France takes delivery of 9th A400M Atlas
The French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) recently received the ninth series production A400M Atlas military transport aircraft for the air force. The aircraft carries the manufacturer’s serial number MSN33.
Beyond the logistical capabilities of its predecessors, this aircraft is the first to have tactical capabilities, including in particular the ability to drop paratroopers and supplies, a self-protection suite, the ability to operate on semi-prepared landing strips and the ability to refuel combat and transport aircraft in flight. It can also itself be refuelled in flight.
The goal of the Ministry of Defence is to have, by the end of 2016, six A400M operational aircraft with these capabilities. The MSN33 is the first of them. Two other similar aircraft are to be delivered before the end of the year, and three of the aircraft currently in service will be retrofitted to the capability standards of MSN33.
A tactical military transport aircraft with strategic range, the A400M, produced by Airbus Defence and Space, is designed to carry up to 37 tonnes of equipment and carry out all transportation-related missions, including the inter-theatre and infra-theatre transport, assault landing on summary airstrips, air dropping of personnel and equipment, including from very high altitudes and inflight refuelling.