Once called the Grizzly but renamed as the Atlas, the Airbus A400M was the largest 4x turbo-prop transport aircraft and this was the first time I've seen one up close. It takes the form of the C-17 Globemaster but a little smaller and still love that massive tail. The A400M is positioned as an intermediate size between the Lockheed C-130 and the Boeing C-17. Originally the SNECMA M138 turboprop (based on the M88 core) was selected to power the A400M. Airbus Military issued a new request for proposal (RFP) in April 2002, after which Pratt & Whitney Canada with the PW180 and Euro-prop International answered; the latter was a new design. In May 2003, Airbus Military selected the Euro-prop TP400-D6, reportedly due to political interference over the PW180 engine.
The partner nations – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Belgium, and Luxembourg – signed an agreement in May 2003 to buy 212 aircraft. These nations decided to charge the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) with the management of the acquisition of the A400M. Following the withdrawal of Italy and revision of procurement totals the revised requirement was for 180 aircraft, with first flight in 2008 and first delivery in 2009. On 28 April 2005, South Africa joined the partnership programme with the state-owned Denel Saab Aero structures receiving a contract for fuselage components.