A Royal Air Force A400M Atlas has delivered 23 tonnes by parachute over Salisbury Plain.
The drops, which the MoD say represent the heaviest overall load ever air-dropped by a UK aircraft, took place as part of trial to confirm the aircrafts ability to deliver heavy loads, such as military equipment, supplies and humanitarian aid, without needing to land.
It should be noted that he maximum cargo weight deliverable via the Container Delivery System from a C-130J Hercules is approximately 15 tonnes, according to the MoD.
Wing Commander Ed Horne, Officer Commanding LXX Squadron, said:
“Atlas has already proven itself on active service especially in the humanitarian relief role in the Caribbean last year and Indonesia earlier this year.
These trials confirm the RAF as having one of the most capable transport fleets in the entire world and are a significant step forward in qualifying Atlas for even more operations.”
The trials were reportedly overseen by the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) in partnership with the RAF, the Joint Air Delivery Test and Evaluation Unit and Air Warfare Centre, QinetiQ and Airbus.
The MoD state in a release that results from the trial will now be fed back into the Atlas development programme which is qualifying the aircraft to perform such operations in active RAF service.