An Update on the A400M: Refueling of One A400M by Another


2016-11-14 According to a press release published on November 14, 2016, Airbus Defence and Space highlighted an important step forward for the program.

The Airbus A400M new generation airlifter has further expanded its capabilities as a tanker by successfully demonstrating air-to-air refueling contacts with another A400M. In two flights conducted from Seville, Spain the development aircraft performed more than 50 contacts in level flight and turns using the centreline hose and drum unit (HDU).

A400M air refueling contacts with second A400M. Credit: Airbus Defence and Space
A400M air refueling contacts with second A400M. Credit: Airbus Defence and Space

The A400M is the only tactical tanker on the market with this third refuelling point, in addition to its underwing pods, enabling refueling of large receivers such as another A400M or C-130.

It has a basic fuel capacity of 63,500 liters, which can be increased with two extra cargo hold tanks carrying 7,200 liters each, and can refuel from the HDU at a rate of 2,000 liters (600 US gallons) per minute.

The technique would allow the A400M to carry a 20 tonne payload more than 6,000nm / 11,000km non-stop from Paris, France to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The standard A400M aircraft has full provisions for air-to-air refueling (AAR) operations already installed and only requires the rapid installation of the optional air-to-air refueling kit to become a tanker.

After a recent trip to Albacete air base in Spain, Second Line of Defense visited Madrid and will soon publish interviews providing an update on the A330 MRTT and on the A400M and the role of software in the modernization of the aircraft.

We will publish the interview from the Albacete air base as well with the Eurofighter team that most recently went to the Baltics to conduct the NATO Air Patrol in the region.

A400M Refueling Second A400M from on Vimeo.