Airbus’ military flight test team has just passed a remarkable milestone in the lengthy campaign to qualify the full range of capabilities of the pioneering A400M airlifter. The A400M’s maiden flight, originally planned for 2008, took place on 11 December 2009 from Seville, Spain. A total of 174 A400M aircraft had been ordered by eight nations by July 2011. In March 2013, the A400M received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification. The first aircraft was delivered to the French Air Force in August 2013.
The Airbus A400M Atlas is a European, four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. It was designed by Airbus Defence and Space 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 and the C-17; it can carry heavier loads than the C-130 and is able to use rough landing strips. Along with the transport role, the A400M can perform aerial refuelling and medical evacuation when fitted with appropriate equipment.