The transport aircraft was being used as part of a training exercise which saw crews practising beach and rough strip landings, an RAF spokesman confirmed.
The Atlas C.1 (A400M) entered operational service with the Royal Air Force in 2014 and provides airlift capabilities, it has recently been used extensively to help evacuate Kabul.
A Royal Air Force A400M practicing night circuits on the beach at Pembrey Sands last night. pic.twitter.com/IYvYGW9xDJ
— George Allison (@geoallison) August 18, 2021
The Royal Air Force say that beaches are routinely used by the RAF for training operations with other tactical airlifters.
“The versatility of the A400M Atlas means it has the capability to land on a wide variety of surfaces including natural surfaces carrying a very large payload. This tactical capability was demonstrated during trials on Pembrey Sands beach.”
Describing the aircraft on their website, the RAF say:
“Atlas (Atlas C.1 A400M) has the ability to carry a 37-tonne payload over 2,000nm to established and remote civilian and military airfields, and short unprepared or semi-prepared strips. Capable of operating at altitudes up to 40,000ft, Atlas also offers impressive low-level capability. It will accommodate as many as 116 fully-equipped troops; vehicles; helicopters, including a Chinook; mixed loads, including nine aircraft pallets and 54 passengers, or combinations of vehicles, pallets and personnel, up to a payload of 37 tonnes.
Loads are delivered by parachute, gravity extraction from the aircraft’s rear ramp (influenced by the cargo’s own weight), or by landing. Paratroops will be dropped from the aircraft’s dedicated paratroop doors, or from the rear ramp.”