Armed Forces: A400M

House of Lords written question – answered on 25th January 2010.

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Photo of Lord Gilbert Lord Gilbert Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what type of mission or capability the A400M aircraft will be used for that cannot be satisfied by a combination of C130s and C17s.

Photo of Lord Drayson Lord Drayson Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Science and Innovation) (also in the Ministry of Defence)

C-130Js and C-17s are both able to perform in-theatre tactical airlift and strategic deployment into theatre, although for UK purposes C-130J is more ideally suited to tactical tasking and C-17 for strategic deployment. Nevertheless, the load capacity of C-130J significantly limits its ability to carry a wide range of vehicles. While C-17 could be used to carry these loads tactically, we assess that this would lead to significant growth in support costs. A400M is ideally suited for such tactical taskings and would also contribute significant strategic airlift capability, effectively providing a swing-role capability.

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