Airbus Military has been awarded a contract to supply the first A400M Full Flight Simulator (FFS) to the UK Royal Air Force (RAF).
The £50m contract, awarded by the OCCAR multinational organisation for the management of European Collaborative Defence programmes on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), also involves the delivery of a simulator support system (SSS) to facilitate full use of the simulator's capabilities for flight training and military mission rehearsals.
As part of the contract, Thales Training & Simulation Ltd (TTSL) will supply the first simulator. The aircraft parts and equipment along with a data and software package, required to allow the simulator accurately replicate the A400M's flight and mission characteristics, will be provided by Airbus Military.
Thales' visual and motion technology will be used for the production of the FFS in Crawley, UK, which will also be maintained by a joint venture between Airbus Military and Thales, which have been collaborating on the A400M simulation for France and the UK since 2007.
The simulator will be delivered in spring 2014, prior to the scheduled delivery of the first A400M plane later that year to the air force, and will be based at the RAF Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire, UK.
RAF's contract represents the fourth sale of the FSS, which has also been ordered by Airbus Military's International Training Centre in Seville, Spain, as well as France and Germany.
All the A400M partnering nations are expected to purchase the FSS, which marks a significant investment in UK jobs and technology, according to Airbus Military.
Powered by four Europrop TP400-D6 engines, the Airbus A400M is a multi-national four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designated as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities.
A total of 22 A400M transporters have been ordered by the RAF to help replace its ageing fleet of Hercules C1/C3 (C-130K) transport aircraft.
Image: The second prototype Airbus Military A400M, called Grizzly2, being displayed at the 2010 Farnborough Airshow. Photo: courtesy of MilborneOne.