An Airbus A400M airlifter ordered by the Luxembourg Armed Forces has made its maiden flight, marking a key milestone towards its delivery.
The aircraft, known as MSN104, took off from Seville (Spain), where the final assembly line is located, at 16:08 local time and landed back on site 5 hours later, say Airbus.
The Luxembourg aircraft will be operated by the armed forces of Belgium and Luxembourg within a binational unit based in Belgium. MSN104 is scheduled to be delivered in the second quarter of 2020.
The A400M was launched in May 2003 to respond to the combined needs of seven European Nations regrouped within OCCAR (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Spain, Turkey and the UK), with Malaysia joining in 2005.
Assembly takes place in Spain; the wings (largely designed with composite materials) are manufactured in the UK, while the fuselage is built in Germany.
The A400M made its first flight on 11 December 2009. The first production aircraft was delivered to the French Air Force in August 2013 and entered into service a year after.
Airbus say that 174 of the aircraft have been ordered, 88 delivered and 88 in operational service.