Tag Archives: A400M

First ‘war mission’ for A400M Atlas, in Op Serval

The first A400M in service worldwide. This is the F-RBAA, its sister F-RBAB flew the first 'war mission' (Image © EADS)
The first A400M in service worldwide. This is the F-RBAA, its sister F-RBAB flew the first ‘war mission’ (Image © EADS)

The new Airbus A400M flew its first operational mission on Sunday 29 December 2013, when the Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) F-RBAB flew to Bamako-Senou airport in Mali.

After taking off from its home BA123 Orleans-Bricy at 10:30, the A400M made ​​a flight of 6 hour and 40 minutes (click for flightdeck image), carrying 22 tons of materiel for the French operation Serval (Mali and Chad). “We have carefully planned the flight, in order to overcome all eventualities”, said Lt. Col. Creuset, head of the mission to an AdlA reporter. “In particular, we have trained on the Full Flight Simulator, commissioned a few weeks ago at the A400M Training Centre at Orleans-Bricy.”

Since 2 August 2013, the delivery date of the first Atlas to the l’Armée de l’Air, the crew of the Multinational Entry into Service Team (MEST) at Orleans-Bricy airbase have made test and training flights. Currently, two A400M Atlas’s are attached to the MEST. They officially have initial operational capability (IOC) only, a military term for the active ‘try-out’ till full operational capability (FOC) is declared. For the AdlA’s first pair of Atlas’s FOC is expected in late 2014.

The A400M Atlas is meant to replace the current larger tactical freighters of the Armée de l’Air, comprising of the C.160 Transall and the C-130 Hercules. The large cargo haul of the A400M can accommodate the max load of 22 tons as seen here on the first operational mission, against only 6 tonnes for a Transall. Other cargo loads for the Atlas could be 2 Tigre attack helicopters, or 3 armoured vehicles (VAB), or 116 paratroopers, or 66 beds for a medevac mission.

The Ecole de l'aviation légère de l'armée de terre is where future pilots learn to fly the EC665 Tigre attack helicopter, among others. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Although not the cargo of the first operational mission, the A400M can transport two of these Eurocopter Tigre helicopters – into battle if necessary (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Source: Armée de l’Air with additional reporting by AIRheads’ Dennis Spronk

Final flight for Grizzly 1

The first-of-its-kind Airbus A400M and its crew after the final flight. (Image © Airbus S.A.S.)
The first-of-its-kind Airbus A400M and its crew after the final flight. (Image © Airbus S.A.S.)

Nearly four years after its maiden flight, the first Airbus Military A400M new generation airlifter has been retired and is to be placed on public display, according to an Airbus announcement released on 27 November 2013. Development aircraft MSN1 – affectionately known as Grizzly 1 – flew its final flight from Toulouse on 4 November, manned by exactly the same crew that first took it airborne from Seville on 11 December 2009.

In addition, MSN3 has been placed in long-term storage in flyable condition. It is not intended to fly again but could be returned to flight-test duties if required.

The first three aircraft were produced for the core certification programme, requiring extensive test instrumentation for measuring and recording aircraft and systems performance. As that activity winds down, only one of those aircraft – MSN2 – which is fitted with the optimum instrumentation for the remaining work, is now required.

In addition, MSN4 and MSN6 (Grizzly 4 and 5 respectively) will continue to support the flight test activities, now concentrated on the further development of military capabilities, with their specific flight test instrumentation.

MSN1 ultimately flew for 1,448hr 25min in 475 flights and its final mission was a one hour sortie to validate procedures for landing with the ramp and door failed in the open position.

Discussions on its final display site are underway, led by the Airbus Heritage Department, and will lead to a decision next year. The future of the rest of the Grizzly fleet will be decided in due course.

After the flight, Chief Test Pilot Military, Ed Strongman, who commanded the first and last flights, said: “MSN1 has had a relatively short but very arduous life, and it has taken us to the extreme parts of the flight envelope where, I hope, most other A400Ms will not go.”

Source: Airbus

Big day for A400M

The first A400M in service worldwide.  (Image © EADS)
The first A400M in service worldwide. (Image © EADS)

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

Turkish A400M makes first flight

First flight of the first Turkish Air Force A400M from Seville, Spain (Image © Airbus Military)
First flight of the first Turkish Air Force A400M from Seville, Spain (Image © Airbus Military)

The first production Airbus Military A400M new generation airlifter for the Turkish Air Force (Türk Hava Kuvvetleri; TAF) has made its maiden flight on August 9, 2013. The aircraft, known as MSN9, took off from Seville, Spain, at 13:56 local time and landed back in Seville 5 hours and 30 minutes later.

The A400M programme for the TAF is also making good progress at the Airbus Military International Training Centre at Seville, where Turkish pilots, loadmasters, and maintenance technicians have already begun their training. Turkey has ordered 10 A400M tactical transport aircraft.

Source: Airbus Military

Check out the Turkish Air Force Orbat at Scramble.nl

First A400M enters military service

The first French Air Force A400M Atlas accompanied by the Patrouille de France (Image F. Lancelot / EM company © Airbus)
The first French Air Force A400M Atlas accompanied by the Patrouille de France (Image F. Lancelot / EM company © Airbus)
The French Air Force received its first production model A400M ‘Atlas’ on August 2, 2013. The tactical transport aircraft with serial MSN7 joined 123 Orleans Bricy Airbase.

But not before it did some real nice model work for ground and aerial photography, as displayed here at the l’Armée de l’Air’s webpage.

The delivery of the first production A400M to the French Air Force marks also the commissioning of the type in active military service worldwide.

Source: Airbus / l’Armée de l’Air