2015-03-06 Recently an Atlas A400M of the French Air Force flew to the United Arab Emirates to deliver cargo to the French military.
According, to the FAF:
The A400M demonstrates a bit more each day its extraordinary capacity for projection.
It can fulfill this type of mission without stoping over in the course of the mission as is necessary with the Transall C-160 or the Hercules C-130.
It has been deployed on several occasions during operations and it supports the armed forces engaged in external theaters of operations and can both ease logistical flows of supplies while providing cost savings operationally.
Now the Royal Air Force has used its initial A400M to deliver cargo to Cyprus to support operations.
According to the Royal Air Force in a story on the RAF website dated March 5, 2015:
The A400M Atlas, the Royal Air Force’s newest airlift aircraft, delivered a cargo of vital freight into Cyprus this week on its first operational mission as it prepares for initial operational capability later this year.
The aircraft, ‘City of Bristol’, flew into RAF Akrotiri delivering operational freight, making this training flight also Atlas’ first operational tasking. In the Captain’s seat on this historic flight was 24 Squadron pilot, Flight Lieutenant Jamie “JJ” Jackson.
He said: “This flight was incredibly significant for the RAF demonstrating the capability of the aircraft and that we are able to use it to support operations even before we are declared operational. Once we were airborne the aircraft performed well throughout all phases of flight and was great to fly.”
Destined to replace the C130 Hercules, the Atlas is a significantly larger aircraft that has been designed to project tactical air mobility capabilities at range, direct to the point of need. Wing Commander Simon Boyle, Officer Commanding 70 Squadron, said:
“This task illustrates how we are developing the use of the aircraft in this early period. We have been able to support defence operations whilst continuing to grow the experience of our Force’s aircrew instructors, before they begin to train the crews destined for 70 Squadron later this year.”
The aircraft’s load consisted of a variety of freight. Speaking at the Atlas’ UK base at RAF Brize Norton, Simon added:
“The delivery of operational freight is central to the mission of the Atlas Force. This is an important step towards the declaration of an initial strategic Air Transport capability on Atlas in RAF service, and bodes well for 70 Squadron becoming operational as the front-line Atlas squadron later this year.”
Also taking part in the aircraft’s first operational flight was 70 Squadron’s Senior Loadmaster, Master Aircrewman Ian Price. He said:
“Given Akrotiri’s pivotal role as a staging post for the RAF, this trip has provided a fantastic opportunity for us to work alongside the movements team here as we continue to develop our understanding of the impressive payload capabilities of our new aircraft.”
Currently, 9 A400Ms have been delivered to four different air forces.