Four of the aircraft are now operating from RAF Brize Norton while three others are currently being fitted with UK systems required to operate in hostile environments.

The programme is worth £2.75 billion and is on track to meet the UK’s future air mobility requirements. Prior to a pause in flying in May, the first two A400M Atlas to be delivered to the RAF completed over 405 flying hours, with the first carrying out its first operational mission to Cyprus in March.

Airbus recently won a £3.3 million contract to equip Royal Air Force A400M transport aircraft with an important data security system.

Defence Minister Philip Dunne said:

“This significant milestone marks an important achievement for all those who have been involved in the UK’s A400M Atlas programme, from the MOD and the RAF through to our industry partners.

Those flying the aircraft are hugely impressed with its capability, and with a protected Defence budget and our investment of £160 billion in equipment, we look forward to growing the UK A400M Force over the coming months.”

The MOD’s Chief of Materiel (Air), Air Marshal Simon Bollom said:

“The achievement of the A400M In Service Date is a key milestone for the Royal Air Force and is testament to the outstanding work of the DE&S Project Team working closely with the RAF and industry. The fleet now has the core capabilities required to train the instructors and crews, and to undertake logistics missions.

As the fleet continues to build, more advanced military capabilities will be introduced as planned over the coming months including aerial delivery of stores, parachuting and advanced self-protection capabilities.”

The A400M’s maiden flight took place on 11 December 2009 from Seville, Spain. Between 2009 and 2010, the A400M faced cancellation as a result of development program delays and cost overruns; however, the customer nations chose to maintain their support of the project. A total of 174 A400M aircraft have been ordered by eight nations.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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