Tag Archives: Atlas

Malaysian A400M Atlas fleet in duet

If only airplanes could sing, then the Royal Malaysian Air Force A400M Atlas fleet could now make a nice duet. The second of four ordered Airbus tactical airlifters was officially inaugurated into service at RMAF Base Subang on 13 January 2015 (check images of the ceremony here).

RELATED: Overview Air Forces of Malaysia

The aircraft departed the A400M production plant in Seville (Sevilla), Spain, on 27 December 2015 at 10:00 local time. It landed at Suban on 29 December 2015. The aircraft was transferred home by a Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia (or Royal Malaysian Air Force) crew of four pilots and four loadmasters.

RMAF 2 Squadron and 20 Squadron

The airlifters join the RMAF’s centrally located air force unit 2 Squadron focusing on VIP flights only with the Fokker F28-1000, the Dassault Falcon 900, the Bombardier Global Express 700, the Boeing 737-700 BBJ and the Airbus A319CJ; and 20 Squadron flying the C-130 Hercules at Subang (aka Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah) where also some smaller transport aircraft are located.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The Royal Malaysian Air Force’s first A400M arrived in March 2015 (Image © Airbus Defence and Space)

Delivery surge ends dramatic year for Airbus A400M

Airbus delivered a significant number of A400M military transport aircraft to costumers in December, bringing to an end a year marked by the fatal crash of an A400M in Seville on 9 May. The program seems to have overcome the tragedy however.

In December, Germany received both its second and third A400M, while France took delivery of its eight aircraft. Also, Turkey and Malaysia got their hands on their third and second aircraft respectively. The latter was handed over to the Royal Malaysian Air Force in Seville on Wednesday 23 December and will head East soon.


The crash in May – caused by engine-related software issues – brought delays in deliveries, but Airbus was quick to pick up the pace. Following the crash, test and developments flights were halted. Flights restarted in June, in time for the A400M to participate in the Paris Air Show. It gave Airbus the opportunity to show its faith in a program that is plagued by criticism from the Germans in particular.

Royal Air Force

The year 2015 saw four deliveries to the Royal Air Force (RAF), who declared the A400M Atlas C1 ‘ready for worldwide tasks’ last September. Meanwhile, Airbus reports it is making progress in assembling the first aircraft for Spain.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): The third Turkish A400M in Seville. (Image © Paweł Bondaryk)

Grounded after crash, Turkish A400M hopes for January

The Turkish Air Force hopes to restart flight operations with its Airbus A400M Atlas tactical airlifters in January 2016. Not with the first two aircraft delivered, but with no. 3 only.

The third Atlas was handed over to the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (THK) at the end of last week. The Turkish mechanics and experts are now going through loads of additional acceptance checks to assure it is ready to be officially fielded after the new year started.

Turkish A400M crash

Quick calculators may wonder: what happened with the first two THK airlifters. Well, they were grounded following the crash of what was already supposed to be the third Turkish A400M on 9 May 2015. Deemed unreliable the first two Turkish Atlas’s have been sent back to Spain for retrofitting and software updates.

Atlas expected

Turkey has 10 A400Ms on ordered. The final Atlas is expected in 2018, but the program already ran into lengthy delays even before the 2014 A400M crash in Sevilla (Seville).

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The third Turkish A400M in Seville in the end of October 2015. Special thanks to Paweł Bondaryk for making this photo available to us (Image © Paweł Bondaryk)

RAF A400M Atlas fleet ready for service

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)

German Defence Minister shoots at Airbus in anger

Germany becomes more and more worried about its airlift capacity. With the transfer from the aging Transall C.160 to the new Airbus A400M going far from good, German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen now aims – more angry than before – her sights at the European aircraft manufacturer.

“Airbus has a serious problem with its understanding of product quality,” Mrs. Van der Leyen told prominent German weekly magazine Der Spiegel this weekend. “That Airbus announced there might be even more delivery delays hits us at a most inconvenient time.”

Germany has ordered 53 Airbus A400M, to be the core of its military airlift capacity. Only one has been delivered so far and German Air Force officials are said not to be happy with the quality of the product, which seems less than advertised or at least not meeting expectations. Key are problems in Airbus’s production of the plane, which does not seem to guarantee that the A400Ms live up to the specs. A similar problem has occurred with the Eurofighter EF2000, the meant-to-be core of the German Air Force combat fleet, in which Airbus is the major share holder (46%). Germany is even considering selling 13 A400Ms to level off the force to 40 due to financial constrains.

The German doubts over the A400M are not new, as Airheadsfly.com reported in November.

The only country so far with a credible A400M force is France, where a “lite” squadron of six aircraft has become operational since first delivery in 2013, with another 44 on order. The Royal Air Force has one of 22 aircraft and the Turkish Air Force two out of 10 ordered. The Royal Malaysian Air Force first of four aircraft has just been painted.

Like Germany Spain is considering reselling its ordered A400Ms. With none delivered so far plans call to only hold 14 of the 27 tactical airlifters on strength, but the first might come as late as 2017. Belgium (7) and Luxembourg (1) might not get their A400Ms before the end of this decade.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

↑ Check out our continuous coverage of the Airbus A400M

The star of current German airlift operations, the C-160 Transall, scores a 50% availiability rate (Image © Marcel Burger)
The star of current German airlift operations, the C-160 Transall, scores a 50% availiability rate (Image © Marcel Burger)
Take-off of the first Luftwaffe A400M from Seville, Spain, on 14 October 2014 (Image © Airbus Defence & Space)
Take-off of the first Luftwaffe A400M from Seville, Spain, on 14 October 2014 (Image © Airbus Defence & Space)