The Royal Air Force (RAF) Airbus A400M fleet is ready for worldwide tasks, the UK Ministry of Defence announced on Tuesday 15 September. This In-Service Date (ISD) marks a milestone for the A400M, the prestigious Airbus transport aircraft that seemed in trouble only four months ago.
Four RAF A400M Atlas aircraft now operate from Brize Norton airbase near Oxford, with a further three now undergoing final work before being ready for service. Together, these aircraft are now ready for operations anywhere.
“Those flying the aircraft are gugely impressed with its capability”, UK Defence Minister Philip Dunne stated. That’s a major boost for the program, that suffered a distaster in May with the fatal crash of an A400M during a test flight in Seville, Spain.
The British enthusiasm contrasts with German reservation. Germany received its first A400M last year and since reported a lot of faults and delays with the introduction into service. The Germans still operate only one aircraft.
In the UK, a total of 22 A400M Atlas aircraft are to replace Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transporters at a cost of 160 billion GBP.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): An Atlas spreads its wings during a test flight. (Image © UK Ministry of Defence)