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First A400M delivered

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 2, 2013
The first A400M has been delivered to the French air force following initial operating clearance. (Airbus Military)

Airbus Military’s A400M airlifter achieved initial operating clearance on July 31, paving the way for the delivery of the first aircraft to the French air force.

The firstA400M to be delivered – MSN7 – represents the culmination of 10 years of development by Airbus Military and more than 5,000 flight-test hours and involving close to 40,000 people working on program. The first aircraft will initially be used for the continuing training of aircrew before becoming part of the French air force operational transport fleet.

Airbus Military chief Domingo Ureña said: “Today is a truly historic day for the European aerospace industry – marking the moment at which it becomes the new global leader in the military transport sector with an entirely new aircraft. I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone at Airbus Military, Airbus and our suppliers whose unflagging efforts have made this enormous achievement possible, as well as our customers and OCCAR whose inputs over the years have been crucial to the success of the program.”

The delivery was preceded by the A400M obtaining inital operating clearance from the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), representing the program’s seven European launch nations Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Read more about the A400M in the latest issue of Australian Aviation.

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Comments (3)

  • Dee


    This platform could well-be a replacement for our C130J’s in the future. By the next decade the A400M should be a trouble free unit.

  • Raymond


    Yes, the A400M would likely be a potential contender for replacement of the RAAF’s C-130J’s in a few years’ time, slotting in between the C-27J’s and the C-17A’s. However, LM has unveiled a design concept of a new C-130 variant (the C-130NG), and another contender could possibly also be the KC-390.

  • John N


    Yes the A400M may well be a contender for when the RAAF’s C130J’s come up for replacement around 2030, should be well and truly be a mature system by then, and hopefully the manufacturer will have the support and spares infrastructure all in place by then, support and spares has been a bit lacking in some of the recent Euro products, eg, Tiger and MRH90.

    I think the biggest hurdle will be if they are still in production at that time, not because the aircraft is not worthy of being in production, but more the economic and defence cuts issues facing most of Europe and other parts of the world too, there have been no ‘new’ orders since 2005, in fact there has been cancellations and reductions.

    South Africa cancelled their order of 8 (but may re-order a lesser amount), the UK cuts its order by 3, Germany cut its order from 60 to 53, and also intends to sell off 13 of those, leaving a fleet of 40, and most recently Spain, it is contracted for 27 and also plans to sell off 13, leaving a fleet of 14.

    Between Germany and Spain, that’s 26 airframes that will be built, but unwanted, not exactly a rosy picture.

    The other hurdle that might face the A400M ever seeing service with the RAAF, is what will the US do when it eventually looks to replace it’s C130’s? If they require a larger airlifter, no doubt Boeing and LM will come up with competing designs at some stage in the future too.

    I think the A400M is a great aircraft, but will lack of orders, or possibly further reductions, be the death of it?

    Time will tell!


    John N

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