The Airbus A400M airlifter has cleared the airdrop test by successfully dropping 24 1t container delivery systems (CDS) in a single operation.

Conducted at Cazaux in France by Airbus Defence and Space, the test involved loading each of the 48in x 48in containers in two rows inside the cargo hold of the airlifter and releasing them with the help of gravity.

The team used the containers that are mostly used in military and humanitarian operations.

The successful airdrop test shows the maximum capacity of the airlifter and serves as a key contractual requirement for the A400M.

When compared to the A400M, the Atlas airlifter can lift a maximum of 32t of cargo.

In addition to France, the A400M will be used by the UK, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Malaysia and Spain.

The French Air Force took delivery of its fifth A400M in early September, with the aircraft now at its Orléans-Bricy air base. The service will eventually operate a fleet of 50 of the Europrop International TP400-D6-engined transports.

Image: Containers being dropped from the Airbus A400M airlifter during the test. Photo: courtesy of Airbus Defence and Space.

Defence Technology