Saturday, May 09, 2020


Euryhtmics with It's Alright (Baby's coming back). Album Be Yourself Tonight (1985).

Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, both ex The Tourists, were a British synthpop duo who formed around 1980 in Wagga Wagga, Australia, of all places.

The Fray with How To Save A Life. From their 2005 debut album How To Save A Life.

US rock band who formed in 2002 in Denver, CO around schoolmates Isaac Slade and Joe King.

Good night and stay safe.


Friday, May 08, 2020


Fooled you! The first one to be delivered is actually the MSN104, the sole Luxembourgian A400M. To be sure, it is being delivered in BAF livery since the plane will be operated jointly by Belgium and Luxembourg. I have no video material of the MSN 104, but the video below does show a Belgian plane, the MSN 106, being rolled out of the Airbus hangar in Sevilla, Spain, upon completion of the paint job.

Belgium purchased a total of 7 A400M's - not counting the MSN104 - to replace its ageing 'fleet' of the 15th Transport Wing's nine C-130H Herculeses. And Luxembourg purchased one, the MSN 104, for the time being to be delivered to Melsbroek AFB near Brussels (four Luxembourgian pilots are being trained in Belgium). It will also be the sole plane in the LUX AF!

The seven 'real' Belgian A400M's will be delivered from 2021 to 2023, by which time the last of the venerable Hercules will be phased out. In 1972/1973 the BAF purchased twelve of these do-it-all cargo planes (and later a thirteenth second hand) to replace the about 32 Fairchild C-119 Boxcars which until then formed the backbone of the BAF's transport wing.

Some background, via airrecognition dot com:


The Airbus A400M will increase the airlift capacity and range compared with the aircraft it was originally set to replace, the older versions of the Hercules and Transall. Cargo capacity is expected to double over existing aircraft, both in payload and volume, and range is increased substantially as well. The A400M's wings are primarily carbon fibre reinforced plastic. The eight-bladed Scimitar propeller is also made from a woven composite material.


The two-pilot flight deck crew will have the benefit of an integrated, digital avionics system in the cockpit and a fly-by-wire control system. Additional systems will provide a night-vision-compatible glass cockpit complete with two head-up displays supported by at least five multi-function displays that will allow state-of-the-art avionics developments to be incorporated to the flight-deck design, so greatly reducing crew workload. A modern Defensive Aids Suite will be fitted, incorporating radio and infra-red frequency detectors, electronic-countermeasure equipment and chaff/flare dispensers. The EADS Defence Electronics defensive aids suite will include an ALR-400 radar warner from Indra and EADS, MIRAS (multi-colour infraRed alerting sensor) missile launch and approach warner developed by EADS and Thales, and chaff and flare decoy dispensers. A laser DIRCM (directed infrared countermeasure) system may be added later.

Thales and Diehl Avionik Systeme are developing the A400M's FMS400 flight management system, based on integrated modular avionics modules, an adaptation of systems being fitted on the Airbus A380 airliner. The avionics will include cockpit control and display systems with nine 6in×6in displays and a digital head-up display which features liquid crystal display (LCD) technology and enhanced vision systems (EVS), for enhanced situational awareness, automated CG calculation, automated defensive aids systems, simple EMCOM switching, simplified switching, uncluttered screens, automated tanker and receiver fuel control and auto fuel tank inerting.
The aircraft's independent navigation system comprises an inertial reference system (IRS) integrated with a global positioning system (GPS). The weather and navigation radar is to be the Northrop Grumman AN/APN-241E, which incorporates windshear measurement and ground mapping capability. The radio navigation suite includes a pair of instrument landing systems, VHF Omnidirectional Radio ranging (VOR), radio distance measuring equipment (DME), air traffic control (ATC) transponders, automatic direction finders (ADF) and a tactical air navigation unit (TACAN).


The A400M will be driven by four Europrop International (EPI) turboprop engines, which will be the most powerful turboprops developed to date in the western world, they will be lighter, easy to maintain and will consume 20% less fuel per mission relative to a similar turbofan engine. The A400M's normal operating speed is 555km/h, but it can reach a maximum speed of 780km/h. The normal and ferry ranges of the aircraft are 3,298km and 8,710km respectively. The service ceiling is 11,300m. The take-off and landing distances of the aircraft are 980m and 770m respectively. The aircraft weighs around 76,500kg and the maximum take-off weight is 141,000kg.


The A400M carries outsize loads such as helicopters, heavy engineering equipment and armoured vehicles that are too large or too heavy for current tactical airlifters.The A400M satisfies the fundamental requirement of recent humanitarian missions and today’s ongoing military operations to airlift heavy and large equipment directly to where it is most urgently needed, and thus enabling cost-effective and rapid response to crisis.

While it is true that an A400M can carry about twice the payload of a Hercules, the fact that only 7 were bought is a reminder of Belgium's unenviable status of the worst student in NATO class. Indeed, it still spends at best a meagre 0.93 per cent of GNP on Defense. The former Michel I government pledged to raise that number to 1.6 per cent by 2030 or so, but you can be damn sure the corona crisis will be used as the perfect excuse to postpone that lofty goal to 2300 instead.