An Atlas A400M transport aircraft arrived in the Falkland Islands last week to take over as tactical airlift, maritime reconnaissance, search and rescue and humanitarian assistance responsibilities from the locally based C-130 Hercules.
A spokesperson said:
“The C130 has been a valuable asset to the Falklands, as demonstrated by her recent humanitarian role in the multi-national search effort for the missing Argentine submarine ARA San Juan in 2017.”
The A400M ‘Atlas’ has a cargo capacity of 32 tonnes and IS capable of carrying passengers, heavy vehicles, helicopters or cargo pallets.
The aircraft is a multi-national military transport aircraft. It was designed by Airbus Military (now 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 A400M 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 A400M can perform aerial refuelling and medical evacuation when fitted with appropriate equipment.
The A400M’s maiden flight, originally planned for 2008, took place on 11 December 2009 from Seville, Spain. Between 2009 and 2010, the aircraft faced cancellation as a result of development program delays and cost overruns; however, the customer nations chose to maintain their support of the project.