I really do not understand ANY of this.
What is more, I have the feeling that no-one is even supposed to understand.
We need large heavy-lifters.
We are clearly incapable of producing one ourselves...and are not even sure it would get off the ground if we did.
Proven heavy-lifters are, and have been, available for years.
Antonov, inter alia, have been producing these machines, successfully, since whenever.
Antonovs are made in The Ukraine, a relatively poor but 'friendly' country which would certainly welcome the business from a profligate EU with a bottomless (taxpayers) pocket.
The money spent on the A400, to date, is probably many times greater than the cost of buying up 'Antonov Ukraine Pty' lock stock & barrel.
I have no doubt that my rant will meet with 'all the usual reasons' not to do anything except plough our own useless furrow but, the bottom line is that what we need is already available.
Wiki: "The world's largest aircraft, the Airbuus A380, can carry up to
525 passengers in a stantard 3-class configuration!The A380 has a
wingspan of 79.8 metres
An Even BIGGER aircraft
The biggest aircraft ever made was the Russian Antonov 225 Mriya Cossack. It is larger in every way, and more powerfull than the american C5 Galaxy, which would otherwise claim the title of worlds biggest aircraft.
It was originally built to carry the soviet space shuttle and is now owned and operated by Antonov Airlines in the Ukraine.
Its maximum payload is a whopping 650 tons (thats roughly equivalent to 6,500 average-weight people, standing room only!). It is 92Metres long, has a wingspan of 96.6Metres and carries no less than 6 massive turbofan engines.
It stands 7 stories tall and its range is an impressive 8,000 miles. It is also capable of re-fuelling in mid-air thanks to a retro-fit.
If you could somehow move them, you could fit 8 average-sized family houses inside its cargo bay!
The Airbus A380 can still claim a title... that of worlds largest commercial passenger aircraft, but it is nevertheless only a toy in comparison with the Cossack!"