The Republic of Kazakhstan has placed an order for two Airbus A400M aircraft and becomes the ninth operator together with Germany, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Malaysia and Luxembourg. With delivery of the first aircraft scheduled in 2024, the contract includes a complete suite of maintenance and training support. Together with the agreement a Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed to collaborate on Maintenance and Overhaul services and with a first step of creating a local C295 maintenance centre.
”The A400M will become the cornerstone of Kazakhstan’s tactical and strategic airlifting operations,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “This new export contract brings the total number of A400M orders to 176 aircraft, a figure that we expect to increase in the near future. With more than 100 aircraft delivered and 100,000 flight hours in operation, the A400M has proven its capabilities, reaching a state of maturity that many potential customers were waiting for.”
The Airbus A400M Atlas is a European four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. It was designed by Airbus 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. Along with the transport role, the A400M can perform aerial refueling and medical evacuation when fitted with appropriate equipment.
The A400M operates in many configurations including cargo transport, troop transport, and medical evacuation. It is intended for use on short, soft landing strips and for long-range, cargo transport flights. The A400M is large enough to carry six Land Rovers and trailers, or two light armored vehicles, or a dump truck and excavator, or a Patriot missile system, or a Puma or Cougar helicopter, or a truck and 25-ton trailer. The aircraft features deployable baffles in front of the rear side doors, intended to give paratroops time to get clear of the aircraft.
The Airbus A400M increases the airlift capacity and range compared with the aircraft it was originally set to replace, the older versions of the Hercules and Transall. Cargo capacity is expected to double over existing aircraft, both in payload and volume, and range is increased substantially as well. The cargo box is 17.71 m (58.1 ft) long excluding ramp, 4.00 m (13.12 ft) wide, and 3.85 m (12.6 ft) high (or 4.00 m (13.12 ft) aft of the wing). The maximum payload of 37 metric tons (41 short tons) can be carried over 2,000 nmi (3,700 km; 2,300 mi).
It features a fly-by-wire flight control system with sidestick controllers and flight envelope protection. Like other Airbus aircraft, the A400M has a full glass cockpit. Most systems are loosely based on those of the A380, but modified for the military mission. The Ratier-Figeac FH385 propellers turn counterclockwise and the FH386 clockwise. The eight-bladed scimitar propellers are made from a woven composite material. It is powered by four Europrop TP400-D6 engines rated at 8,250 kW (11,000 hp) each.