Airbus Defence and Space has successfully completed certification testing of its A400M new generation airlifter on a grass runway at the airfield of Écury-sur-Coole in France.
The test, which used the development aircraft MSN2, was completed over a three week period on the 1,500m strip. It examined the aircraft’s behaviour on grass and natural soil runways.
According to Airbus Defence and Space, the aircraft displayed excellent performance during the tests, including in taxiing manoeuvres, such as U-turns, and during take-off and landing.
The latest test followed the successful gravel surface tests at Ablitas in Spain earlier. The company is now planning to test the aircraft on sand surfaces next year.
The A400M Atlas transport aircraft is a multi-national military transport aircraft designed to serve as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities.
Powered by four EuroProp TP400-D6 turboprop engines, the A400M will have a lifting capacity of up to 30t, and can also be configured to conduct long-range cargo and troop transport, medical evacuation, aerial refuelling and electronic surveillance missions.
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Moreover, the aircraft will be able to operate both at low and high-level altitudes and to deploy troops and equipment between and within theatres of operation using either parachute or landing on short, unprepared or semi-prepared strips.
Recently, Airbus received wings for the first Airbus A400M new generation airlifter for the Spanish Air Force at the Final Assembly Line (FAL) in San Pablo, Seville.
According to Airbus, the wings, known as MSN44, will enter into the final assembly process as the aircraft prepares for delivery in the second quarter of 2016.
Image: Airbus’ development aircraft MSN2 lands on the grass runway. Photo: © Airbus DS GmbH.