Schools Aerospace Challenge 2014 – A400M Atlas Search and Rescue

Came across this recently, after they followed the Think Defence Twitter account (just under two and a half thousand followers now)

Really interesting stuff and great to see the list of sponsors supporting the development of British aerospace engineers and technicians.

This years challenge is as below

RAF Requirement

The A400M transport aircraft is soon to enter service with the Royal Air Force and it might be possible to use it in a secondary role to provide a long range Search and Rescue capability.  SAR aircraft have previously carried and dropped survival equipment including liferafts to assist survivors.

It is suggested that using remote control technology the A400M could carry and deploy a lifeboat that would be steerable to survivors.  It would be advantageous if the lifeboat could have a propulsion system to enable it to travel some distance in order to enter known shipping lanes and therefore increase the chances of recovery.

The task is to examine the feasibility of such an idea addressing aspects such as radius of operation of the A400M in the role, its location of survivors, deployment of the lifeboat, and how modern technology could be used within the lifeboat to give survivors the best chance of rescue.

Interesting that we we were discussing using the A400M Atlas in the maritime patrol role only recently.

Fantastic stuff, good luck to all those taking part

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Ian Hall
Ian Hall
April 13, 2014 4:17 pm

Whether we adapt the A400 or buy the C295, the important think is that we do something about the gap in our maritime defences. The search for MH370 demonstrates the need for a suitable replacement for Nimrod.

Mike W
April 13, 2014 6:30 pm

“Whether we adapt the A400 or buy the C295, the important thing is that we do something about the gap in our maritime defences.”

Agreed! There is no doubt that the scrapping of the Nimrods left a yawning gap in capability.
However, it is beginning to look as if something really might be on its way.

I don’t know how much store to set by this but, according to a report in the “Sunday Telegraph” today, the MOD is considering using large drones to patrol Britain’s coastline, as a replacement for the Nimrod. A team is being sent to America to train on the Triton reconnaissance drone, which has already been ordered by the U.S. Navy. The RAF is apparently lobbying the Government to buy a combination of drones and conventional manned aircraft. This would fit in with America’s plan to operate Triton drones alongside its Poseidon P-8 patrol planes. (Phil Hammond has already visited the P-8s at their base in Jacksonville).

There is a contributor over on the Military Photos forum (British Forces section) who seems convinced that the Poseidon procurement will go ahead and says his source is impeccable! The scheme is apparently for six with options for another four + four! Make of all that what you will but the “Telegraph” article did quote an MOD spokesman who said 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review would “look at” Britain’s “long-range maritime surveillance needs.”

However, this is probably old news to many of you.

Ian Hall
Ian Hall
April 13, 2014 6:39 pm

Many thanks Mike- I hope that’s the case. It would make sense to use drones , especially over the Falklands and the North sea. It has really hurt me to agree with the SNP (who I understand want maritime recon planes as part of their White Paper for Scotland) .

April 13, 2014 6:59 pm

The C-295MPA/SAR has been discussed in the MPA series of articles.
One criticism was of payload (munitions and sonar buoys) verses range/endurance for perusing a target/loitering whilst a relief aircraft comes on station with a full load of munitions/sonar buoys to continue an attack. It occurred to me that the aircraft could take off with the maximum payload and therefore a reduced payload but the top up with fuel by tanker to increase its endurance.
Maximum take off weight is defined by many factors such as under carriage strength, air strip quality , maximum wing loading at the take off speed etc. However once airborne and travelling considerably faster the wings could support a higher loading. The only problem I see is that only one photo shows it with a refuelling probe. Is this possible?
Another interesting link.

dave haine
dave haine
April 13, 2014 8:49 pm

@ Monkey

The airframe would have an absolute limit too…. Particularly with under-wing stores, it would be the bending moment on the main spar.

April 13, 2014 10:12 pm

@ Ian Hall

Drones over the Falklands?
‘Cor blimey… that’d send “that lady down south” into a rant to end all rants :D

Indeed, the RAF’s seedcorn initiative seems to be paying off.