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.

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