heavy transport. And the A400M is a much, much more versatile tool. It can do that, but it can do all the tactical missions at the same time. It can go into operations, it can land on unprotected airfields, it can land on unpaved runways etc – when you think about, not just military operations but natural disaster or humanitarian disaster relief or humanitarian type of missions, A400M is a beautiful complement to C-17.
Does the A400M plug into the gap between the functionality of the C-17 and the C-130 aircraft?
It more than plugs it, but you’re right, in putting it that way. It comes right there in the middle in terms of its payload capability. But in terms of its mission flexibility it does step into both C-17 territory and into C-130 territory. But fundamentally you’re right – when you take the picture from a broad perspective, this airplane is going right into the middle of that market where basically you don’t have anything.
It’s (C-295) on the smaller side. And then you have the C-130, then you have A400M and then you have C-17. And they’re all pretty complementary from that perspective – from a pure theoretical payload/range capability they’re all very complementary.
Have you had conversations with the Indian Air Force about the A400M?
We talk to them everyday. We talk to them everyday – we mentioned the Avro replacement program. That’s obviously something that’s very active. And the tankers. We talk to them all the time.
We’re informing our customer about the capability of the A400M, of course, just like we inform them about anything we have – flying equipment we have, from little handheld drones all the way up to the A400M.
Does it make sense to have both the C-17 as well as the A400M in one air force?
Maybe another way of putting it from your perspective would be to say that the very large air forces can perfectly have C-17s – which they already have – and then the capability of a slightly smaller module – A400M. The smaller air forces who don’t have C-17 can combine both in one. So there’s no contradiction there – it’s a matter of size, it’s a matter of reach, including regional reach. But there’s no contradiction – there’s fundamentally no contradiction.
So the Royal Air Force in the UK has both. A smaller air force with less reach would have the A400M.