A new, multirole transporter will replace aging heavylift aircraft in military fleets. The A400 military transport plane from Airbus will have four 11,000-shp turboprops, giving it enough power to take off from short, rough landing fields (under 3,000 ft), and still carry a 20-ton payload. Propellers on each wing turn in opposite directions to improve aerodynamics and to reduce noise. The TP400-D6 turboprop engine uses an offset gearbox, keeping the total engine length down and improving the engine's stiffness. The 11,000-shp engine uses a three-shaft design, which also helps stiffness, says Airbus. Built with airborne refueling in mind, the A400 can transfer fuel to two aircraft at a time. In this image, both wing-pod drogues are extended, but only one is being used. Twelve wheels on the main landing gear spread out the weight of the A400, letting it land on soft, unprepared fields. The Airbus airlifter will be able to fly low and avoid radar, then drop armored units. The cockpit of the A400 features eight interchangeable large screens, head-up displays for both pilot and copilot, lighting compatible with night-vision goggles, and sidestick controllers rather than yokes for unrestricted views of the various displays. For more complex missions, a third crewmember can sit behind the pedestal. Acritical task of any military is to get troops and supplies where they are needed as quickly as possible, and that usually means large transport aircraft. Currently there are only 2,600 tactical airlifters and about 350 strategic airlifters worldwide. (Strategic airlifters like Lockheed's C-5 Galaxy are much larger and have greater ranges than tactical ones.) But most strategic transporters are operated by the U.S. and the Commonwealth of Independent States (what remains of the U.S.S.R.). And the average age of the world's tactical transport aircraft is 26 years. So they lack the range, power, and reliability of modern aircraft, their cargo holds aren't sized for today's loads, and interoperability between fleets is abysmal. To the managers
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