The German Air Force’s (Luftwaffe) first A400M military transport aircraft has successfully completed the engine ground run at the Airbus Defence and Space Final Assembly Line in Seville, Spain.
With the simultaneous run of the four Europrop International TP400 engines, the aircraft, known as MSN18, started final tests towards its planned delivery to Luftwaffe in November.
Assembled in Munich, Germany, the TP400 engines give A400M nearly eight times as much installed power as the Luftwaffe’s ageing C-160 Transall, which it is scheduled to replace.
The next-generation airlifter is capable of carrying twice the load of its predecessor over intercontinental distances at speeds comparable to more expensive jet aircraft, but would still land on short or unprepared airstrips close to the scene of military or humanitarian action.
Germany ordered around 60 A400M aircraft from Airbus in November 2010, but the number was later reduced to 53, including seven options, due to budgetary constraints.
In addition to this, the country announced plans to sell 13 of the aircraft to foreign customers in a bid to further reduce the programme costs.
Designated as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities, the A400M can also be configured to perform long-range cargo and troop transport, medical evacuation, aerial refuelling and electronic surveillance missions.
Apart from Germany, the aircraft has also been ordered by the air forces of Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Spain, Turkey and the UK.
In a separate development, Airbus has handed over a transmit/receive (T/R) module for use on the German armed forces’ (Bundeswehr) software-controlled radio system.
The module is designed for the failure-free transmission of large volumes of data in the overall joint radio system, which is being developed as part of the Streitkraftegemeinsame Verbundfahige Funkgerate-Ausstattung (SVFuA) project.
The project seeks to improve the Bundeswehr’s mobile and jam-resistant voice and data communications in the future, primarily for joint and combined foreign missions.
Bundeswehr is scheduled to test nine broadband T/R modules by the end of 2015.
Image: Germany’s first A400M aircraft completed engine ground run at the Airbus Defence and Space final assembly line in Spain. Photo: courtesy of Airbus Defence and Space.