(26 May 2021) Airbus has delivered the tenth A400M to the Spanish Air Force in Zaragoza.
The delivery of aircraft MSN111 also marks 100 A400M deliveries that Airbus has made since the aircraft’s maiden flight in 2009.
The A400M global fleet has also just achieved the 100,000 flight-hours landmark performing missions worldwide for all eight customer nations.
Recently the A400M successfully conducted a major helicopter air-to-air refuelling certification flight test campaign in coordination with the DGA (French Directorate General of Armaments), completing the majority of its certification objectives, including the first simultaneous refueling of two helicopters.
The A400M is already able to drop up to 116 paratroopers, via simultaneous dispatch from the side doors with automatic parachute opening, or from the ramp with automatic parachute opening or in freefall, day and night.
Recent tests were completed in Spain, in collaboration with the UK Royal Air Force parachute test team, to expand up to 25,000 feet (7,600 metres) for automatic parachute opening – and up to 38,000ft (11,582 metres) for free fall.
The A400M also completed additional tests to expand its air drop capability, including multiple platforms with parachute extraction (23 tonnes). France and Spain participated in those flights.
Another way to deliver cargo on austere airstrips without handling equipment was also certified: Combat offload of up to 19 tonnes of pallets (one pass) or 25 tonnes (two passes) on paved or unpaved airstrips.
The A400M also achieved a new decisive milestone after the certification flights of its Automatic Low Level Flight capability for Instrumental Meteorological Conditions (IMC). Using navigation systems and terrain databases, without the need of a terrain-following radar, this is a first for a military transport aircraft. It makes the aircraft less detectable in hostile areas and less susceptible to threats while conducting operations in hostile environments.
In terms of collaborative missions, the Spanish Air Force supported the French Arme de lAir in the transport of a Caracal helicopter from Cazaux (France) to Tucson (USA), using a Spanish A400M.
The flight was used by CLAEX (Spanish Logistics Center for Armament and Experimentation) and CECTA (Air Transport Cargo Evaluation Cell) to validate the loading process on Spanish A400Ms.
Key military missions last year included the delivery of almost 40 tonnes of food, water, fuel and ammunition by a single French A400M to troops based in the Sahel region of Africa, the first A400M to airdrop supplies in a country outside of Europe.
In addition, Germany became the first A400M customer to use the A400M as a tanker in real missions providing support in the Counter Daesh operation in Jordan.
2020 and 2021 also saw the use of the A400M in civil emergency response roles during the ongoing COVID19 pandemic crisis, not least for civil medical evacuation (medevac) duties – with Airbus providing critical support for air force operators as well as for transporting key medical relief supplies.
The versatility of the aircraft also allowed a rapid conversion to medevac configuration, where installed critical care modules provided airborne intensive care units.
HD Video Tour of an Airbus A400M
HD video tour of Grizzly 4, an Airbus A400M which was in Bangkok, Thailand, on 19 April 2012. The Airbus Military A400M was in Thailand for the very first time, and took part in the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Royal Thai Air Force – “The Centennial of the RTAF Founding Fathers’ Aviation”. The visit was the final leg of the A400M’s first Asia Pacific Tour during which it had already visited Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Chiang Mai before returning to Europe after the stop in Bangkok. See more: Pictures of the Airbus A400M (2 pages).