Aerial Warfare

Airbus A400M Final Aircraft Delivery to Belgian Air Force

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Airbus A400M Final Aircraft Delivery to Belgian Air Force

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Airbus A400M Final Aircraft Delivery to Belgian Air Force
Airbus A400M Final Aircraft Delivery to Belgian Air Force

To mark the delivery of the final A400M to Belgian Air Force (Luchtcomponent, Composante Air), senior level representation from all stakeholders were invited to Melsbroek Airbase, the home of the 15th Air Transport Wing of the Belgian Armed Forces ( Defensie; La Défense). OCCAR-EA (Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation, Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement – Executive Administration) Director Joachim Sucker and the A400M Programme Manager, Mr Philippe Bourgault, as well as representatives from the AC acceptance team in Sevilla attended the event to show their support for the strong and effective relationship between OCCAR and Nations as the key to a successful aircraft delivery.

The event commenced with a warm welcome of the Belgian Base Commander Colonel Beeckmans, followed by speeches from the Belgian Minister of Defence Mrs. Ludivine Dedonder and the Luxembourg Minister of Defence Mrs. Yuriko Backes. Both highlighted the importance of their close cooperation in the A400M programme that can serve as role model within the European Defence community. Additionally, both Ministers emphasized the multirole capabilities of A400M, which have already proven to be essential for various military missions. Such capabilities have become even more important nowadays in the context of multiple crisis such as the Ukraine war. The event was concluded with the traditional airplane christening of the AC to formally introduce it into the BELUX fleet followed by a static display of the LU A/C MSN104.

Photo by OCCAR-EA
Photo by OCCAR-EA

MSN133 is the 8th and final AC to be delivered to the Belgian and Luxembourg Air Forces from the current Development and Production contract. Acceptance activities were launched in November 2023 and following a smooth delivery process, contractual acceptance of the AC was completed at the Final Assembly Line, in Seville, on 14th December 2023. The Ferry Flight of MSN133 from Seville to Belgium took place on 11.01.2024 completing the delivery of the BELUX fleet. Belgium and Luxembourg (BELUX) combined to procure 8 Aircraft in total (7 BE, 1 LU), with BE representing the interests of LU in the 6-Nation OCCAR Programme.

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 sized between the C-130 and the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. It can carry heavier loads than the C-130 and can use rough landing strips. In addition to its transport capabilities, the A400M can perform aerial refueling and medical evacuation when fitted with appropriate equipment. The Airbus A400M provides substantial improvements to payload, range, internal volume and operational capacity over the Transall C-160 and Lockheed C-130 that it replaces or augments.

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