2015-01-14 Clermont-Ferrand is a key location for the maintenance of French Air Force (FAF) aircraft.
As the A400M squadron is stood up and its operations normalized, the A400M will enter the normal French systems of maintenance and support.
The arrival of the first A400M at Clermont-Ferrand is a step in this process of normalization and maturation.
According to an article on the French Air Force website published on 1/14/15, the process has begun.
“On January 12, 2015, the Atlas landed at Clermont-Ferrand for its first maintenance visit at the AIA maintenance facility.
The operation is part of a maintenance contract with Airbus Military, which will last until the end of 2017.
After this 18 month period, Clermont-Ferrand will be able to maintain the aircraft on an autonomous basis.”
The article points out that the advanced qualities of the aircraft are leading to changes at the maintenance facility. The article mentions the need to repair composites, which represent more than 30% of the airframe, and to work the paper documentation of the maintenance process by the use of digital media and tablets.
The AIA was created in 1939 and is operated by around 1300 people. The major task of the center is to maintain the FAF aircraft and their equipment (Rafale, Mirage 2000, Alphajet, helicopters, C-160, C-130 and Atlas).
The AIA in Clermont-Ferrand is a site, which depends on the SIAé (Service Industrial for Aeronautics) which is based in various locations in France.
“The SIAé is a major actor in the maintenance of military aircraft, and is reposnbile for the operational maintenance of the principle aircraft of the FAF.”