Florence Parly, Minister of Defence of the French Republic, welcomes the arrival of the 17th A400M Atlas military transport plane on Orleans-Bricy air base, on Friday, April 24, 2020, following its handover to the Directorate-General of Armaments (DGA). This delivery testifies to the continuity of activity ensured by the Ministry of the Armed Forces in terms of maintaining operational conditions and carrying out equipment programs, in strict compliance with the health directives of the Ministry of Solidarity and Health. The 2019-2025 Military Programming Law (LPM) provides for a total of 25 A400Ms in service by the end of 2025.
The Airbus A400M Atlas is a European, four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. It was designed by Airbus Military (now 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 Boeing 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.
The first aircraft was delivered to the French Air Force in August 2013, it was formally handed over during a ceremony on 30 September 2013.
. In June 2016, the French Air Force accepted its ninth A400M, the first capable of conducting tactical tasks such as airdropping supplies. The revised standard includes the addition of cockpit armour and defensive aids system equipment, plus clearance to transfer and receive fuel in-flight. On 7 September 2018, the French Air Force announced that they had logged 10,000 flying hours with their fleet of 14 A400Ms, mostly flying supply missions for Operation Barkhane.