Thanks for the clarification, I still don't believe the use case is valid or would be used in operational service as the surface to air threats in most scenarios is present and too high.
It was and is deemed possible to create a safe corridor for insertion and exfil. The nap of the earth flying requirement comes from that. No point coming in at 200 feet if their ain't an anti air thread....
if we look at the Puma IFV, the reporting indicates it would require four A400M to carry three Puma IFV and their full armour kits into a situation.
Key being "full armour kits". Basic armour level A is already better protected than most IFVs, pretty much all aside of some heavy israeli APCs, level C only tops that up. There was also a level B for rail transport planned, but that turned out to be unnecessary, as C fits. The four A400M for three Pumas is for strategic air lift operations. Level A can be taken in and out unprepared fields, and tank and aircraft are designed for just that purpose. It is basically a weapon system, not an aircraft and a tank.
Based on that, I'd suggest that the A400M may be weight constrained carrying the Puma IFV for a high threat scenario and the pairing isn't as ideal as it could have been.
Whole point was and is that the enemy would have to expect and prepare for brigade sized air assaults with some highly mobile armored fire support, including anti-air, anywhere up to 300 miles in the rear, with almost no warning, requiring assets in place to deal with that.
They where supposed to be gone before the red army can bring enough air and ground forces to bear on them. And having them scramble in a hurry gives plenty of opportunity to riddle down those attackers and collect plenty of Intel along the way.
Trading a few airborn troops and tactical aircraft for binding a couple hundred tanks and a couple of 100.000 troops in the rear isn't all that unattractive during a real war. Basically guaranteeing costing the defender way more assets than the attacker can lose even in principle. It is also a good way to force the initiative for a while.
Strategic problem generally was that holding an advance would take a while, probably until the river Rheine. Not much in the way of bridge head missions for those troops until the tide has stopped. So one could have well trained and equipped paratroopers sitting on their butts for half the war, waste them on pretty normal infantry duties or send them on few, but risky, raids into the enemy rear.
The Soviet Union had similar plans, only did they expect their troops to hold until the front catched up with them, or exfil of only the troops with heavy equipment left behind destroyed. They intended to air drop tanks into the landing zone, fully armed and crewed. That would have been scary as sh*t I guess.
And compared to try and land a Herk in a soccer stadium and back out of it, it still sounds pretty peachy, don't you think?
Also the reason why C160's and CH53's where bought in rather large numbers by German standards, or 73 A400M originally. High losses where expected in their intended role.
Of course all of that is irrelevant to current conflicts, but not the conflict we have armed forces for. I am aware that use is pretty unique to Germany, just like having 50 ton APCs with just a heavy machine guns is unique to Israel or defending the air space above the battlefield mostly with fighters is very US.
This Singature is a safe space......