via Breaking Defense
The A400M can do things no C-130 can. It’s much bigger than a C-130. The air platform is reportedly incredibly stable in flight, raising the possibility of launching rockets from it or putting high accuracy guns on it.Airbus is smoking crack.
But it’s got a few problems. First, it’s European. Second, much of the senior Airbus leadership remains deeply scarred by their experience with their last big American sales effort, the failed attempt to sell the Air Force the A330 tanker, first with Northrop Grumman and then through their American subsidiary, then called EADS, now known as Airbus Americas.
UPDATE BEGINS The door for a visit was — encouragingly — left wide open this afternoon by the head of Air Force acquisition, Bill LaPlante. “In general, when we talk to Airbus, we think the more the merrier in terms of getting industry to think about our missions,” he said. “We understand there’s the history with the tanker.” He noted that, “we’ve been trying to bring Airbus in to our CEO roundtables.” UPDATE ENDS
I heard last year that Airbus was hopeful of beginning the briefing process in the Pentagon, catching the ear of some Air Force or Special Operations Command leaders.
This will never be allowed, it'll never happen....they can suck up to SOCOM all they want but even the sunglass boys won't get them across the finish line.
Air Force Special Ops should have built a C-17 Penetrator long ago. They should have tested gunship variants and even tried to get other aircraft into service to take care of their special requirements.
But they didn't and now its too late.
You can ignore the European canard, you can throw the tanker experience out the window...the real problem is that the Pentagon is in the middle of a HUGE cash crunch.
The F-35 is sucking all the oxygen out the room, the Next Gen Bomber (or whatever they're calling it) is a beast that they're trying to sneak in, the Navy is up in arms because they need to get the ballistic missile subs replaced (the only real survivable part of our nuclear triad...why we continue to bear the expense of manned bombers and land based missiles is beyond me), buy new aircraft carriers, build ships etc....and then you have the Army and Marine Corps needing to get different programs done that there is NO money anywhere to buy SOCOM a unique airplane...especially when they ditched the chance to get the C-27's.
Airbus is a decade late to the party...they should have built that plane on schedule.
SIDENOTE: Of course the biggest factor keeping SOCOM, USAF Special Ops or any part of the US military from buying the plane is the price. 171 million dollars a copy...just a little less than a faster, higher flying, longer ranged C-17.