The Ministry of Defence has published its tenth annual summary of the defence equipment plan, the report contains references to the purchase of more A400M transport aircraft.

According to a statement:

“Building on the 2020 summary, it sets out our plans for the next 10 years to deliver and support the equipment our armed forces need to do the jobs we ask of them.”

Part of the document states:

“In later years of the plan, planned equipment investments worth £2.3 billion, including a second tranche of F35 and further A400M aircraft, have not yet been delegated to TLBs and doing so will be dependent on the affordability of the programme as a whole.”

There is mention made multiple times to “Additional A400M Atlas” aircraft, including in the below table.

You can read the report here.

In addition, a National Audit Office report on the Equipment plan shows the following.

Earlier in the year, I reported similar when a table detailing current and future Ministry of Defence expenditure, mentioned that the UK plans to purchase additional A400M Atlas transport aircraft later this decade. An entry in the table under the heading ‘A400m Additional Purchase‘ reads “Additional purchase of A400M planned for the late 2020s”. The increased fleet capacity was also hinted at in the Defence Command Paper, more on that below.

There is no number given however the UK has already ordered 22 A400M aircraft with 20 having been delivered so far. The remaining two are expected this year. It’s worth remembering that the Royal Air Force will lose its entire fleet of C-130 Hercules aircraft by 2023. The Defence Command Paper released last year, titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age‘, states:

“The Royal Air Force will retire the BAe146 as planned by 2022 and take the C130 Hercules out of service by 2023. The A400M Atlas force will increase its capacity and capability, operating alongside C 17 Globemaster and Voyager transport aircraft and tankers.”

The C-130J variants first entered service with the Royal Air Force in the late 1990s and some of the C-130s have been retired in recent years but the remaining 14 had originally been due to keep flying until the mid-2030s. It is understood that, where possible, their missions will be picked up by the fleet of larger A400M Atlas transport aircraft.

What does Atlas do?

According to the Royal Air Force website, Atlas 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.

“It will accommodate as many as 116 fully-equipped troops; vehicles; helicopters, including a Chinook; mixed loads, including nine aircraft pallets and 54 passengers, or combinations of vehicles, pallets and personnel, up to a payload of 37 tonnes.”

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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James H
James H
2 months ago

There is a huge amount of deferring projects or cuts going on, to make savings even if it hits capability.

Jack
Jack
2 months ago
Reply to  James H

As things stand our military are next to useless against a country like Russia. Dwarfed in numbers and completely outgunned in terms of range and lethality.

julian1
julian1
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack

but we would never go to war against Russia alone…always as part of NATO. I don’t understand comments like this

Greg Smith
Greg Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  julian1

Because we spend about the same as Russia and have no capability to show for it. We’d last about a week against them, if lucky.

RobW
RobW
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

They pay their people peanuts and have a rather different attitude to health and safety. Just looking at budgets doesn’t compare like with like.

Last about a week in which field of conflict? Air and sea, I fancy our chances as they have very little modern force projection ability.

Land, not so much.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Their missile technology alone would lay waste to any offensive capabilities we could muster

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

Maybe.

Maybe not.

It is one thing firing a missile, another thing hitting a target and quite another thing mission killing the target.

When you assess that offensive value of a missile stockpile the % of mission kill is the critical number.

Things are a lot more, defensively, sophisticated these days and defensive/offensive EW is something that is hugely underestimated in these pages.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

Ukraine little forces just gave Russia a Bloody Nose, and you are forgetting most Russian weapons systems are Fake Media delivered BULLSHITE.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Land war doesn’t work too well if someone else controls air war.

WWII lesson that….

Apache with top cover from F35B/Typhoon.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

I think you well underestimate our capabilities.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Explain how spending billions on carriers, to be able to drop a few jdams, is money well spent.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

Russia has zero aircraft carriers. Let alone the ability to put 5th gen stealth fighters to sea.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

The point is, the carrier doesn’t do much for the billions it costs. A few dozen jdams per day at best. Plus all your eggs are in 1 basket. Good luck going up against hypersonics sat in that tin can.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

Hypersonics that are totally unproven. You don’t know very much about aircraft carriers, do you.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Clearly you don’t know much about the 2 UK carriers. What do they offer other than a few jdams for a couple hundred miles and providing a huge target? Aid relief 😂😂👍🏿

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

I served on RN aircraft carriers for 13 years. And we don’t use JDAMs. We use Enhanced Paveway 4. ASRAAM/AMRAAM, SPEAR 3 is coming. And the wider carrier strike group has a vast range of capabilities above and below the waves. China is desperately trying to build aircraft carriers, and Russia would give its right arm just have one.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

How does serving 13 years on a boat prove your point??? It enables the dropping of a few bombs, that they’d only ever do with US&A approval. Billions spent to drop bombs on goat herders that can’t fight back.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

You have very simplistic views, Greg. You sure defence is for you. So what would you spend the money on?

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

He has no clue what he is chuffing about mate.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Thanks, mate. Another one of those when you wonder if they are from this land of ours 🤔.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Lol, “on a boat” you did try mate. He’s a hit and run, rant a bit and will be off to another website for a moan.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Don’t bother eve trying to explain to him Robert. It wall fall on deaf ears. Not to assume your age- but did you serve on Ark Royall R09 – or was that a little before your time? I imagine the bulk of your 13 years was on invincible class ships?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Yes mate. I served in the Fleet Air Arm 1999 – 2013. All 3 Invincible class, Ark Royal, Illustrious & Invincible. Ships company and with 800NAS Sea Harrier FA2, and later with the Naval Strike Wing Harrier GR7/9 from RAF Cottesmore. Avionics tech. Did Op Telic (Iraq Ark Royal) and Afghan 2007 from Kandahar. And lot’s of other great trips around the world.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Thanks Robert – what a fascinating experience. Bet you have some really cracking stories to tell! Stay safe mate.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

It seems like another life now. But I did have a great time and was very lucky to have done a lot of great trips along with the operational deployments. 4 weeks in Vegas for a Red Flag was pretty awesome. Watching 60 plus F15’s F16’s F18’s, B1B’s F22’s and German Tornados, and our own Harriers taking off twice a day was a sight and sound to behold.

Robert Bayliss
Robert Bayliss
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

During the Aden withdrawal, Hermes and Victorious did a combined fly past, quite a sight for any opponent to witness I was on Hermes at the time, completed two commissions, with a refit in between. We would not have been able to regain the Falklands without carriers. The difference is today we do not have sufficient escorts to protect them.

eclipse
eclipse
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

This is reminding me of the “British nukes are provided and controlled by America” nonsense. The carrier and the submarine are the two foremost naval weapons; the submarine to control the seas and the carrier to take advantage of that control. I believe Robert clearly stated that he served on carriers, not on boats (whether you mean sub or are trying to use it as an insult I don’t know), and hence much better than you knows the use of them. You also keep saying US&A, which is flatly wrong, and I can also insist that British carriers don’t need… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  eclipse

Thank-you Eclipse. I couldn’t be bothered with him anymore 👍

Esteban
Esteban
2 months ago
Reply to  eclipse

No, but you actually need the American aircraft, pilots and crew to do it for you. The UK can deploy 2 or at best 3 SSN’s to cover the entire globe. At the moment the UK can not deploy a single destroyer. UK defence policy is an absolute mess.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  Esteban

Yet more ramblings from the great uninformed who doesn’t understand warship availability or the regeneration of carrier strike with 5th gen capability that only one other country can match. And it’s still very early day’s.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  Esteban

2 type 45s are in Pompey on short notice. SO AGAIN POOR INFO MAKES YOU LOOK A C—.

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

Its a warship not a boat, and 13 years on a RN carrier ensures his opinion is one of experience and direct subject matter knowledge. It seems the subject is one you know nothing aout, same as land warfare and the silly goat herder comment.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

is it a quiet period in McDonald’s drive thru or something or is school and google just real SLOW as its wearing off on you. Grow a pair and man up BUTTERCUP. but i guess you have switched accounts and gone to the sports pages. Disney Channel would be a better option.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

they offer far more than you. bit like saying what did the Invincible Platform offer. go back to your comic books

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

You need to stop tugging it mate, its not call of duty and realise the old saying. I WILL BRING MY DAD ROUND TO SORT YOURS OUT. IS BULLSHITE. OR MAYBE YOU ARE JUST RUSSIAN and feel the need to spill bullshite and horseshite to satisfy a lack of length

Robert Bayliss
Robert Bayliss
1 month ago
Reply to  julian1

That is what the Conservative government said before the Falklands, to justify cuts being made. Further cuts were made under the cold war bonus. Now look where we are. A nothing who cannot defend the hugely expensive carriers without help from NATO. Like many cuts the government make without thought or reason, things always come back to bite false ecomonidies that have been made.

Wayne Richardson
Wayne Richardson
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack

….and at virtually no time in our history have we been comfortably equipped to tackle Russia or the Soviets on our own, even at the peak of our powers in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith
2 months ago

We’d never go alone vs Russia, always need to be tagging along with US&A.

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

There has never ever been a plan to go it alone against Russia, thats what NATO is for. Oh dear, more subject matter issues where you have no idea. Do try to do some research.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

The discussion was UK defence spending vs Russian, not NATO. Can you not read, or just a lack of simple comprehension???

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

its called NATO and you need to go sign back into your other account

Greg Smith
Greg Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Need a cuddle eUrotard???

eclipse
eclipse
2 months ago

In the 19th century the better part of the world combined couldn’t have tackled us. Sure, we couldn’t have invaded Russia because their population and territory would be too big, but we could have easily seized St. Petersburg, the capital and major port, as well as all of their other ports and watched their economy shrivel up. That is how USA would fight a war today against Russia, and that is the only way of efficiently beating such a large landmass. Of course, today, it would be quite easy for the Americans, or even a European coalition alone, to take… Read more »

Luis
Luis
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack

Well not really. That’s why you have your friends across the pond. 🇺🇸 It’s not like we like Russia so much here in the 🇺🇸 right now.

Lee Schofield
Lee Schofield
11 hours ago
Reply to  Jack

And they are beating the Ukranians?

Coll
Coll
2 months ago
Reply to  James H

Some of the deferrals is for older equipment which will be replaced. Granted, the track record of slow replacements is more concerning. Not particularly happy with the lack of wedgetails.

James H
James H
2 months ago
Reply to  Coll

Do you know what the radar that is being deferred is?
I also agree, especially if wedgetail is being cost to reduce cost and not for other reasons

Jack
Jack
2 months ago

“…dependant on the affordability…” Those are the key words as they are the future get out clause for weasel politicians, bean counters and snivel servants.

Jay R
Jay R
2 months ago

My guess would be another 12.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay R

That would be a fantastic uplift in transport capacity for UK forces.

It will be the ones the Germans don’t want.

John Clark
John Clark
2 months ago

My guess would be equivalent to the loss of the 13 C130J’s, so 7 or 8 A400’s, any increase over that number would be gravy and very welcome…..

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago

Hi SR , Mate do you know if these will be new builds or the used airframes the Germans are looking to get rid off?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

New builds that the Germans are contracted for and don’t want.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago

Thanks SB

Positroll
Positroll
1 month ago

GER already decided to keep them before the UKR invasion, though only HUN signed up for a joint squadron at Lechfeld, thus there were discussions to scrap that plan and just keep all aircrafts in one place..
Now the BW is getting 100 billion extra this year. There is no way in hell GER is going to get rid of these airframes now.
MAYBE UK and IRE could get GER to continue the plan for a joint suqdron, but that would only mean 2-3 hulls for each of them.

Challenger
Challenger
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay R

I think 12 is probably pie in the sky. They aren’t going to seek anything like a 1 for 1 replacement of the smaller and cheaper C130J. Reckon the RAF would be lucky to get another 8 but more likely 4 or 6.

Still a decent uptick in numbers and capability if it is a lower number. Shame it took the shambles in Afghanistan to reassert the importance of heavy lift. Bit like Libya kicking off months after Ark Royal and the Harriers had been scrapped….

David Flandry
David Flandry
2 months ago
Reply to  Challenger

My guess is two. Cut one asset. buy another?

BB85
BB85
2 months ago
Reply to  Challenger

The report shows 750 funding for atlas. At 120m per unit plus the cost of spares I guessing 5.

Bill
Bill
2 months ago
Reply to  Challenger

Agree that 4 to 6 is the best the RAF can hope for.

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay R

Isn’t it singlura based on the above, as in a aircraft and a second batch of f35s.

John Hartley
John Hartley
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay R

The 750 funding suggests 4.

Jay R
Jay R
2 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

The reason I said 12 was due to the C17. I can see the eldest of the fleet being retired by 2030 latest.

John Hartley
John Hartley
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay R

I suspect the C-17 will be refurbed & kept going like the B52 & KC135 for many more decades until a replacement comes along.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

I agree on C17 as USA will want to keep their going too.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Hi John , I’m wondering if the RAF may purchase the used aircraft he Germans are looking to sell off. I believe 10 is the number , relatively low airframes , could be a good buy?

Jay R
Jay R
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Makes perfect sense. Let’s hope the mod see it that way.

John Hartley
John Hartley
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Last I heard, the Germans decided to keep them. Spain has a surplus it wants to sell.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Thank you John.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
2 months ago
John Clark
John Clark
2 months ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Very interesting, let’s hope we can use the system for whatever comes out of our various UK UCAV programmes.

Certainly swarming drones / munitions, it could add a lot of bang for the buck….

Expat
Expat
2 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

My thoughts exactly, the A400 just trialed a drone release and the US has successfully launched cruise missiles from transports. These basically have potential to add a lot
of capability.

Last edited 2 months ago by Expat
Coll
Coll
2 months ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Aye, this has been going on for a while.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

I was working on this as a concept 20 years ago as part of FOAS.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  Greg Smith

explains why it was a mess as your a idiot anyone looks back on our last 20 years can point a finger UP AT YOU and say, THATS THE REASON ITS A MESS, happy to take the money and never say anything at the Time. yet FULL BLOWN GOBSHITE living on a stolen pension.

Esteban
Esteban
2 months ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Did the UK ever get the A400M certified to drop paratroopers? There was some sort of hold up I believe.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago

Oh good, I missed that detail.

2e
2e
2 months ago

What is the Lewis BMD radar? Does ‘Land Ground Based Air Defence’ refer to Sky Sabre or a new missile defence system such as Patriot or SAMP/T?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  2e

“LEWIS” is the name for the Ballistic Missile Defence radar first promised back in 2015 SDSR! Pushed to the right again.

LGBAD should be Sky Sabre. I’d like to see numbers at least double given Russia’s missile tech and importance of increasing AD coverage but sadly that seems to be fantasy.

2e
2e
2 months ago

Does PAVE PAWS not already provide BMD radar coverage? Do you know what the requirement is for LEWIS? Tactical/strategic deployment? Anti-TBM/ICBM?

I think a LGBAD system similar to Skyshield, made up of Patriot/SAMP/T, Sky Sabre, and an anti-aircraft cannon (Bofors 40mm/MANTIS/Phalanx) would sell well. If Sky Sabre has good Iron Dome-like C-RAM capability, I can see the Arab states in particular being very interested in this combination of air defence systems to counter Houthi attacks.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  2e

We have Fylingdales, yes, though I believe that SSPAR is not Pave Paws but a newer development. It provides both a missile warning and satellite tracking device.

I know nothing more on LEWIS, sorry.

Anthony Thrift
Anthony Thrift
2 months ago

I disagree with the reduction of the E7 Wedgetails. There is a need for more rather than less, maybe the number for both E7 and P8’s should be 12, so that there would be coverage while aircraft are going through maintenance.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  Anthony Thrift

Completely agree with you Anthony. As an ex Air Force Ops officer, I can tell you3 E7s will not cut the mustard (5 is likely to be sufficient). I think your call on 12 P8 is spot on

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Hi Klonkie, what about an E7 for NZ too? One would cover the whole country? Probably not needed? Is NZ looking at getting any uav drones to work with their P8s at all?

BTW, go NZ, getting 🏅🏅, a touch more than uk🇭🇲🇬🇧…lol 😁

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Hi QD, how are tricks? Mate, I’d be thrilled just to see our 4 P8’s enter service. There was some talk on drones , but as for funding, well that’s a problem. We definitely won’t see the likes of MQ4 Triton like the RAAF are doing- mores the pity !

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

12-13 P8 might be one real as it is the cheapest and fastest way of boosting ASW capabilities.

P8 is relatively cheap and we already have a fleet so the extra add on costs of running them won’t be ruinous.

Also the production line is active.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago

sorry for the late reply SM – that is a sharp idea. In NZ, we have 4 planned which seems a little light, given Auss invested in 14. I’d settle on a one for one replacement of the P3c , at 6.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  Anthony Thrift

E7s there is real study going on with the US concerning future needs of Awacs platforms. as it was highlighted by the emergence of the F35s and there Radar capacity, that made the need for a Awacs limited, to airforces without a 5th gen fighter. Tranche 1 typhoons and hawk T1s needed awacs support to engage F35s. 3 E7s is seen as a basic number, and once the US completes is Awacs replacement study. The UK may tag onto this order,

Coll
Coll
2 months ago

Still no mention of AJAX

John Hartley
John Hartley
2 months ago
Reply to  Coll

Page 52 “The Armoured Cavalry programme remains challenging.”

Adrian Macfarlane
Adrian Macfarlane
2 months ago

Good Evening from a former ‘RAF-MTD’ will this aircraft be able to land at RAF Ascension/St Helena ???considering the wind sheer experienced on these remote islands (p.s )I spent most of my tour refueling the ‘Herc’s /V.C10/Tri Stars/Victors/Wessex(hot refueling)🛩🇬🇧🍻

Jay R
Jay R
2 months ago

Anything a C130 can do, so can the A400.

Sooty
Sooty
2 months ago

Adding a few C-27s for special forces would be handy. The Italians have already developed a suitable variant so they would be off the shelf. Able to use smaller landing strips than the A400, also cheaper.

Sean the real Sean
Sean the real Sean
2 months ago

In the words of the cook for the Edmund Fitzgerald “Well fellas , its been good to know you “