Showing posts with label A400M. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A400M. Show all posts

05 December, 2023

Airbus upgrades A400M firefighter prototype kit

                                              Airbus Defence and Space has conducted a new flight-test campaign of the A400M Roll-on/Roll-off firefighting prototype kit, dropping 20,000 litres of retardant and creating high-concentration lines over 400 metres long.

Over two weeks, the A400M carried out a ground and flight-test campaign in south-western and central Spain, including six drops, three of which used red-coloured retardant and three using water.

“We have tested a new version of the kit, improving dropping efficiency and reducing discharge time by over 30% compared to last year, while combined with rapid deployment and easy installation on the A400M aircraft,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Military Air Systems at Airbus Defence and Space. “We continue to pioneer new solutions and capabilities for our A400M fleet, in this case protecting populations and natural environments from fires.”

An easy-to-install solution

This roll-on/roll-off kit does not require any modification to the aircraft and, therefore, is interchangeable to any aircraft in the A400M fleet. The water or retardant is stored in a tank in the cargo hold of the aircraft and, by using a mechanical lever, a door is opened to allow the liquid to flow out of the aircraft by gravity means through a discharge pipe. The current design of the prototype is capable of dropping 20,000 litres in a single discharge.

The tanks can be filled in less than 10 minutes using standard high-pressure pumps on ground. The A400M is characterised by its ability to take off and land on short and unpaved runways, and a wide range of air bases and airfields.

During the campaign, the 43rd Firefighting Squadron of the Spanish Air Force has been involved as technical advisors and assuring that this capability in the A400M has operational value for any potential operator.

In July 2022, Airbus tested a removable firefighting demonstrator kit on the A400M for the first time. The company concluded that the A400M firefighting kit offers additional capabilities not available on the market thanks to its high-dropping capacity, high manoeuvrability with the latest safety standards, day and night operation and the potential to convert any regular A400M in any fleet to a firefighting aircraft at very short notice.

11 September, 2023

RAF A400M Atlas has transported UK search and rescue teams to Morocco following earthquake

Two Royal Air Force A400M Atlas aircraft are transporting UK search and rescue teams to Morocco following the 6.8 magnitude earthquake. The teams include sixty search and rescue specialists, a medical assessment team, four search dogs and rescue equipment.

The first aircraft took off from RAF Brize Norton earlier this evening and the second aircraft will follow shortly. The A400M Atlas has the ability to carry 37-tonnes over 2,000 miles, which enables it to transport the teams to Marrakech without refuelling.

Grant Shapps, the new UK Defence Secretary said:  "This is a devastating time for the people of Morocco, particularly those with loved ones they have lost or are missing. The UK has taken a leading role in the international effort to enhance search and rescue operations - moving quickly to deploy our unique strategic airlift capabilities, expert personnel and aid. We stand firmly by Morocco as they get through this terrible event."

The UK International Search and Rescue team (UKISAR) respond to disasters on behalf of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. They have specialist search equipment including seismic listening devices, concrete cutting and breaking equipment, propping and shoring tools. The specialist kit gives the team the capacity to lift, cut and remove concrete and rubble to reach people under collapsed buildings.

The UK Emergency Medical Team (EMT) is deploying a four-person British medical assessment team to assess the situation on the ground and coordinate with Moroccan authorities.

08 August, 2023

Royal Air Force Atlas shows its range during Pacific air exercise

A Royal Air Force Atlas transport aircraft has shown its range and flexibility on exercise by flying non-stop to the other side of the world and conducting long-range air drops, medical evacuation scenarios and simulated search and rescue tasks.

During the large US-led multi-national exercise the Atlas detachment transported US Air Force troops and equipment from Guam to the Philippines, then worked with medical specialists from New Zealand, USA and the RAF’s Tactical Medical Wing to provide humanitarian aid in a disaster relief scenario, before quickly reconfiguring to conduct a long-range air drop alongside partner nations to deliver equipment by parachute to ground forces.

The A400M Atlas flew non-stop from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire to Guam in the Western Pacific for the start of Exercise Mobility Guardian, the longest flight by this aircraft at more than 8000 miles away, demonstrating the RAF’s ability to reach just about anywhere in the world to conduct operations. The flight crews and ground support worked intensively to complete two missions every day on the 16-day exercise.

Squadron Leader Hedley Myers, Atlas Detachment Commander said: “The flight out was designed to test and prove the concept of long-range insertion.  The flight generated extremely useful data for future operations and was the first time that a Royal Air Force Atlas has been air-to-air refuelled to its full capacity whilst carrying a full load.  We will use this data to hone our calculations to enable us to carry more freight, further in future iterations.”

During the insertion flight, the Atlas carried a full load of palletised and wheeled freight equating to nine aircraft pallets weighing approximately seven tons, that included a ground power generator, two Critical Care Air Support Team stretcher fits, aircraft spares and general freight, together with 17 passengers.

06 July, 2023

Royal Air Force Atlas carries out longest ever flight for Pacific air exercise

Royal Air Force Atlas carries out longest-ever flight for Pacific Air exercise

A Royal Air Force Brize Norton A400M Atlas aircraft has carried out the longest-ever flight by this aircraft type to start the RAF deployment for Exercise Mobility Guardian 23. 

The Atlas departed from RAF Brize Norton, on the 3 July and flew nonstop for 22 hours to Guam, being refuelled on the way three times, once over the Atlantic, once over Alaska and finally over the Pacific Ocean.  During the flight the route also took the Atlas closer to the North pole over the Arctic ice cap than any previous flight by this aircraft type.

The first refuelling was carried out by a Voyager from 10/101 Sqn flying from the UK and the second and third refuelling being carried out by a second Voyager that was operating from the United States Airforce Eielson Airbase in Alaska. 

Air Commodore Lyle, RAF’s Air Mobility Force Commander: “Exercise Mobility Guardian is an outstanding training opportunity for the Air Mobility Force; it allows us to demonstrate the speed, reach and utility of the RAF, underpinned by the assets from the Air Mobility Force, and reinforces our ability to rapidly conduct global Air Operations. The non-stop flight of the A400M Atlas from RAF Brize Norton to Guam is a great example of our ability to project air power, allowing us to get aircraft, crews and vital equipment to the other side of the world in a timely manner and for them to be able to operate immediately”.

In addition to the strategic demonstration of the UK’s commitment to operate in the region, Flight Lieutenant York, from Voyager Force Training Flight said:  "From an aircrew perspective this has been a challenging and rewarding sortie for all, to enable long-range projection of the RAF Air Mobility Fleet.  The planning has been significant as well as the benefits of exercising long-range strategic air to air refuelling with another large aircraft type, conducted from forward-operating airports."

On arrival in Guam, the Atlas together with a RAF Voyager, elements from the Tactical Medical Wing and other supporting personnel from across the RAF will join the exercise.  In addition to the US aircraft taking part in Mobility Guardian, the RAF detachment will be joined by aircraft and personnel from Australia, Canada, France, Japan and New Zealand.

The exercise is the latest example of the importance that the UK gives to this region as the training area stretches from Northern Australia to Japan and then across the Pacific to Hawaii.  The object of the exercise is for the countries involved to develop their interoperability skills and understanding and so to be able to deliver Air Power if required and overcome the concept of ‘The Tyranny of Distance’.

During the exercise it is planned that sorties will be flown from and to Japan.  Such activities by the RAF demonstrate the UK’s commitment to the recently signed Hiroshima Accord between the UK and Japan.  This accord emphasises that the security and prosperity of the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions are inseparable.  The UK and Japan, by strengthening shared security capabilities, help safeguard global peace and stability.

03 July, 2023

German Air Force renews A400M in-service support contract with Airbus

The contract extension covers 7.5 years
Airbus to build new A400M maintenance facility in Wunstorf, to open in 2027

The Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) in Koblenz, Germany has awarded Airbus with a contract renewal for the Luftwaffe’s A400M In-Service Support. The contract has a duration of 7.5 years and serves as an extension of the A400M In-Service Support contract that had been in place since December 2014.

“This contract extension shows a long-term commitment of the German government to the A400M. Together with the customer, we have made big strides in recent years to improve availability as well as the operational capabilities of the A400M, which has become an indispensable asset in Germany’s air force inventory”, said Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Military Air Systems of Airbus Defence and Space. “This contract allows us to deepen our fruitful cooperation which, I believe, can serve as a role model of how industry and customers can work together successfully.”

The industrial technical support of the German Air Force A400M fleet covers a wide range of services provided by the Airbus Support Centre in Wunstorf Air Base and the central Centres of Competence in Getafe, Spain.

27 June, 2023

Air Defender 23 demonstrates transatlantic partnership

Airbus military aircraft are at the heart of Air Defender, the largest deployment exercise of air forces in NATO's history, under the lead of Germany.

The sheer numbers alone are impressive: 25 nations with 250 aircraft, and some 10,000 service members have come together in Germany to re-confirm their commitment to the transatlantic alliance. The Eurofighter, Tornado, A400M, and A330 MRTT, all Airbus Defence and Space platforms, are playing a crucial role in Air Defender, the largest deployment of NATO air forces in the alliance’s history, which takes place between 12 to 23 June, 2023. 

“As a staunch believer in a strong European pillar of NATO, I am very thankful for this signal of solidarity in challenging times. Air Defender not only demonstrates the strength of the transatlantic partnership, it also shows the interoperability of allied forces. Never has the importance of collaboration and interoperability been greater than today.”

Airbus Defence and Space CEO Mike Schoellhorn "Air forces of Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US have been training together in Air Defender. Under the command of the German Air Force, the goal of the exercise is to optimise and expand cooperation among participating nations, while demonstrating strength within the NATO alliance: to train the joint response capability of the 25 partner air forces in a crisis situation. The scenario is modelled on an Article 5 assistance scenario. 

 A total of 250 platforms, including 23 different aircraft types, are stationed in Germany and  US Air Forces in Europe locations, as well as at NATO bases such as Wunstorf (Lower Saxony), Schleswig/Jagel & Hohn (Schleswig-Holstein), Geilenkirchen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Spangdahlem (Rhineland-Palatinate), Lechfeld (Bavaria) and Neuburg (Bavaria). For the exercise, hundreds of these aircraft deployed from the United States, where they are assigned to units of the US Air National Guard.

27 May, 2023

How the RAF's A400M fleet is serviced by a talented group of engineers known as ‘Team Atlas’

The UK's Royal Air Force took delivery of its 22nd A400M this week, to make the occasion, we take a look behind the scenes at the joint Airbus-RAF maintenance operations at RAF Brize Norton which help keep the Atlas A400M tactical and strategic airlift fleet flying.

The successful evacuation of 2,450 British nationals from war-torn Sudan by the Royal Air Force (RAF) last month has again demonstrated the unique capabilities of the A400M aircraft.

This week, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) took delivery of its 22nd ‘Atlas’ – as the aircraft is affectionately known – at ceremonies in Seville, Spain, where the aircraft is assembled, and RAF Brize Norton, where the UK fleet is based.

The delivery of MSN129 completes the RAF’s order for the A400M – the first Airbus Home Country to receive its full fleet, albeit with potential for more orders in the future. But Monday’s handover of the aircraft by no means marks the end of Airbus’ involvement with the 22-strong Atlas fleet.

Adjacent to the Brize Norton runway is a state-of-the-art, three-bay hangar, complete with modern, open-plan offices, meeting spaces, operation rooms and a communal canteen, where 250 Airbus engineers and support staff work alongside RAF personnel to provide maintenance services for the A400M fleet at the Oxfordshire base.

“The flexibility of the A400M coupled with improving availability and capability are demonstrating well what the A400M can do,” says Simon Haywood, Airbus’ Head of UK Support Centre at Brize Norton.

“The Humanitarian evacuation in Sudan was the latest example, where the aircraft’s superior capacity coupled with its ability to operate from short and often difficult operating surfaces helped evacuate UK nationals against a tight ceasefire window. We also saw how the A400M’s versatility supported humanitarian efforts in Turkey, Afghanistan, the Caribbean and other areas affected by natural disasters.

“My Airbus team and I are proud to be a fully-embedded constituent element of the A400M Whole Force and proud of the part we play in supporting the Air Mobility Force in delivering military capability for UK.”

Team Atlas at Brize is responsible for keeping the A400M serviced and flying through routine maintenance checks and longer-term servicing, known as C-checks. Airbus’ Ian Burrett, who oversees support centres for all Atlas operators, said: “Team Atlas has the capability to carry out light and heavy C-checks on the A400M fleet, as well as routine maintenance.

“The hangar at Brize Norton is one of the most modern maintenance facilities in the world and can take up to three aircraft at any one time. One bay is also designed to service an A330 MRTT in case it’s needed.”

Team Atlas embodies the Airbus Defence and Space philosophy of teams always being on duty to serve customers’, partners’ and society’s needs. Airbus products are used in the most extreme conditions, and have to be ready at a moment’s notice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The focus is always to ensure Airbus people can do their work effectively and to the highest standards.

Since entering RAF service in 2014, the A400M Atlas has repeatedly proven itself. It contributed fully to the military response to COVID, transporting patients, equipment and vaccines, ​​and has provided support to UK Defence operations around the globe. It has flown more missions and moved 1,000 more people than any other aircraft type for the RAF.

In addition, Atlas supports enduring operations in NATO Air Policing operations in the Baltic and, in the UK, Atlas has a 24/7 national standby commitment and has supported the UK Border Force with maritime reconnaissance (MRR) in the English Channel, long-range search and rescue (SAR) and ‘over watch’.

The RAF’s Mike Hadley runs operational assistance activities at Brize Norton and leads the planning for what the aircraft need to be doing on any particular day. He is also responsible for coordinating the training of pilots and loadmasters and ensuring the crews are ready to do the job the Ministry of Defence asks them to do.

In order to plan the fleet’s daily programme, Mike’s team works closely with Airbus engineers working as part of Team Atlas in the maintenance hangar, meeting twice a day for regular updates on the maintenance activities of the aircraft.

“We have a very close working relationship, starting with the daily 8.30 meeting with the engineers to understand how many aeroplanes we have got that day. It’s very much a joint enterprise and the spirit of Team Atlas is flourishing.

“The focus on predictable availability has meant I can plan ahead with more confidence. This is where the face-to-face meetings with the engineers has really helped. And the numbers are definitely steadier.”

And Mike, a qualified pilot instructor, is full of admiration for the A400M: “The aeroplane is superb. Just take Afghanistan for example: the number of people we were able to get into the back of the A400M compared to the Hercules and get them out of Kabul was incomparable.

“The performance of the aircraft compared to the Hercules – and I’ve flown Hercs for 20 years - you’re just not concerned about performance in a ‘hot and high’ situation with the A400M. And if you look at the operation we did to resupply fuel drums to the British Antarctic survey, in six days we accomplished what would previously have taken more than two weeks, simply because the A400M’s capacity and capability is so much better. It’s a fantastic aircraft and an absolute pleasure to fly.”

22 May, 2023

The Royal Air Force has taken delivery of the 22nd Atlas C1 (A400M) transport aircraft

The Royal Air Force has taken delivery of the 22nd Atlas C1 otherwise known as the A400M transport aircraft, completing the delivery development & production phase.

The four-engine turboprop aircraft touched down at its new home of RAF Brize Norton from Seville where the Atlas is assembled, including wings made in the United Kingdom.

Air Vice-Marshal Mark Flewin CBE, Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group said:  "Recent events in Sudan have illustrated once again the importance of tactical air mobility. Operating from an austere airfield Atlas helped evacuate over 2200 entitled personnel and fly them to safety.

The latest aircraft, therefore, joins a fleet which is already proven on operations and utilised globally in support of UK interests.” Atlas has a fly-by-wire flight control system and full glass cockpit. It can carry a 37-tonne payload over 2,000nm to both established and remote civilian and military airfields. Its exceptional short field performance enables it to operate from short un-prepared as well as semi-prepared strips, all achievable whilst utilising night vision goggles."

Development of the platform will continue with aircraft cycling through a retro-fit programme to reach an operating configuration with significant commonality to that of the other A400M operators France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Benelux and Malaysia. In parallel, its tactical capability will continue to expand, including the full range of support to UK airborne forces.

Defence Equipment and Support is responsible for delivering the Atlas fleet and team leader Nick Moore said:   "Being in a position to hand over the final aircraft to the RAF was a great honour and I have done so on behalf of the entire A400M team at DE&S who have worked tirelessly alongside our colleagues at Airbus, OCCAR and the RAF to deliver this outstanding aircraft.

All of us can be rightly proud of our role in ensuring the RAF can transport troops and equipment where needed, both in support of military operations and critical humanitarian missions."

12 December, 2022

Remote Carrier demonstrator released and operated from flying A400M for the first time

Remote Carrier demonstrator released and operated from flying A400M for the first time

Germany’s Bundeswehr, Airbus, the German Aerospace Center DLR, and German companies SFL and Geradts have jointly carried out the world’s first successful launch and operation of a Remote Carrier flight test demonstrator from a flying A400M. Multiplying the force and extending the range of unmanned systems will be one of the future roles of Airbus’ military transport aircraft in the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

“The excellent collaboration with our German customer and partners on the A400M UAV Launcher campaign is further evidence of how the development of FCAS will take innovation and technologies to the next level,” said Airbus Defence and Space CEO Michael Schoellhorn. “FCAS as a system of systems is starting to take shape now.” The device for launching Remote Carriers from a flying A400M was developed in just six months. For the test flight, it was loaded onto the ramp of a Bundeswehr A400M, from which the Remote Carrier demonstrator, a modified Airbus Do-DT25 drone, was launched. After the release, the Do-DT25’s engines were started and it continued in powered flight mode. The crew on board the A400M then handed over control to an operator on the ground, who safely commanded and landed the drone.
Remote Carriers will be an important component of FCAS. They will fly in close cooperation with manned aircraft and support pilots in their tasks and missions. Military transport aircraft such as the A400M will play an important role: as motherships, they will bring the Remote Carriers as close as possible to their areas of operation before releasing up to 50 small or up to 12 heavy Remote Carriers. These will then join manned aircraft, operating with a high degree of automation although always under a pilot’s control.

Getting the A400M UAV Launcher ready for testing

To get the A400M UAV Launcher ready for the test campaign, Airbus, the Bundeswehr Technical Centre for Aircraft and Aeronautical Equipment (WTD 61), DLR, SFL and Geradts applied new ways of working such as rapid prototyping and a joint flight testing approach. This enabled the multidisciplinary team to develop and integrate the system, bringing it into the needed systems-of-systems context in a very short time, ready for flight testing. Throughout the development, this flexible industrial setup and new collaborative ways of working were supported by the German procurement office, BAAINBw.

16 September, 2022

One step forward to a more sustainable military aviation......Airbus A400M first test flight with SAF

Airbus A400M first test flight with SAF
Photo Airbus

The A400M programme team with the Military Air Systems unit of the Defence and Space division has kicked off its test flight campaign with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) this summer. A first test flight using a load of 29% SAF in one of its engines proved successful; also in military aviation Airbus moves forward on its commitment to get cleaner skies.

A mixture of nerves and excitement was felt among the team members on the tarmac of Airbus´ San Pablo plant, in Seville, on an extremely hot day in July. Indeed, there was plenty to be excited about, as it was a day of `firsts´: the first test flight with SAF was finally happening with an Airbus A400M.

The MSN4 or ´Grizzly 4´, as it is known among the team, entered the runway with one of its engines, specifically engine number 2, with a blended load of 29% SAF. “For this first flight, we are using a type of SAF called HEFA (Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids) which is made of residuals of oils, vegetables and fats, and also free of aromatics and Sulphur, so it is very efficient and good for the engines”, explained Ana Belén Blanco, Technical Leader for SAF in A400M. “It is a drop-in fuel, so there is no need to modify the engines´ systems and there are no technical limitations”, she said. For this first test flight, the use of SAF was limited to one engine to better analyze the fuel system´s behavior feeding a single engine.

Airbus A400M first test flight with SAF
Photo Airbus
The flight, which took off from the San Pablo plant runway in Seville, headed towards the North of Huelva and then landed back safely in Seville, making a trip of more than an hour in total. The satisfaction of the crew was already evident on their faces while they disembarked the aircraft, ready to share the outcome. “During the flight, we performed a close comparison between engine number 2, the one using SAF, and the other 3 engines using standard fuel Jet A1, so we had a very good opportunity to compare the performance of the different fuels”, said César González, Flight Test Engineer at Airbus Defence and Space. “The results we got confirmed that using this blended SAF does not affect engines or aircraft performance, so the A400M can receive the whole potential of it in terms of environmental benefit”, González added.

SAF is a proven alternative fuel that can reduce life cycle CO2 emissions by up to 85% compared to conventional fuel. This first flight of an A400M using SAF demonstrated that both the aircraft and its TP400-D6 engines, not tested before with SAF, are aligned with these new fuel requirements with a blend of 50% certified SAF for a more sustainable military aviation.

Airbus and EuroProp International, which is responsible for TP400-D6 turboprop’s engine design, development, manufacturing and support, have agreed to establish the roadmap towards 100% SAF certification together, making this first flight a step forward towards this goal.

26 July, 2022

Airbus successfully tests firefighting kit on A400M

Airbus successfully tests firefighting kit on A400M

Airbus has successfully tested a removable firefighting demonstrator kit on the A400M new generation airlifter during a flight test campaign in Spain.

The test campaign took place in daylight conditions with a minimum operating height of 150ft, flight speeds as low as 125 knots and drops involving up to 20 tonnes of water from the current tank in less than 10 seconds. The main objective of the campaign is to validate the drop water quantity and time as well as the ability of the A400M to carry out this new role with the kit.

The development of this prototype and the tests have been carried out in close collaboration with the 43rd Group of the Spanish Air Force, as well as European authorities in Firefighting operations and the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO).

“The development of this firefighting kit is an intrinsic part of our journey towards helping to create a more sustainable and safer world, not only by our actions but also through our products. We strongly believe the A400M can play a vital role in the fight against the ever-increasing threat posed by wildfires and support the restoration of social and environmental systems,” said Mike Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.

22 June, 2022

Airbus supports German Air Force transformation to sustainable aviation fuel for A400M

Mike Schoellhorn, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Defence and Space, handing over a bottle of water to Lt.Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, Chief of the German Air Force Photo  Max Leitmeier - Schwarzbild.

Airbus is supporting the German Air Force in their long-term transformation to increase sustainability of its aircraft fleet. Airbus is working with the German Air Force towards providing the Luftwaffe with a technical allowance to commence national A400M flight trials with loads of up to 50 percent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in the near-term. SAF is a proven alternative fuel that can reduce life cycle CO2 emissions by up to 85 percent compared to conventional fuel.

By that, Germany, which has a total of 53 units on order, is becoming the first customer nation to launch a gradual transformation to SAF for their operational A400M fleet.

“The Luftwaffe’s objective is to launch a transformation towards sustainability of their fleet. Their mission is ours. We are gladly supporting these important efforts, not only for the A400M but their entire fleet of Airbus aircraft, ranging from VIP transport to fighter jets,” said Mike Schoellhorn, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Defence and Space.

“Moving towards a more sustainable future is the fundamental duty of everybody. Switching from petroleum-based kerosene to sustainable fuels plays a big part in aviation’s efforts to cut CO2 emissions. Our government aircraft are already cleared for SAF. Working closely with the industry we are eager to finally certify the A400M as well. Looking into the future we are supporting all activities to introduce SAF for our entire fleet including fast jet aircraft”, said Lt.Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, Chief of the German Air Force.

18 November, 2021

Indonesia Ministry of Defence orders two Airbus A400Ms

The Indonesia Ministry of Defence has placed an order for two Airbus A400M aircraft in multirole tanker and transport configuration.

The contract, which will become effective in 2022, will bring the total number of A400M operators to ten nations. The agreement includes a complete maintenance and training support package. A Letter of Intent was also signed for the future acquisition of four additional A400M aircraft.

”This new order will further expand the A400M footprint in the Asia-Pacific region. The A400M offers outstanding capabilities to Indonesia, providing its air force with the perfect platform to deliver large and heavy loads into remote areas and multiplying its airpower projection thanks to reliable aerial refuelling capabilities,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.

Capable of operating from rough and short runways, the A400M will strengthen the Indonesian Air Force’s airlift capabilities to rapidly respond to any crisis, demonstrated in the aftermath of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck the country in 2018. The A400M was the first large airlifter able to deliver heavy loads like fuel trucks and excavators as well as food, clothes and medical supplies using a damaged and short runway in Palu (Central Sulawesi, Indonesia).

01 September, 2021

The Republic of Kazakhstan orders two Airbus A400Ms

The Republic of Kazakhstan has placed an order for two Airbus A400M aircraft and becomes the ninth operator together with Germany, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Malaysia and Luxembourg.

With the delivery of the first aircraft scheduled in 2024, the contract includes a complete suite of maintenance and training support. Together with the agreement a Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed to collaborate on Maintenance and Overhaul services and with a first step of creating a local C295 maintenance centre.

”The A400M will become the cornerstone of Kazakhstan’s tactical and strategic airlifting operations,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “This new export contract brings the total number of A400M orders to 176 aircraft, a figure that we expect to increase in the near future. With more than 100 aircraft delivered and 100,000 flight hours in operation, the A400M has proven its capabilities, reaching a state of maturity that many potential customers were waiting for.”

With the capacity to accommodate the country’s inventory and conduct military, civil and humanitarian missions, the A400M will enable Kazakhstan to quickly respond to any mission by rapidly deploying game-changing capabilities over long distances and enabling effective access to remote areas.

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27 May, 2021

Airbus delivers the 100th A400M to Spanish Air Force

Airbus has reached 100 A400M deliveries with MSN111, the tenth A400M for the Spanish Air Force. The aircraft performed its ferry flight on 24th May from Seville to Zaragoza, where the Spanish A400M fleet is based.

In the same week, the A400M global fleet also achieved the 100,000 flight-hours landmark performing missions worldwide for all eight customer nations.

All A400M operators have been able to operate the aircraft intensively for Covid-19 emergency response missions, as well as conduct joint, collaborative operations.

These milestones clearly demonstrate the maturity of the A400M programme on all fronts.

19 April, 2021

Airbus A400M conducts major helicopter refuelling certification campaign

Photo Airbus

The Airbus A400M new generation airlifter has successfully conducted a major helicopter air-to-air refuelling certification campaign, completing the majority of its development and certification objectives. Airbus Defence and Space aims to achieve full helicopter air-to-air refuelling certification later this year with the conclusion of all mandatory night operation trials. 

The flight tests, performed in coordination with the French Armament General Directorate (DGA), involved operations with two French Air Force H225M helicopters.
The campaign took place in day and night conditions over the west coast of France at between 1,000 ft and 10,000 ft and flight speeds as low as 105 knots. During those flights, a total of 81 wet contacts and transfers of 6.5 tonnes of fuel were achieved, which included simultaneous refuelling of two helicopters for the first time. The tests confirmed the positive results of the dry and wet contact operations conducted in 2019 and 2020.
Helicopter air-to-air refuelling is a unique military capability and key for Special Forces operations, involving aircraft with different flight profiles and sharing a very limited common flight envelope, requiring close formation flying patterns at low altitudes and night time conditions.
Photo Airbus

24 March, 2021

Royal Air Force plans more F35 aircraft as part of Integrated Review

The UK's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has described the plans for the UK's Royal Air Force during his announcement of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy. The review sees an increase in the F35 fleet size as well as retiring older types of aircraft such as the old, yet reliable C130 Hercules and E3D Sentry early warning plane. 

Wallace said of the Royal Air Force:

    "Royal Air Force is now deploying world-leading capabilities, P8, Rivet Joint, A400M and the latest Typhoons. The F35 – the world’s most capable combat aircraft – is now being deployed to frontline squadrons. In recognition of its battle-winning capabilities, we will commit to growing the fleet beyond 48 aircraft.

    the E3D Sentry, two generations behind its contemporaries, will be replaced by a more capable fleet of three E7 Wedgetail in 2023. These will be based at RAF Lossiemouth, transforming the UK Airborne Early Warning and Control capabilities, as well as contributing to NATO.

    as the transport fleet improves availability we will retire the C130-J Hercules in 2023, after 24 years of service. Twenty-two A400Ms, alongside the C17s, will provide a more capable and flexible transport fleet.

22 February, 2021

RAF transport Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic Ocean

Earlier lasto week, a LXX Squadron (70 Squadron) RAF A400M aircraft transported doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine to Ascension Island – a UK Overseas Territories in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Due to its remote location and small population of just over 800 contractors and military personnel, it will become the first island to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

    “The role of the RAF is multipurpose. From the moment that the vaccines arrive at the front gate of RAF Brize Norton, the Brize Norton machine kicks into gear.

    The RAF is well placed to deliver and manage this vaccine delivery, and we’re extremely proud to be a part of providing this support to our Overseas Territories.” Said  Wing Commander Lee Roberts
    Officer Commanding 70 Squadron

Upon departing RAF Brize Norton, the vaccine must only be out refrigeration for a maximum of 72 hours, before entering refrigeration in Ascension Island again and must be stored at between 2-8°C. After a quick refuelling stop on route, the crew delivered the precious cargo into the safe hands of RAF movers on the ground, which later was given to the Ascension Island Government to begin distribution.

    “This delivery was extremely important because the RAF can get out to remote locations that commercial aircraft can not necessarily access. Places like Ascension Island are notoriously difficult to get to, the RAF bridge the gap and try and help where we can.”  said  Flying Officer George Cox
    Officer Commanding Cargo, RAF Brize Norton

Delivered on behalf of the FCDO, the delivery reaffirms the UK Government’s commitment to supporting its Overseas Territories.

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23 December, 2020

Airbus delivers the first A400M to the Belgian Air Force

The Belgian Air Force has taken delivery of its first of seven Airbus A400M military transport aircraft. The aircraft was handed over to the customer at the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville (Spain) and subsequently performed its ferry flight to the 15th Wing Air Transport in Melsbroek (Belgium), where the aircraft will be based.
This A400M, known as MSN106, will be operated within a binational unit composed of a total of eight aircraft, seven from the Belgian Air Force and one from the Luxembourg Armed Forces.
The second A400M for Belgium will be delivered in early 2021.
Alberto Gutierrez, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space, said: “With the delivery of this aircraft all launch customers are now equipped with the A400M. MSN106 will join Luxemburg’s aircraft in the binational unit operated jointly with Belgium. Despite challenges due to Covid-19, our teams have achieved all 10 aircraft deliveries scheduled this year, bringing the global fleet in operation to 98 aircraft.”

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02 November, 2020

British military Joint Helicopter Command sustain airpower operation in Mali

The British military Tri-Service Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) is leading the UK’s support to the French Counter Insurgency Operations in West Africa by conducting heavy lift helicopter operations.

The deployment of Royal Air Force CH 47 Chinooks began in 2018 and it has been JHC that has sustained this operation for two years now by providing the enabling personnel, together with the planning needed to ensure the operations continue.

JHC planners have recently led the work to ensure that equipment, including a Chinook could be rotated to allow long term maintenance. The complicated planning ensured a RAF C-17 Globemaster from RAF Brize Norton based 99 Squadron to be able to conduct the changeover of Chinook air frames successfully.

JHC personnel are also deployed in Mali at Gao Air base, to support 1310 Flight which is currently from C Flight 18 (B) Squadron RAF and their supporting ground crew. One of the JHC units that is supporting the operation is the Tactical Supply Wing (TSW).