Paratroopers from the French Air Force recently completed a series of parachute jumps from an A400M to validate the aircraft’s paratrooper delivery capability.
The Airbus A400M Atlas is a multi-national transport aircraft. It was designed by Airbus Defence and Space as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities to replace older transport aircraft, such as the Transall C-160 and the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
The aircraft is positioned, in terms of size, between the C-130 and the C-17; it can carry heavier loads than the C-130, while able to use rough landing strips. Along with the transport role, the aircraft can perform aerial refuelling and medical evacuation when fitted with appropriate equipment.
During the trial, 30 paratroopers jumped in a row from a lateral door in the clear sky above the Pyrénées. 15 flights in total were performed.
The transport features deployable baffles in front of the rear side doors, intended to give paratroops time to get clear of the aircraft before they are hit by the slipstream.
Airbus Defence and Space is conducting intensive paratrooping trials of the A400M new generation airlifter. Certification of this capability is expected imminently.
Continuing trials will move stepwise to 40 paratroopers and beyond as the capability is demonstrated in flight-test.
The aircraft reportedly has a capacity of 116 fully equipped troops / paratroopers.