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Airbus Defence and Space has successfully conducted the maiden test flight of the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s (RMAF) first A400M military transport aircraft.

Designated MSN22, the aircraft took off from the company’s facility in Seville, Spain, and landed at the site after one hour and 30 minutes, marking a key milestone in its delivery to the customer.

Malaysia ordered four A400M aircraft and training and integrated logistics support services from Airbus under an RM3.5bn ($1.1bn) contract in December 2005.

The aircraft will supplement the RMAF’s ageing C-130 Hercules aircraft fleet and double its operational capabilities by providing heavy airlift and air-to-air refuelling capabilities.

It is expected to be delivered to the RMAF later this year and will be operated by the 22 Squadron, as reported by Flightglobal.

Meanwhile, a number of RMAF pilots, maintenance engineers and technicians are currently undergoing instruction at Airbus Defence and Space’s international training centre in Spain.

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By GlobalData
"The A400M can be configured to perform long-range cargo and troop transport."

Designated as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities, the A400M can be configured to perform long-range cargo and troop transport, medical evacuation, aerial refuelling and electronic surveillance missions.

It can carry twice the load of its predecessor over intercontinental distances at speeds comparable to jet aircraft.

Powered by four Europrop TP400-D6 turboprop engines, the aircraft can also land on short or unprepared airstrips close to the scene of military or humanitarian action.

In addition to Malaysia, A400M has been ordered by the air forces of Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, Turkey, and the UK.

Image: The RMAF’s first A400M military transport aircraft during its maiden flight. Photo: courtesy of Airbus Defence and Space.