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A Royal Air Force A-400M crew worked with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team along with 62nd Airlift Wing to load a Stryker combat vehicle onto the aircraft.

The training was held to create technical orders for loading the aircraft in preparation for the upcoming Mobility Guardian exercise this summer.

2nd Lt. Cameron Nardini, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st SBCT operations officer said:

“This allowed our Soldiers to practice getting the Stryker’s on and off the aircraft. I think it was good to learn how the RAF does things and makes us better prepared for when we work with each other in Mobility Guardian.

I can’t speak for our whole unit, but personally I think this was a good learning experience going into Mobility Guardian. It is going to be a really good logistical exercise to see how fast we can load onto the aircraft and deploy.

I will say this was a great experience to work with the British and work with our Air Force counterparts. Being able to work with military members from another country and to learn how they operate as an Air Force was really beneficial.”

Because the A-400M is an aircraft that American soldiers here have not trained with before, there were numerous aspects of the aircraft they had to learn about.

RAF Flight Sergeant Andrew Richardson, A-400M loadmaster said:

“The main concern is that this is loaded correctly into the aircraft. There are many safety factors we want to cover. This was good to foster our relationship and to get past the nuances of our culture. We were able to learn what each other expected and what needs to be accomplished.”

The Stryker vehicle loaded weighed more than 26 tons and there was minimal room for error.

Besides technical challenges, soldiers and RAF crew worked to become familiar with each other’s procedures and jargon.

A rare sight at Joint Base Lewis–McChord the loading of the Stryker onto the A-400M was observed by Team McChord leadership and distinguished visitors including Army Gen. (retired) Peter Chiarelli, former vice chief of staff of the Army.

4 COMMENTS

    • Yup. It was a difficult road to get here but the A400M is looking great.

      As with so much other kit that the UK military has though, we should have more of these great planes. Same story as Astute, F-35, T-26, P-8, Merlin and the list goes on.

  1. Too true Julian, some fantastic kit researched, developed and bought at very high cost but just not enough of it or the personnel to man it.
    I hope sometime soon, that the general public will wake up to the perilous state of the UK armed forces and defence capability, rather than budget, will become an election issue.
    Only when there is enough public outcry will the mandarins and politicians in Whitehall get real and give proper focus and due care and attention to the UK armed forces.

  2. I am sure this was a re-run of an exercise at Fort Bliss in 2015. Basically back then it was to show the A400M could load whatever a C-130 could, certify Stryker in a the A400M and did so using standard Stryker vehicles.

    Interesting aside was that the Stryker’s original design was compromised by the need to load into a C-130 which led to later criticism in the US Army. Then lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan added side protection systems which then made it impossible to load into a C-130!

    This latest test and certification shows a fully kitted Stryker can be loaded into an A400M. I am sure Airbus will be using this as a convenient marketing tool to the US Army and USAF. Not that the Boeing funded US Senators will, once again, let them win any orders of course….

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