Airbus has reached 100 A400M deliveries with aircraft MSN111, the tenth A400M for the Spanish Air Force.

The aircraft performed its ferry flight on 24th May from Seville to Zaragoza, where the Spanish A400M fleet is based.

In the same week, the A400M global fleet also achieved the 100,000 flight-hours landmark performing missions worldwide for all eight customer nations.

Airbus say that all A400M operators have been able to operate the aircraft intensively for Covid-19 emergency response missions, as well as conduct joint, collaborative operations.

An A400M Atlas.

New capabilities

Recently, say Airbus here, the A400M successfully conducted a major helicopter air-to-air refuelling certification flight test campaign in coordination with the DGA (French Directorate General of Armaments), completing the majority of its certification objectives, including the first simultaneous refueling of two helicopters.

“The A400M is already able to drop up to 116 paratroopers, via simultaneous dispatch from the side doors with automatic parachute opening, or from the ramp with automatic parachute opening or in freefall, day and night. Recent tests were completed in Spain, in collaboration with the Royal Air Force parachute test team, to expand up to 25,000 feet (7,600 metres) for automatic parachute opening – and up to 38,000ft (11,582 metres) for free fall.”

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Andrew D
Andrew D
29 days ago

Are maintained problems sorted out within the RAF yet ?

Nic
Nic
29 days ago

Have the RAF fleet of A400s been problem free to date .

LordSpam
LordSpam
28 days ago
Reply to  Nic

No, about a third of the fleet are parked up missing engines to keep the rest going. Quite often they will start up to find an electrical problem so the task gets delayed.

As a passenger they are not great. The heater isn’t up the job so has to be set at full blast so everyone at the front is stripped down to T-shirts and all at the back are in woolly hats (30 degrees to 5 degrees). Vibration is terrible if you’re sat anywhere near the props.

Ron
Ron
29 days ago

It would be nice to see some more of these aircraft in the RAF, possibly with containerised command and control ability or air to air refueling at the tactical level. Who knows possibly even a UAV mother control aircraft. Even if we only got one for every two C-130s that are being scrapped would be useful.

John Clark
John Clark
28 days ago
Reply to  Ron

I would have to agree Ron, an additional 8 machines would replace the 13 lost C130J’s in capacity terms.

They still have some way to go to unlock all the types capability. The complexity of the coding requires a very slow and careful trials programme.

James Fennell
James Fennell
23 days ago
Reply to  Ron

A lease through AirTanker should be a possible low cost mechanism – I believe Germany and France don’t want to fulfill their entire orders. Helicopter tanker capability for MH-47 and Merlin HC4 would be stellar in addtion to more tactical lift capacity.

captain p wash
captain p wash
28 days ago

From a shear amateur Plane Spotters point of view….. I love the whole package be it the grace and Majesty ….. or the sound…… ( Think of 4 Tucano’s , perfectly sync’d ) The fact that they are a massive capability advance over the Herc’s is even better but….. Let’s just have a few more to make up the lost numbers…..

Last edited 28 days ago by captain p wash
klonkie
klonkie
28 days ago
Reply to  captain p wash

sorry captain – you haven’t lived until you’ve witnessed a flypast of dc3’s!

John Clark
John Clark
28 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

Even better, fly in a C47, a wonderful experience …. Robbed from us by the EU fun police.

Klonkie
Klonkie
27 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

absolutely, I had some great flights whilst in my air force years

David
David
25 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Really? The Dutch still seem t0 manage it…..

David
David
25 days ago
Reply to  David

Here’s the link. Think you will have to blame someone other than the EU for this one!
https://www.dutchdakota.nl/en/book-flight/

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
28 days ago

Sure the aircraft has had its problems and its gone overbudget but its a great all around platform that works. It could always have turned out like the KC-46A, Boeing will take more in losses on the KC-X contract than the value of the contract itself! (As of last year they had already booked $4.6bn of losses on the $4.9bn fixed price development contract and its problems havent been resolved yet). Rumour is Boeing have signed an agreement with Airbus to jointly bid the A330 MRTT for the follow up KC-Y contract.

John Clark
John Clark
28 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

I find that hard to swallow, the US Air force will never be allowed to go Airbus, despite how capable the A330 tanker is, the buy US lobby would go ballistic …. Again!

I’m sure the USAF would welcome the type, with its huge fuel off-load and excellent secondary haulage capability … Like most front line operators the world over, they really don’t give a toss who makes the kit, they just want equipment that works and delivered when needed.

Sonik
Sonik
28 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Agreed, USAF clearly preferred MRTT but KC46 was forced upon them on the basis of a bunch of very spurious ‘requirements’. We now see the result with a platform that’s not even able to perform the basic job it’s intended for. Even if the technical issues with KC46 are resolved, it will always be an inferior solution.

MikeB1947
MikeB1947
26 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Elsewhere, the story is that EADS/Airbus has joined with Northrop Grumman, in competition with Boeing who are offering the 777.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
26 days ago
Reply to  MikeB1947

EADS did team with Northrop for the 2008 and 2011 competitions for the contract. Boeing did initially propose the 777 in 2006 as the KC-777 but reduced it to the 767 by 2008 because the realised it was too large for the USAF specifications.

MikeB1947
MikeB1947
26 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

I feel that Boeing will obviously want to win the KC-Y contract for their own aircraft (yes, possibly the 767) and therefore, they are not going to join with Airbus to promote a rival aircraft.