Airbus’ 100th A400M airlifter goes to Spanish Air Force

Airbus has produced MSN111 – its 100th A400M new-generation military transport aircraft – that now joins the Spanish Air Force.

With the latest delivery, the Spanish Air Force now operates a fleet of 10 A400Ms.

The latest A400M was flown on May 24, 2021, from Seville to Zaragoza, where the Spanish Air Force A400M fleet is based.

The A400M assembly takes place in Spain; the wings are manufactured in the UK, while the fuselage is built in Germany.

Separately, the A400M global fleet has achieved the 100,000 flight-hours landmark performing missions worldwide for eight nations.

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Assembly of the A400M takes place in Spain. Credit: Airbus

The A400M recently successfully conducted a major helicopter air-to-air refuelling certification flight test campaign in coordination with the DGA (French Directorate General of Armaments), completing the majority of its certification objectives, including the first simultaneous refueling of two helicopters.

The A400M can drop up to 116 paratroopers, via simultaneous dispatch from the side doors with automatic parachute opening, or from the ramp with automatic parachute opening or in freefall, day and night.

The A400M also completed additional tests to expand its air drop capability, including multiple platforms with parachute extraction (23 tonnes).

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The A400M can drop 116 paratroopers in freefall, day and night. Credit: Airbus

Key military missions by the A400M in 2020 included the delivery of almost 40 tonnes of food, water, fuel and ammunition by a single French A400M to French troops based in the Sahel region of Africa, the first A400M to airdrop supplies in a country outside of Europe.

In addition, Germany became the first A400M customer to use the A400M as a tanker in real missions providing support in the ‘Counter Daesh’ operation in Jordan.

Thanks to its good tactical performance and the ability to carry overweight loads over long distances, the A400M fills the current logistic and tactical capability gap.

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The A400 features four unique EuroProp International (EPI) TP 400 turboprop engines. Credit: Airbus

With the cockpit flight deck located at the very front of the fuselage, much of the internal space is reserved for cargo; the aircraft’s internal dimensions include a cargo hold usable width of four metres, height of up to four metres, and usable length of 17.7 metres.

Unique aspects

Thanks to its Airbus state-of-the-art technologies, including its four unique EuroProp International (EPI) TP 400 turboprop engines, the A400M can fly distances up to 4,800nm/8,900km, at a cruising altitude up to 37,000ft/11,300m, and at a speed of up to Mach 0.72.

It can even fly up to 40,000ft/12,200m for special operations.

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The Spanish Air Force operates a fleet of 10 A400Ms. Credit: Airbus

The A400M was launched in May 2003 to meet the combined needs of seven European nations – Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Spain, Turkey and the UK – with Malaysia joining in 2005, for a tactical lift aircraft.

First flight

The A400M made its first flight on December 11, 2009.

The first production aircraft was delivered to the French Air Force in August 2013 and entered into service in 2014.

The A400M has seen operational use with the French and Turkish Air Forces in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, African Sahel Region, Mali and in the Middle East to support air operations over Iraq and Syria.

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