It’s a big day for Airbus and the Armée de l’Air, as the very first A400M transport aircraft was officially handed over today to the Armée de l’Air in Seville, Spain. It’s the first A400M in service worldwide, which unofficially already flew with the French Air Force since the beginning of August this year. Years of rigorous testing preceded the delivery, following the first flight on 11 December 2009.
France has ordered 50 A400M aircraft and will be one of the largest operators of the type. Other customers are Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium and Turkey. Currently more than 170 A400Ms are on order. Next up for taking delivery of an A400M is Turkey.
The A400M is seen as a primary replacement for older C-130 Hercules types and C-160 Transalls. The new transporter is powered by four Europrop TP400-D6 engines and has a range of 3298 km at the max take off weight of 141,000kg.
The aircraft goes by the name of Grizzly, but is known by the French Air Force as ‘Atlas’. The aircraft involved has already been flying from Orléans-Bricy airbase for some weeks now.
© 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest