The German defense procurement agency (Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr; BAAINBw) has taken delivery of the second Airbus A321LR (long range) transport aircraft from Lufthansa Technik AG in a ceremony in Hamburg. The Airbus A321LR long range transport aircraft with the tactical identification 15+11 will soon be transferred to the German Air Force for troop transport and parliamentary flight operations. Additional capabilities, such as applications for the medical transport and evacuation tasks (MedEvac), are planned for integration in 2023.
The two aircraft will be operated by the Executive Transport Wing of the German defense ministry, which operates as part of the German Air Force. Airbus is delivering the “base” aircraft under a contract from 2020, which then undergo the militarization and modification process at Lufthansa Technik. The conversion of the first aircraft at Lufthansa Technik’s base in Hamburg began last December. In the months that followed, it was initially modified for flexible troop and passenger transport as well as parliamentary flight operations on short, medium and long-haul routes. The maximum capacity in this configuration is 136 passengers.
As part of this initial modification phase, Lufthansa Technik also made preparations for the so-called medical evacuation (MedEvac) role, which will expand the aircraft’s scope of operations to include capabilities for the qualified air transport of wounded, injured and diseased passengers. This encompassed, for example, extensive pre-modifications such as an extended oxygen supply on board, which is absolutely necessary for the upcoming use as a “flying intensive care unit”. The cockpit and the newly installed cabin equipment with seats, emergency equipment and MedEvac preparations have been adapted to the requirements of the German armed forces.
The Airbus A321 is a member of the Airbus A320 family of short to medium range, narrow-body, commercial passenger twin engine jet airliners; it carries 185 to 236 passengers. It has a stretched fuselage which was the first derivative of the baseline A320 and entered service in 1994, about six years after the original A320. The aircraft shares a common type rating with all other Airbus A320-family variants, allowing previous A320-family pilots to fly the aircraft without the need for further training. Airbus launched the A321LR (Long Range) on 13 January 2015; it has a range of 4,000 nmi (7,400 km) with 206 seats in two classes.