The Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has awarded Airbus a contract renewal for the Luftwaffe’s A400M in-service support.

Their new contract has a duration of an additional 7.5 years and serves as an extension of the previous agreement that took place since December 2014.

The A400M is a military transporter aircraft designed to meet the requirements of the Belgium, French, German, Spanish, Turkish, Luxembourg and UK air forces.

A400M has a much larger payload than the C-160 Transall and the ageing C-130, which the A400 is replacing. The design makes extensive use of composite materials, while its capability for short, soft field landing and take-off is part of the requirement and the aircraft has six-wheel high-flotation main landing gear.

The A400M can carry 116 paratroops and airdrop them and their equipment either by parachute or gravity extraction. It can air-drop single loads up to 16 tons, multiple loads up to 25 tons total, 120 paratroops and a wedge load of 6 tons, or up to 20 1 ton containers or pallets.

The A400M fleet in the Luftwaffe

The industrial technical support of the German Air Force A400M fleet covers a wide range of services provided by the Airbus Support Centre in Wunstorf Air Base and the central Centres of Competence in Getafe, Spain.

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According to GlobalData’s report on the ‘German Defence Market, 2022-2027’, out of the Luftwaffe’s 8 different transport and utility aircraft, the A400M has the most active units by far, having inducted 37 units between 2014-21.

Airbus will ensure full coverage of scheduled Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services from its main MRO base in Manching, near Munich as well as at Wunstorf Air Base, near Hannover, Germany and at Hannover Airport.

Sweeten the deal with an in-service facility

The contract also foresees the establishment of a new A400M maintenance facility in direct proximity to Wunstorf Air Base. Commencing operations in 2027, the facility will perform MRO services and also host the Airbus A400M Support Centre with a total workforce of approximately 300 who will work closely with suppliers and customer representatives. Construction work will commence with immediate effect.

Germany is the biggest customer of the A400M. Currently, the Luftwaffe operates nearly 40 A400M out of a total of 53 aircraft on order. The entire fleet operates out of Wunstorf Air Base which is home to the Air Transport Wing 62.