The container designed to carry engines for F-35 jets, for example to replace an engine on a deployed F-35, is certified for carriage in the C-17 and C-130J but not the A400M.

F135 engines for the F-35 Lightning are transported in specialist containers designed by the engine’s manufacturer, Pratt and Whitney. The C-17 and C-130J aircraft were certified to carry the container in May 2020.

The information came to light in response to a written Parliamentary question.

Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, Asled in a written question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 6 September 2021 to Question 40639 on Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft, which UK military aircraft are certified to carry that container; and on what date those aircraft were certified to do so.”

Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, responded:

“The F135 engine container is planned for carriage in the Globemaster C-17 and Hercules C-130J. The aircraft were certified to carry the container in May 2020.”

On their website, the RAF describe the A400m Atlas as follows:

“Entering operational service with the Royal Air Force in 2014, Atlas (Atlas C.1 A400M) provides tactical airlift and strategic oversize lift capabilities complementing those of the Hercules and C-17 fleets..

Atlas (Atlas C.1 A400M) has the ability to carry a 37-tonne payload over 2,000nm to established and remote civilian and military airfields, and short unprepared or semi-prepared strips. Capable of operating at altitudes up to 40,000ft, Atlas also offers impressive low-level capability.”

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Steve
Steve
21 days ago

The more interesting question is the why. Especially considering one of the 2 planned aircraft types is about to be retired, leaving only the c17.

Is it just a question of time /money, or is it because the A400m isn’t an US operated aircraft and so will never be certified.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
21 days ago
Reply to  Steve

The certification will have been done in the USAF aircraft and then the RAF clearance would have come directly from that for C17 and Herc.
Someone will have to front up the cash and time to get it certified for an A400. As the UK appears to be the only country currently operating both aircraft it would look like the RAF will get stung for the bill.

Deep32
Deep32
21 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Amazon Prime, next day delivery, no issue!!🤣🤣

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
21 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Even better, If we have any left that is! 😂

AFA 2021: AFSOC plans fast-paced prototyping for amphibious MC-130J aircraft
https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air-platforms/latest/afa-2021-afsoc-plans-fast-paced-prototyping-for-amphibious-mc-130j-aircraft

Last edited 21 days ago by Nigel Collins
Johan
Johan
21 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

yeah but Bruno chucking boxes in the back of his transit wont fall from the sky when his load SHIFTS…

Noth
Noth
19 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Belgium also operates the F-35 and the A400M. Get them onboard.

John Clark
John Clark
21 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I would assume it’s something the UK has to pay for, so it’s been kicked into the long grass… I’ve an idea, I’ve got a bit of slack week, I’ll head to Brize with a clipboard and tick the box that says a box of a certain size and weight fits in the back of a A400….. I’ll do it for a trifling £100,000. The slightly more concerning aspect of this is the last time I flew easyJet to Belin, I wasn’t informed if anyone had had done the flight testing and certification to see if the packet of half… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
21 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

The usual gravy train….love the sarcasm.

John Clark
John Clark
21 days ago

Morning Daniele, I can’t help myself sometimes mate, as you say, the usual bloody gravy train!!!

It’s a posh, gold plated builders van for god’s sake, shove it in the back, lock it in place and crack on…..

I’m not being funny, but surely it’s literally a known cradle on wheels of a certain dimension and weight??

Am I missing something here?

Last edited 21 days ago by John Clark
Johan
Johan
21 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

yes accountability WHEN IT FALLS FROM THE SKY.

John Clark
John Clark
21 days ago
Reply to  Johan

Well don’t drop the box out of the sky then Johan, the hard ones first…..

Langers
Langers
20 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Yes, you are missing plenty. Does the container exceed any of the aircraft structural limitations, is it susceptible to particular vibration frequency etc? .You can’t just chuck stuff of that size on an aeroplane willy-nilly and hope for the best.

Andy a
Andy a
21 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Exactly it’s just a box of certain size and weight. Shove it in the back. What a rip off

Deep32
Deep32
21 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

My thoughts exactly fella. Probably need a US certified truck /trailer at the other end too!!! You just couldnt make this crap up.

Mikem
Mikem
19 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

That doesn’t make sense, it would have nothing to do with the US. The aircraft must be certified to carry that weight and the certification must be done by Airbus. The RAF should’ve ensured that the certification was done, that it was certified to carry the container

expat
expat
21 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

Ironically if it was transported via a civil carrier no certification would be required.

Johan
Johan
21 days ago
Reply to  expat

they would still do a loadmasters schedule of weight and load for the pilot. to allow trim levels and balance

Expat
Expat
20 days ago
Reply to  Johan

Yep. Some airlines have software that’ll optimise the cargo position. There’s also parameters like if the cargo can be stacked the airline will ask for.

Johan
Johan
21 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

The Baggage handlers would of told the pilot how much weight is in the hold and where. passage loads in the hold is already calculated as all up weight due to the bag size restriction.

trim levels will be set, EASYJET falls from the sky because your assessment is wrong and lands on a school, and kills 100 kids and each parent is going to sue you for £100m, suddenly your not so cocky…. PMSL.

John Clark
John Clark
20 days ago
Reply to  Johan

And that’s precisely why I’m concerned by the requisite documentation has been done by easyJet to check for potential Isometric load issues with my packet of Polo’s Johan😂 Joking aside, the last flight I was on the guy sat next to me was a right hippo, three times my weight, at the very least! So airlines have no idea how heavy the passengers are, or where they sit. But they pack them them in, work out the load, trim accordingly and get going … Four times a day…. So I just don’t buy it, it’s a boxed engine ( known… Read more »

Matt Dvc
Matt Dvc
19 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

It’s called lobbying against Airbus

Mikem
Mikem
19 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Wouldn’t the certification be part of the RAFs Statement of Requirements? It seems this should’ve been the RAFs responsibility to ensure that Airbus certify the carrying of the engine container, this would’ve been in the Statement of Work to Airbus.

Arty
Arty
21 days ago
Reply to  Steve

It’s most likely that the US military cleared the C17 and C130 carriage for the F135 as part of US F35 logistics support capability development.

The Joint Air Delivery Test and Evaluation Unit (JADTEU) based at RAF Brize Norton are responsible for developing techniques and procedures to carry equipment in UK aircraft and also certifying carriage arrangements developed by other nations.

A400M certification to carry the F135 will be in the pipeline, it will just be a case of what other equipment and vehicle priorities are being developed and certified first.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
21 days ago
Reply to  Arty

I would agree that the C17 and C130 are most likely type certifications that have simply been accepted by RAF from USAF.

Also as we currently have two perfectly good options + probably commercial charter cargo 737 and 747 (don’t know but would guess so) it is not a big priority.

Steve
Steve
21 days ago

Yeah this is what I assumed, but would still have expected the question to be clarified with why and when.

Once the c130 retire we will only have the c17, which are limited in number, relying only on them doesn’t seem a sensible strategy. It would be interesting to know what commerical planes are certified for it.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
21 days ago
Reply to  Arty

I must be missing something here. The A400M is an RAF asset, owned by a soverign and now independent country. I think we can load the A400M with whatever the hell we like surely?

Rob
Rob
20 days ago
Reply to  Arty

The certification would be to do with the vibration signature of the A400M being incompatible with the F135 engine

Johan
Johan
21 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Hercs are planned to retire by the End of 2022, The Conversion team are working through a list of items for the A400s to complete before then.

ALL PISS N WIND..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
21 days ago

Would the carrier itself or accompanying FSS vessel carry spare engines?

Johan
Johan
21 days ago

There is a spare Engine store on the QE Class, but Aka the failed USMC one its getting the unit from the carrier to a land base where UK unless a FAT chinook is an onboard struggle.

Chris
Chris
21 days ago

Perhaps I’m displaying a level of civvie naivety here but… why does the transport container need to be certified for each individual aircraft type? Aren’t these things standard?

James
James
21 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Id guess links back to the old health and safety area.

DRS
DRS
21 days ago
Reply to  James

Do you need to see if the certain load spread over certain area is ok? That it always need to be at the front/ back of the plane. What other loads can you carry at the same time. And range. But surely this is done by initial airbus type certification loads of x,y size and weight are ok, not sure what else do raf do on top?

fearlesstunafish
fearlesstunafish
21 days ago

surely certification shouldn’t even be difficult: does the box the f135 comes in fit onboard? yes? ok then!

David Steeper
David Steeper
21 days ago

If only ! LOL

Puffing Billy
Puffing Billy
21 days ago

Is it certified to carry a cheese and onion sandwich?

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
20 days ago
Reply to  Puffing Billy

Yes, but you need a Veterinary certificate for the cheese in triplicate.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
21 days ago

More cost savings I’m guessing? “Interestingly, it’s not only the Trance 1 but also 14 Lockheed Martin C-130J Mk.4 tactical transport, Airbus Puma HC2 helicopters, Gazelle helicopters, CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter, E-3D Sentry Mk.1 Airborne Early Warning (AEW), and the Hawk T1 trainers, that will also be exited from service. The C-130J is expected to be replaced by the Airbus A-400M. Except for the Hawk and the Tranche 1 Typhoons, the UK Ministry of Defence also plans to sell all the other equipment through the Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA), for which a brochure has been published, and circulated to potential international… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
21 days ago

More cost savings I’m guessing?

“Interestingly, it’s not only the Trance 1 but also 14 Lockheed Martin C-130J Mk.4 tactical transport, Airbus Puma HC2 helicopters, Gazelle helicopters, CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter, E-3D Sentry Mk.1 Airborne Early Warning (AEW), and the Hawk T1 trainers, that will also be exited from service.
The C-130J is expected to be replaced by the Airbus A-400M. Except for the Hawk and the Tranche 1 Typhoons, the UK Ministry of Defence also plans to sell all the other equipment through the Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA), for which a brochure has been published, and circulated to potential international buyers.”

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
21 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

What’s all that got to do with the A400 article? Defence review content was discussed months ago. F35 engine certification for A400 will be on the long list for the JADTEU at Brize Norton to work though.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
20 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

I’m sure we will be able to cope with what we have for now.

An engine shortage is the newest problem to hit the F-35 enterprise.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/02/12/an-engine-shortage-is-the-newest-problem-to-hit-the-f-35-enterprise/

Last edited 20 days ago by Nigel Collins
Mac
Mac
21 days ago

Why on earth does a heavy lift transport need a certificate to carry..a heavy load.

As long as it can be strapped down and secured in a safe manner so as not to unbalance the aircraft or damage the F35 engine. It all just sounds like bureaucratic red tape and box ticking.

Tommo
Tommo
20 days ago
Reply to  Mac

Because the Words “Common Sense dictates” cannot be found in BRs issued for the A400

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
20 days ago
Reply to  Mac

Very complicated weight and balance calculations need to be completed, how the load affects the trim of the aircraft and performance fuel burn ect. How much other stuff the aircraft can carry while carrying the engine. Everything is for a reason, and a very complicated reason. It isn’t red tape, or box ticking. You can’t just shove things in the back and hope for the best. Especially when it comes to a multi million pound fighter engine.

laurence dawson
laurence dawson
20 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Understood but cargo charter companies take all sorts of unusual loads and items, without certification for each one. The calculations can be done….??

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
20 days ago

They don’t carry specialist equipment like fighter engines though. These processes have been in place for decades. RB199 for Tornado will have required the same clearances to be airlifted in a Hercules. It’s never as straightforward as it seems.

Angus
Angus
18 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Civ air have been doing that for decades and are more practiced at it than the Military. It’s a load after all and even on ships we have to do the same but do not and could not get a bit of paper for every load. As long as size and weight are there it can be moved and if needed it would be anyway. Come on guys stop being so pink and fluffy.

Angus
Angus
18 days ago

Your spot on and they do on a daily basis. The A400 could do so if needed by in exactly the same way. As Said the RN would have it covered anyway by taking along a spare or two onboard. We have done it for years and nothing is changing on how the Senior Service will continue to be the one you can trust to get the job done

Mac
Mac
20 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

All that is what the aircraft load masters do as their job. Provide them with the necessary details and they can work out the rest..

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
21 days ago

Posted in error.

Last edited 20 days ago by Nigel Collins
Ouvavou
Ouvavou
21 days ago

I doubt the c17 was certified to carry 800+ peeps out of Kabul, largely sitting on the floor, but they did it.

Johan
Johan
21 days ago

Calm Down pant wetters, Hercs planned to run till end of 2023, OCU has a list of stuff they have to complete before the Hercs retire. A400 is unlikely to transport just an F35 lump. loading master weight and position depending on other loads would apply for trim levels. very much like a bag of sand in the boot of your car. you don’t put it on one side…

Johan
Johan
21 days ago
Reaper
Reaper
20 days ago

At this rate we would be better contracting Easy jet to sort out our millitary AIR logistics. Cheaper too…

Jon
Jon
20 days ago

Maybe we could fly some over in F-35s. Now we have a programme to integrate Meteor and Spear, isn’t is about time to order up some more planes?

Tommo
Tommo
20 days ago

O what a tangled Web they weave , certified Deck bolt’s and Lashings have been certified for Cargo why does the MOD make things so difficult for themselves Let me guess Common sense is not written in any of the BRs

Pompeyblokeinoxford
Pompeyblokeinoxford
20 days ago

I don’t believe cash is the issue since the RAF has the ability to develop the TDS in house. It’s probably a case of priorities and what the UK F35 project team considers needs to be done first. BTW, isn’t the a scheme where F35 operators share logistics (spares).

LordSpam
LordSpam
20 days ago

It will be less down to the box fitting and more to do with vibration during the flight causing issues with the engine. If you sit anywhere near the props its terrible, I generally move myself as far forward as I can or just go down the back and deal with the cold. A big heavy box will need to go right in the vibration zone to trim the aircraft correctly.

Mike
Mike
20 days ago
Reply to  LordSpam

Do you know? How does the vibration in the likely load point of an a400m compare to the similar position in a herc or c17?

LordSpam
LordSpam
20 days ago
Reply to  Mike

There is a lot of vibration from the counter rotating props focused directly between them in the cargo bay. You can feel it and I find it quite unpleasant in the centre 1/3 of the cargo bay. For explosives and other sensitive cargo they have to test that the aircrafts normal vibrations won’t have an affect on the item in flight. They will fly the aircraft with sensors to measure the vibration profile of the aircraft in the different phases of its flight. Then use that data to place the item on a vibration rig to simulate a flight and… Read more »

Mike
Mike
20 days ago
Reply to  LordSpam

Thanks for that detailed and informative reply. Much appreciated

Bluemoonday
Bluemoonday
14 days ago
Reply to  LordSpam

Interesting.

Is there any sort of vibration cancelling technology, similar to noise cancelling headphones, that could be applied in this situation?

I wonder how the A400 compares in this regard to the Tu95? Are the Russian crew’s simply made to put up with that racket or have they mitigated it somehow?

Denis May
Denis May
20 days ago

The C17 stretcher fit is not certificated to carry patients head forward ( the standard RAF practice using an Aeromed Harness).
C17s fly a lot more Aeromed missions than A400s fly engine carrying missions(A400 is fully Aeromed certified)

Ambivalent Lurker
Ambivalent Lurker
19 days ago

Bit of a non-story TBH, all it means is that the A400m hasnt yet been offically cleared to carry the F135 engine transport container. I would assume that it would require a static loading/unloading validation test then a series of flight tests, probably requiring the services of Boscombe Down with Pratt and Whitney on hand to approve. Not urgent, but liable to be done at some point over the next couple of years I reckon as C130 is phased out. Obviously if the RAF/RN absolutely had to use an A400M to carry an F35 engine packed its transport container, it… Read more »

Nick Cole
Nick Cole
19 days ago

So does this mean that the A400 is not capable of handling standard sized pallets and containers? What is the justification for specific certification? Why can most other cargo aircraft carry just about anything that’ll fit in? As someone has said it would appear to be some consultant or other trying to justify their expensive existence. And how on earth can we get the engines on and off the QE class?

Angus
Angus
18 days ago
Reply to  Nick Cole

If the situation warrants it (hostilities) then such will be cleared in a matter of moments as we have seen every time such hits the fan. The RN have the TX to QE covered wither alongside or at sea. Also the Ship will have at least one spare onboard anyway. The Senior Service has been doing this sort of thing for a long long time and it works. You could also use the many civ air that carry about anything and would most likely work out cheaper too..:)

Richard
Richard
19 days ago

Another bit of well thought out purchasing from the MOD then! If you wrote this is a script for a comedy programme (yes, minister perhaps) it would be rejected as unlikely!