Germany Takes Delivery of First A400M: 9 Delivered to 4 Air Forces To Date


2014-12-18  According to an Airbus Defence and Space press released dated December 18, 2014:

Airbus Defence and Space has formally delivered the first Airbus A400M military transport ordered by Germany.

The photograph shows the first German A400M during its maiden flight. Credit: Airbus Defence and Space.
The photograph shows the first German A400M during its maiden flight. Credit: Airbus Defence and Space.

A total of nine aircraft have now been delivered and the aircraft is in service with four nations. The Bundeswehr accepted the aircraft at the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville, Spain on 18 December.

Bernhard Gerwert, CEO Airbus Defence and Space, said: “We are extremely proud to hand over the first A400M to Germany. The A400M will play a critical role in the modernisation of Germany’s air mobility force. The unique combination of strategic and tactical capabilities, allied to a level of reliability greater than that of the previous generation aircraft that it is replacing, will transform the German Air Force’s transport operations in the coming years.”

The A400M will replace the C-160 Transall.

Recently, the French Air Force that their A400Ms were in service supporting their African operations and making an early impact.

Capitaine Karim Djemai of the French Air Force highlighted recent A400M operations.

The A400M was able in a single mission to support two operations: the first in Barkhane (under way in the Sahel-Saharan Africa since the summer of 2014) and the Sangaris operation (underway since December 2013 in the Central African Republic).

MSN-8 named the City of Toulouse left the Orleans airbase for Africa in the morning of December 4th and stopped over in Italy to deliver 5.5 tons of cargo and 25 Italian soldiers involved in the European operation EUFOR RCA. This task was performed within the framework of the European Air Transport Command pooling of resources of which both France and Italy belong.

Then the plane continued to Africa delivering a total of 50 passengers and about 18 tons of cargo. The load consisted of a mixed load, including technical and medical equipment, aerospace equipment to support the six Rafales stationed in N’Djamena and rotors for helicopters involved in the Sangris operation.

According to the commander of the transport squadron, “The Atlas allows us to carry loads which the CASA, Transall and Hercules could not. We are relying on our experience in operating these other aircraft to learn how to use the new one. We are aligning our profession with the new aircraft.”

As a strategic airlifter, the A400M Atlas has a capacity, speed and range which allows France to operate from its mainland bases to support operations….For example, the A400M can carry four times the load of a C-160 Transall in half the time.

Since the official activation of the A400M squadron in September 2014, the plane has been used for logistical support. Eventually, the aircraft will be able to execute all of the core air transport missions, such as air assault (i.e. delivery of men, materials or paratroopers at the point of attack), air delivery, in-flight refueling and medical evacuations.

Translated from the original French by Second Line of Defense

And for Germany, the A400M can have a significant impact on supporting operations for humanitarian or military operations.

The good news for Germany is that the A400M is not just a plane but a long-term enterprise. 

Unlike the Transall experience, France and Germany will not start with a common plane and end up with two very different planes.

The commonality inherent within the aircraft can allow the users to end up with the capability to support one another in common operations.

If done properly, there is no reason that German maintainers could not support other A400M aircraft operating in an area of interest where Germans are deployed.

There is common training as well which has proven its validity already in how the French drew upon the training in Seville and applied it to the standup of the squadron at Orléans. The experience of the various users of the plane will be shared in the common training body of knowledge and the stand up of a core user group.

Common parts can be pooled as well as the plane is shaped around common unique identification numbers (UIDS) stamped on the parts.  Common inventory control across national inventories is enabled by such an approach.  It is up to the nations to leverage this capability and to share parts.

Already a number of agreements are in place to shape common practices and approaches, which can both, enhance cost and combat effectiveness.

An airlifter is bought to deploy; and any approaches, which allow for that aircraft at the point of engagement to be sustained more effectively is a crucial point in its favor, and certainly this can be true for the A400M, understood as an enterprise and not as single point of entry aircraft.

The video above is credited to Airbus Defence and Space:

Published on Dec 18, 2014

Germany takes delivery of its first Airbus A400M.

Check out the First Engine run, First Taxi, Painting and First Flight of A400M aircraft for the German Air Force.

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