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September 8, 2022

RAF begins low-level parachute trials with A400M Atlas C Mk1

The trials are being conducted to take over low-level parachuting capability from the C-130J retiring next year.

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has started conducting low-level parachute trials using the A400M Atlas C Mk1 aircraft to further expand its capabilities.

Planning and execution of the recent test were undertaken by the RAF’s 206 Squadron.

It is the Heavy Aircraft Test & Evaluation Squadron and Joint Air Delivery Test and Evaluation Unit of the British Air Force.

The latest low-level parachute trials involved the participation of paratroopers from the British Army’s 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team and 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines.

Together, the paratroopers conducted several sorties to execute ‘mass para insertion’ over the Salisbury Plain in England for the first time.

The trials were coordinated by the RAF Despatchers from the Parachute Test Team assigned under the 206 Squadron.

During the test, RAF Despatchers operated the aircraft and were responsible for assisting the parachute jumpers in safely handling and checking the equipment.

Additionally, the despatchers performed other final checks to ensure the safety of the jumpers before sending them off from the aircraft.

The recent efforts contribute to the continuous advancements of the A400M Atlas’ tactical capabilities, with low-level parachuting expected to be included soon.

Atlas Programme senior responsible owner air commodore Martin said: “This significant step is the result of a lot of hard work by the whole team and keeps Programme on track to transfer low-level and high-altitude parachuting capability from C130J Hercules onto Atlas next year.

“Adding both parachuting capabilities to the range of other tactical capabilities that are already in service such as the ability to air-drop supplies, air-to-air refuelling, and landing on natural surfaces puts the Atlas in a good position to take over from the Hercules in 2023.”

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