The Belgian Air Force has taken delivery of its first of seven Airbus A400M military transport aircraft, Airbus announced Dec. 22.
The aircraft was handed over to the customer at the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville, Spain and subsequently performed its ferry flight to the 15th Wing Air Transport at Melsbroek Air Base in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium, where the aircraft will be based.
This A400M, designated as MSN106, will be operated within a binational unit composed of a total of eight aircraft, seven from the Belgian Air Force and one from the Luxembourg Armed Forces. Luxembourg’s A400M (MSN104) was delivered earlier this year. The second A400M for Belgium will be delivered in early 2021.
Alberto Gutierrez, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space, said: “With the delivery of this aircraft all launch customers are now equipped with the A400M. MSN106 will join Luxemburg’s aircraft in the binational unit operated jointly with Belgium. Despite challenges due to Covid-19, our teams have achieved all 10 aircraft deliveries scheduled this year, bringing the global fleet in operation to 98 aircraft.”
Airbus A400M Atlas
Airbus A400M Atlas is a multi-national, four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed by Airbus Military (now Airbus Defence and Space) as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities to replace older transport aircraft, such as the Transall C-160 and the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
The A400M is positioned, in terms of size and payload capacity, between the C-130 tactical airlifter and the C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter. Along with the transport role, the A400M can perform aerial refuelling and medical evacuation when fitted with appropriate equipment.
The A400M operates in many configurations including cargo transport, troop transport, and medical evacuation. The aircraft is intended for use on short, soft landing strips and for long-range, cargo transport flights. The aircraft is powered by four Europrop TP400-D6 engines rated at 8,250 kW (11,000 hp) each.
The A400M’s maiden flight took place on 11 December 2009 from Seville, Spain and the first aircraft was delivered to the French Air Force in August 2013.