The Transfer of Title of Airbus A400M military transport aircraft, MSN103, was signed on June 16, becoming the 87th aircraft delivered under the OCCAR contract.
However, this one was an important achievement for OCCAR, as it was the first one to be completed with full delegation from Germany, allowing OCCAR to perform the inspections and functional checks on their behalf, and also completed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under normal circumstances, the Buyer Delivery Team (BDT), composed of experts from Nations and OCCAR Seville team members, is in charge of the Individual Aircraft Acceptance and Delivery. However, the mobility restrictions imposed around Europe due to the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible for German BDT members to be present in Seville for MSN103 acceptance. All stakeholders were involved in defining a workaround solution.
Final agreement was achieved, delegating visual inspections and functional checks to the OCCAR Seville team. Following this approach, activities started on 4 May, with the visual inspections of all elements of the aircraft. Functional checks started on 12 May with an Engine Run, followed by further on-ground demonstrations, and peaking with two Customer Acceptance flights on 20 and 27 May, logging a total of 5h and 30min flight time, where all systems were successfully checked. Additionally, DE BDT colleagues were updated daily by OCCAR team members, and technical discussions were also held using OCCAR tele-conferencing tools, allowing DE to have proper visibility on the ongoing activities.
All these activities were performed following strict H&S measures to minimise COVID-19 exposure, which required special efforts from everybody. With good will and hard work, all parties managed to avoid a halt in the production line, which would have caused a serious knock-on effect on subsequent aircraft.
Eventually, MSN103 performed its ferry flight to Germany on 22 June with a crew who travelled to Seville on another German A400M aircraft.
MSN103 is the German Air Force (Luftwaffe)’s 33rd A400M Atlas multi-role military transport aircraft. It was delivered to the Luftwaffe’s Air Transport Wing 62 (Lufttransportgeschwader 62, LTG 62) based at Wunstorf Air Base in Lower-Saxony. Luftwaffe has a total of 53 aircraft on order.
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). It was designed 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, between the C-130 Hercules/ C-130J Super Hercules tactical airlifter and the C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter. The aircraft, powered by four Europrop TP400-D6 engines rated at 8,250 kW (11,000 hp) each, can carry heavier loads than the C-130, while able to use rough landing strips.
Along with the transport role, the A400M can perform aerial refueling and aeromedical evacuation (AE) when fitted with appropriate equipment. The aircraft is intended for use on short, soft landing strips and for long-range, cargo transport flights.
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.