The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has received the seventh A400M aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space, strengthening its transport fleet capability to carry out extended world-wide tasks.
Currently, the RAF is operating four A400M aircraft from Brize Norton, while three others are being fitted with UK-specific systems required to operate in hostile environments.
UK Defence Minister Philip Dunne said: "This significant milestone marks an important achievement for all those who have been involved in the UK’s A400M Atlas programme, from the MoD and the RAF through to our industry partners.
"Those flying the aircraft are hugely impressed with its capability, and with a protected Defence budget and our investment of £160bn in equipment, we look forward to growing the UK A400M Force over the coming months."
The A400M is a multi-national military transport aircraft designed to serve as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities. It is powered by four EuroProp TP400-D6 turboprop engines.
Powered by four EuroProp TP400-D6 turboprop engines, the A400M will have a lifting capacity of up to 30t, and can also be configured to conduct long-range cargo and troop transport, medical evacuation, aerial refuelling and electronic surveillance missions.
Moreover, the aircraft will be able to operate both at low and high-level altitudes and to deploy troops and equipment between and within theatres of operation using either parachute or landing on short, unprepared or semi-prepared strips.
UK MoD Chief of Materiel (Air), Air Marshal Simon Bollom said: "The fleet now has the core capabilities required to train the instructors and crews, and to undertake logistics missions.
"As the fleet continues to build, more advanced military capabilities will be introduced as planned over the coming months including aerial delivery of stores, parachuting and advanced self-protection capabilities."
The new aircraft are scheduled to replace RAF’s decommissioned fleet of C1/C3 (C-130K) Hercules transport aircraft in 2020.
Image: The RAF’s seventh A400M. Photo: © Crown copyright.