UK RAF completes landing trials of A400M transport aircraft


The UK Royal Air Force's (RAF) new A400M four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft has successfully completed soft surface landing tests.

The two week-long landing trials were conducted at former RAF Woodbridge.

These trials witnessed the Airbus-built A400M Atlas landing on a pre-prepared dirt surface, which was artificially softened by 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment for the task.

RAF captain Mark Davies said “This has been an example of developing air manoeuvre potential, through partnerships.”

The aircraft, which will soon achieve full operating capability, will be brought into the RAF's Air Mobility Fleet.

Air Officer Commanding number 2 Group air vice-marshal Gavin Parker said: “This is an incredibly important trial.

"A400M Atlas will be a very important aircraft for the Royal Air Force and the Army as we move forwards.”

With an ability to carry heavy loads into austere locations, the A400M Atlas is bridging the gap between strategic and tactical flying, RAF said in a statement.

Atlas will provide additional air mobility support to the RAF by delivering lifesaving humanitarian aid equipment worldwide.

The project was backed by the British Army, Airbus, local council and forestry commission.

"A400M Atlas will be a very important aircraft for the Royal Air Force and the Army as we move forwards."

Airbus had launched A400M in 2003 to cater to the needs of seven European nations regrouped within OCCAR, including Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Spain, Turkey and the UK, with Malaysia joining in 2005.

The airlifter is already in service with the French and Turkish Air Forces in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, African’ Sahel Region, Mali and in the Middle East to support the air operations over Iraq and Syria.


Image: The RAF's A400M. Photo: © MOD Crown Copyright.