Airbus Military A400M

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is expected to take delivery of its first Airbus A400M military transport aircraft under contract from Airbus Military in January 2015, RMAF commander general Tan Sri Rodzali Daud has revealed.

Daud was quoted by Bernama as saying that all contracted aircraft are expected to be delivered to the air force by 2016.

The aircraft will not replace the RMAF’s Lockheed Martin-built C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, but will serve to double its capabilities by providing a true heavy airlift capability, tactical capability and air-to-air refuelling capability, Daud added.

Malaysia awarded the RM3.5bn ($1.1bn) contract to Airbus in December 2005, which comprised the delivery of a total of four aircraft along with training and integrated logistics support services to supplement its fleet of C-130 Hercules.

However, the A400M delivery was delayed by almost five years, due to cost overruns and problems relating to the development of the aircraft’s turboprop engine’s software.

The service is also planning to send its personnel to France for training on the airlifter early next year in a bid to prepare the aircrew for induction of the aircraft into operational service in 2015.

The Airbus A400M is a multi-national four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designated as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities.

Having a lifting capacity of up to 30t, the aircraft is capable of landing on makeshift runways and can also be configured to conduct long-range cargo and troop transport, medical evacuation, aerial refuelling, and electronic surveillance missions.

Around 174 aircraft have been ordered by seven Nato nations including Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the UK.

Image: The second prototype Airbus Military A400M at the 2010 Farnborough Airshow. Photo: MilborneOne.