The French Directorate General of Armaments (Direction générale de l’armement, DGA) has taken delivery of the 18th Airbus A400M transport aircraft. The A400M equipped with all the capabilities validated to date, including the simultaneous release of paratroopers from the two doors and automatic flight at very low altitude. It will soon be delivered to French Air Force (Armée de l’Air). The new aircrats will also have the capacity to parachute more than 30 paratroopers per door and per dispatch. The military’s requirement is that 116 paratroopers jump out of the aircraft in one dispatch.
In May 2020, the A400M new generation airlifter achieved certification of its Automatic Low Level Flight capability. The certification campaign involved operations down to 500ft, including transitions from low level flight to other operations like aerial delivery. The certification campaign, performed in April above the Pyrenees and central France, involved operations down to 500ft. This first certification phase concerns operations with Visual Meteorological Conditions, meaning with crew visibility. There will be a second phase including Instrumental Meteorological Conditions, without visibility, to be certified in Q2 2021.
Inherent to the fighter aircraft world, and as a unique capability for a military transport aircraft, the Automatic Low Level Flights improves the A400M’s terrain masking and survivability, making the aircraft less detectable in hostile areas and less susceptible to threats when cruising towards key military operations like aerial delivery, air-to-air refuelling, logistic or other specific special operations. The Airbus A400M new generation airlifter has achieved a new decisive milestone after the certification of its Automatic Low Level Flight capability, offering a unique in its class capability for a military transport aircraft.
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 between the C-130 and the Boeing C-17 in size; it can carry heavier loads than the C-130 and is able to use rough landing strips. The French Air Force became the first customer to receive Airbus’ A400M in 2013. The first directly outfitted to the “tactical standard” in May 2019.