Turkey A400M aircraft

Airbus Military has successfully completed the maiden test flight of the Turkish Air Force’s (TuAF) first A400M transport aircraft from its final assembly facility in Seville, Spain.

The flight test, which lasted for five and a half hours, moves the aircraft closer to its delivery to the air force later this year.

Also designated as MSN9, the aircraft had successfully performed first engine runs and initial taxi trials at the same facility last week.

Representing the third production of the A400M to have been manufactured to date by Airbus Military, following two French Air Force’s examples, the aircraft is scheduled to be transferred to the company’s delivery centre in September 2013.

According to the company, Turkish pilots, loadmasters and technicians have already started training on the new type at the Airbus Military International Training Centre at Seville.

"The flight test, which lasted for five and a half hours, moves the aircraft closer to its delivery to the air force later this year."

In May 2003, Turkey ordered around ten A400M aircraft to help address its cargo transport requirements.

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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.

Capable of carrying more than 100 fully equipped troops or a 30t payload, the aircraft features a six-wheel, high-flotation main landing gear, and short soft-field landing and takeoff capability, enabling troop and equipment transportation to Mali or Afghanistan.

Besides Turkey and France, the aircraft has also been ordered by the air forces of Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Malaysia and the UK.

Meanwhile Airbus Military is continuing the aircraft’s development programme by initiating a renewed phase of unpaved runway trials with the second production example, also called MSN2, at a test site in Zaragoza, Spain.

Image: Turkish Air Force’s first A400M aircraft during its maiden flight test. Photo: courtesy of Airbus Military.

Defence Technology