22 Jan 2018

German Air Force takes receipt of 15th A400M Atlas

Airbus has delivered its 15th A400M Atlas to the German Air Force as part of an order 53 aircraft strong.

This is the 56th A400M multi-role military transporter to be built by the company to date and, according to Airbus, the workhorse is living up to its ‘Atlas’ moniker.

Indeed, the airlifter has lent its heavy lifting expertise to numerous troop deployment and counter-terrorism measures across the globe, and played a pivotal part in the delivery of humanitarian aid and much-needed disaster relief.

It was the French Air Force who first pioneered the use of the A400M Atlas however. Since 2013 it has ordered 50 airlifters with 13 now in operation. These are regularly dispatched with troops and equipment aboard in service of two separate counter-terrorism deployments; Operation Chammal in the Middle East and Operation Barkhane in Africa.

“With the A400M’s four powerful turboprop engines, we can carry enormous loads at incredible speed, enabling us to rapidly respond to crisis situations all over the world,” said Captain Ronan, a pilot in the 1/61 Touraine squadron – a unit belonging to the French Air Force’s 61st Transport Wing.

For the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF), its first A400M task was the delivery of much-needed supplies and essential aid to UK dependencies and other Caribbean islands during Operation Ruman – a response to the region’s devastating hurricane season.

Operation Ruman successfully deployed two aircraft for the Caribbean humanitarian mission. Together they delivered aid in tonnes, providing significantly more payload per flight than the smaller C-130 transporters that the A400M is now replacing.

The A400M was remarkable in what it could do,” said Wing Commander Burdett of the RAF’s No. 24 Squadron.

“It could take three times as much as a C-130 into a tight, small strip without taking any military risk in its performance. Whereas the C-130 was taking in five tonnes, the A400 would be taking in 15.”

To date, the RAF has received 18 A400Ms of the 22 on order.

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