The first A400M military transport aircraft for the Republic of Kazakhstan has conducted its first flight, a key milestone ahead of its delivery in the second half of 2024, as the central Asian country continues to develop its military ties with manufacturer Airbus.

Posting on social media on 10 June, manufacturer Airbus stated that the A400M took off from the company’s facilities in Seville to perform engine and aircraft systems tests in a flight that lasted for just under three hours.

Prior to this first flight, as part of the certification process of the first of two A400Ms for Kazakhstan, the first engine run and taxi had taken place in April 2024, Airbus stated.

Kazakhstan placed an order for two A400M military transporters in 2021, in a deal that includes provision of platform maintenance and training support. Airbus stated at the time that the first aircraft was due to deliver in 2024, a timeframe that appears likely to be maintained.

At the time of the contract signing, Kazakhstan became the ninth confirmed customer for the A400M, joining the UK, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, and Malaysia as current or future operators.

In total, Airbus has received orders for 178 A400M transporters, with deliveries of 126 aircraft having been completed, leaving a known backlog of 52 units.

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Kazakhstan’s growing Airbus connection

As part of the 2021 deal, an MoU was signed to develop maintenance and overhaul services, including the creation of a Kazakhstan-based C-295 transport aircraft maintenance centre. This will be a key logistics capability for the country, which has a growing history with the European defence aeropace OEM.

According to data from Airbus’ annual reports, Kazakhstan has ordered 12 C295 tactical transport aircraft from the company, with 11 airframes having been delivered. Khazakstan’s C295 fleet has expanded since the original contract for eight aircraft was announced in March 2012.

A Kazakhstan Air Force C295 pictured in 2020, one of 11 currently aircraft in its fleet. Credit: Airbus

Powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW127G turboprop engines, the C-295 is a stretched derivative of the CN-235 transporter, and is designed to perform tactical airlift, search-and-rescue, and maritime patrol and environmental surveillance missions.

Capable of conducting short take-offs and landing on semi-prepared runways, the aircraft features a high-wing, rear-loader design that enables easy loading of mission pallets, passengers, cargo and litters for medical evacuation, communication and logistic duties or paratroop operations.