The Airbus A400M airlifter has achieved a new milestone after the certification of its Automatic Low Level Flight capability, offering a unique in its class capability for a military transport aircraft.
According to Airbus, the certification campaign, performed in April above the Pyrenees and central France, involved operations down to 500ft, including transitions from low level flight to other operations like aerial delivery.
“This first certification phase concerns operations with Visual Meteorological Conditions, meaning with crew visibility. There will be a second phase including Instrumental Meteorological Conditions, without visibility, to be certified in Q2 2021. Inherent to the fighter aircraft world, and as a unique capability for a military transport aircraft, the Automatic Low Level Flights improves the A400M’s terrain masking and survivability, making the aircraft less detectable in hostile areas and less susceptible to threats when cruising towards key military operations like aerial delivery, air-to-air refuelling, logistic or other specific special operations.”
Airbus #A400M achieves Automatic Low Level Flight certification ✅ offering a unique in its class capability for a military transport aircraft.#WeMakeItFly
? https://t.co/m8qQOuBmp5 pic.twitter.com/IMGoXeysVt
— Airbus Defence (@AirbusDefence) May 26, 2020
The A400M was launched in May 2003 to respond to the combined needs of seven European Nations regrouped within OCCAR (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Spain, Turkey and the UK), with Malaysia joining in 2005. Assembly takes place in Spain; the wings (largely designed with composite materials) are manufactured in the UK, while the fuselage is built in Germany.
The A400M made its first flight on the 11th of December 2009. The first production aircraft was delivered to the French Air Force in August 2013 and entered into service a year after.