Airbus has delivered its one-hundredth A400M aircraft with airframe number MSN11, the tenth A400M for the Spanish Air Force. This milestone aircraft includes all new certified capabilities.
In the same week, the A400M global fleet also achieved the 100,000 flight-hours landmark as a result of performing missions worldwide for all eight of its customer nations.
The A400M family of aircraft successfully conducted a major helicopter air-to-air refuelling certification flight test campaign in coordination with the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA), completing the majority of its certification objectives, including the first simultaneous refueling of two helicopters.
The A400M is able to drop up to 116 paratroopers through simultaneous dispatch from the side doors with automatic parachute opening, or from the rear ramp with automatic parachute opening, as well as in freefall, during the day and night.
Tests were completed in Spain, in collaboration with the U.K. Royal Air Force parachute test team, to expand up to 25,000 feet (7,600 metres) for automatic parachute opening, and up to 38,000 feet (11,582 metres) for free fall.
The A400M also completed tests to expand its air drop capability, including multiple platforms with parachute extraction to loads of up to 23 tonnes.
The aircraft was certified to deliver cargo on austere airstrips without handling equipment with a combat offload of up to 19 tonnes of pallets in one pass, or 25 tonnes in two passes, on paved or unpaved airstrips.
A new decisive milestone was achieved by the A400M after the certification flights of its automatic low-level flight capability for Instrumental Meteorological Conditions (IMC) by using navigation systems and terrain databases, without the need of a terrain-following radar.
This is a first for a military transport aircraft and aims to make the aircraft less detectable and therefore less susceptible to threats while conducting operations in hostile environments.