A400M: The Fleet
6/8/12: The A400M is being built with the 21st century approach to fleet management in mind. Ranging from Unique Identification Tags built in, to multinational training, to providing for global support, the A400M has the advantages inherent in advanced manufacturing.
It was clear notably with the A400M but also with the A330 tanker that the team is looking at the fleet not just individual platforms.
And from this point of view, the management of the supply chain to build, sustain, and deploy is seen as a single entity.
Global support for a global fleet built from the bottom up in today’s world is different from the old days where global support means warehousing parts locally and moving specialists around via global transport to work with local industry.
Both the F-35 and A400M have common serial numbers and UID built in. This will be a crucial tool going forward.
The A380 has been considered the gold standard for this capability, but a senior Airbus Military official told me, that the A400M is even better than the A380 with regard to the UID and the management of parts.
In the photo in this posting, Airbus Military has provided a unique picture of formation flying of several A400Ms.
According to the Airbus Military Press release (June 7, 2012)
At the unique occasion of having the five Airbus Military A400M flight test aircraft in Toulouse all at the same time, the Airbus Military Flight Test team put in place a formation flight including all five aircraft, after which each aircraft continued its specific flight test activity…..
This technical flight of the five Grizzlies, MSN1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, was crewed with Airbus Flight Test teams and no particular manoeuvers or tests were undertaken. Following the formation exercise, the different aircraft continued on their daily activity: MSN1 continued with handling quality tests, MSN2 with air-to-air refueling wing pods hose stability tests, MSN3 with engine performance tests, MSN4 with pressurization and oxygen tests and MSN6 with function and reliability tests.