Airbus A300-600ST Super Transporter



This drawing is from one of the Daimler-Benz Aerospace Airbus (DASA) sales brochure, showing the modifications made to the original A300 nose. A new aft section was built onto the existing forward cockpit and radar housing. As with the early Guppys, the original lower fuselage was mostly retained while a new larger upper cargo hold was built on top of it.
(29K JPG images)

In this series of drawings, also from a DASA sales brochure, shows the various loads the Beluga can accomidate. From an America's Cup yacht to the entire first stage of the Ariane 4 rocket, or a pair of C-53 helicopters. Also planned is the fuselage and wing sections of the new Airbus A330/340.
(22K, 22K, 25K & 22K JPG images)

These whimiscal paintings are used for postcards and window stickers. The painting on the left shows a "happy" whale flying, while the painting on the right depicts a sad Guppy flying off into the sunset, with the Beluga glad to take over. Notice also the various hops representing the major Airbus assembly plants in their respective cities.
(36K & 35K JPG images)

In the first drawing, from some of DASA's promotional material, graphically shows the amount of room available inside the Beluga for carrying unconventionally sized or shaped cargoes; either five of the smaller BO 105s or two of the SA 330 Pumas.The second two drawings also from DASA, breaks down exactly which of the Beluga components are manufactured by whom.
(68K, 57K, & 60K JPG images)

SATIC, the Aerospatiale/DASA joint venture responsible for the design and construction of the A300-600ST is now preparing a number of potential freighter projects based primarily around the A330/A340 airframe. Studies range from a simple side-cargo door equiped A340 version, to a full "Beluga" A340-300.
(65K JPG image)

The existing Beluga has a cargo bay diameter of just over 24 ft. which would be increased to about 32 ft. for the A340 version. This would be needed to carry the larger A3XX subassemblies such as fuselage sections. Studies are not limited to the A340-300 airframe, but also include the possiblity of an even larger version could be developed from the stretched A340-500/600 when it becomes available in 2002.
(58K JPG image)

The A340-300STE could fly 5200 nm with 53.5 tons of payload. Another option being studied, the A340-600F-S, based on the A340-600 which is nearing completion for series production, would carry 118 tons with a range of 3000 nm. Just imagine this airplane flying...
(37K JPG image)
Airbus is developing a novel on-board lifter for its A300-600ST Beluga outsize-freighter as part of its proposal to meet the Royal Air Force Short Term Strategic Airlifter (STSA) requirement. The cargo lifter allows freight to be loaded and unloaded without the need for ground support equipment, says Airbus director of transport operation, Arnaud Martin.

(Click on image above to link to the article from FLIGHT International)


Airbus needed to replace it's aging fleet of Super Guppys used to ferry subassemblies (wings, fuselages) between the partner factories. Airbus decided to use the A300-600R as the basis for the A300-600ST "Super Transporter". The cockpit section was lowered and a new upper fuselage with a single large top-hinged door was added for simplefied cargo loading operations. The fin was also changed to maintain stability in flight.
(28K JPG image)

The A300-600ST was built in Toulouse, France. The first Super Transporter or Beluga, was rolled out on June 1994, with a maiden flight on September 13, 1994. The A300-600ST was certified in October 1995, after 335 test hours and went into service in January 1996. The second Beluga first flew on March 26, 1996 and the third on April 21 1997. The Belugas took over the complete ferrying operations for Airbus major assemblies in October 1996.
(18K & 30K JPG images)

Special Airbus Transport International Company or SATIC was founded by Aerospatiale and DASA to build the Belugas. With its internal diameter of 25 ft., the Beluga can of carry a set of A340 wings or two pairs of wings for the A320. Another planned load is a complete first stage for the European Ariane 4 payload launch vehicle. The Beluga uses two General Electric CF-6 turbofans which are also used on other Airbus aircraft.
(52K & 100K JPG images)

Easily seen in this picture is how much wider the Belugas are than the Super Guppys they replace. When seen from the side, the Beluga appears to be much the same size as the SGT, only longer. In reality the Beluga's floor has been widened to about 20 ft. The Beluga's carry twice as much as the Guppys, carrying it twice as far, for half the cost. Loading time has also been drastically cut.
(38K JPG image)

SATIC is investigating the four-engined Beluga variants very seriously. Airbus Industrie might require such an aircraft, if large components for the projected A3XX (550 to about 800 seat transport, to fly in some 6 years) are to be transported by air. Another option would be transporting the components via waterways. Market research has shown a possible demand for up to 100 such Belugas worldwide carrying special cargos.
(33K JPG image)

La Liberté... By Super Transporter
It took no less than the belly of an Airbus A300-600ST Beluga, the world's most capacious aircraft, to airlift from Roissy airport in France to Tokyo via Bahrein and Calcutta - all in about twenty hours - one of the world's most famous paintings which has hung in the Louvre in Paris since 1874. This enormous canvas, inspired by the French Revolution of 1830 in Paris, is 2.99 meters high by 3.62 meters long and traveled in the vertical position inside a special pressurized container provided with isothermal protection and an antivibration device.

La Liberté guidant le peuple (Liberty leading the People) by Eugène Delacroix, to commemorate the July Revolution that had just brought Louis-Philippe to the French throne; Louvre. This painting, which is a sort of political poster, is meant to celebrate the day of July 28 1830, when the people rose and dethroned the Bourbon king. Alexandre Dumas tells us that Delacroix's participation in the rebellious movements of July was mainly of a sentimental nature.Despite this, the painter, who had been a member of the National Guard, took pleasure in portraying himself in the figure on the left wearing the top-hat.

Although the painting is filled with rhetoric, Delacroix's spirit is fully involved in its execution: in the outstretched figure of Liberty, in the bold attitudes of the people following herm contrasted with the lifeless figures of the dead heaped up in the foreground, in the heroic poses of the people fighting for liberty, there is without a doubt a sense of full participation on the part of the artist, which led Argan to define this canvas as the first political work of modern painting.

Liberty Leading the People caused a disturbance. It shows the allegorical figure of Liberty as a half-draped woman wearing the traditional Phrygian cap of liberty and holding a gun in one hand and the tricolor in the other. It is strikingly realistic; Delacroix, the young man in the painting wearing the opera hat, was present on the barricades in July 1830. Allegory helps achieve universality in the painting: Liberty is not a woman; she is an abstract force.
(88K JPG image)

And since it would not fit inside a 747 cargo plane, the job of carrying this priceless load under conditions of maximum security fell upon the Beluga. To mark the event and associate itself with France-Japan Year, Airbus Industrie did not hesitate to reproduce Delacroix's work on the flanks of the Beluga... nor, when making the stops in Bahrein and Calcutta, to modestly hide the dazzling bosom of that immortal lady, La Liberte. In the latest photo added, La Liberte is seen arriving in Japan.
(41K, 27K, 43K 28K & 52K JPG images)

Beluga Number 3 is seen here performing mild aerobatics most likely at the Paris Air Show in 1999. According to the FAA and other country's airworthiness authorities, an aerobatic flight maneuver is when an aircraft's axis deviates more than 60 degrees from normal. Looking at that Beluga, in this shot taken from Flight Magazine, under these standards, No.3 is flying aerobatics.
(27K, 30K & 51K JPG images)

These photos or the Beluga Number 3 on static display were taken by Todd Henry at the Paris Air Show. These are nice detail shots which especially in the last photo we can finally see in greater detail the design which appears to be permanent.
(68K, 42K, 45K & 61K JPG images)
Beluga No.3 is shown with here with one of each of the aircraft Airbus Industrie builds. From top to bottom, the Airbus Corporate Jetliner, A320, A321, A310, A300-600, A330-200, A340-300, and the A300-600ST "Beluga".
(26K JPG image)

Seen here is Beluga No.3 flying over the European countryside. Airbus Industrie has plans so far to build five of these Belugas. Also seen is the special promotional paint scheme applied to No.3.
(533K AVI video)

Comments or Questions? Email me
Copyright © 2006 Daren Savage
All Rights Reserved