The Republic of Kazakhstan has placed an order for two Airbus A400M Atlas aircraft and becomes the ninth operator together with Germany, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Malaysia and Luxembourg.
With delivery of the first aircraft scheduled in 2024, the contract includes a complete suite of maintenance and training support. Together with the agreement a Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed to collaborate on Maintenance and Overhaul services and with a first step of creating a local Airbus C295 maintenance centre.
«The A400M Atlas will become the cornerstone of Kazakhstan’s tactical and strategic airlifting operations», said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. «This new export contract brings the total number of A400M Atlas orders to 176 aircraft, a figure that we expect to increase in the near future. With more than 100 aircraft delivered and 100,000 flight hours in operation, the A400M Atlas has proven its capabilities, reaching a state of maturity that many potential customers were waiting for».
With the capacity to accommodate the country’s inventory and conduct military, civil and humanitarian missions, the A400M Atlas will enable Kazakhstan to quickly respond to any mission by rapidly deploying game-changing capabilities over long distances and enabling effective access to remote areas.
Airbus has reached 100 A400M Atlas deliveries with MSN111, the tenth A400M Atlas for the Spanish Air Force. The aircraft performed its ferry flight on 24th May from Seville to Zaragoza, where the Spanish A400M Atlas fleet is based.
In the same week, the A400M Atlas global fleet also achieved the 100,000 flight-hours landmark performing missions worldwide for all eight customer nations.
All A400M Atlas operators have been able to operate the aircraft intensively for Covid-19 emergency response missions, as well as conduct joint, collaborative operations.
These milestones clearly demonstrate the maturity of the A400M Atlas programme on all fronts.
Recently the A400M Atlas successfully conducted a major helicopter air-to-air refuelling certification flight test campaign in coordination with the DGA (French Directorate General of Armaments), completing the majority of its certification objectives, including the first simultaneous refueling of two helicopters.
The A400M Atlas is already able to drop up to 116 paratroopers, via simultaneous dispatch from the side doors with automatic parachute opening, or from the ramp with automatic parachute opening or in freefall, day and night. Recent tests were completed in Spain, in collaboration with the UK Royal Air Force parachute test team, to expand up to 25,000 feet (7,600 metres) for automatic parachute opening – and up to 38,000ft (11,582 metres) for free fall.
The A400M Atlas also completed additional tests to expand its air drop capability, including multiple platforms with parachute extraction (23 tonnes). France and Spain participated in these flights. Another way to deliver cargo on austere airstrips without handling equipment was also certified: Combat offload of up to 19 tonnes of pallets (one pass) or 25 tonnes (two passes) on paved or unpaved airstrips.
The A400M Atlas also achieved a new decisive milestone after the certification flights of its Automatic Low Level Flight capability for Instrumental Meteorological Conditions (IMC). Using navigation systems and terrain databases, without the need of a terrain-following radar, this is a first for a military transport aircraft. This makes the aircraft less detectable in hostile areas and less susceptible to threats while conducting operations in hostile environments.
In terms of collaborative missions, the Spanish Air Force supported the French Armée de l´Air in the transport of a Caracal helicopter from Cazaux (France) to Tucson (USA), using a Spanish A400M Atlas. The flight was used by CLAEX (Spanish Logistics Center for Armament and Experimentation) and CECTA (Air Transport Cargo Evaluation Cell) to validate the loading process on Spanish A400Ms.
Key military missions last year included the delivery of almost 40 tonnes of food, water, fuel and ammunition by a single French A400M Atlas to troops based in the Sahel region of Africa, the first A400M Atlas to airdrop supplies in a country outside of Europe.
In addition, Germany became the first A400M Atlas customer to use the A400M Atlas as a tanker in real missions providing support in the «Counter Daesh» operation in Jordan.
Life-saving medevac missions during COVID-19
2020 and 2021 also saw the use of the A400M Atlas in civil emergency response roles during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, not least for civil medical evacuation (medevac) duties – with Airbus providing critical support for air force operators – as well as for transporting key medical relief supplies. The versatility of the aircraft also allowed a rapid conversion to medevac configuration, where installed critical care modules provided airborne intensive care units.
With the maturity, versatility and unique capabilities proven in operations all around the world, A400M Atlas is proving to be a game changer for military airlift and humanitarian missions in the 21st century.
The Directorate General of Armament (DGA) on November 22, 2017 took delivery of the twelfth A400M Atlas military transport aircraft for the French Air Force. The aircraft carries the serial number MSN62.
Beyond the tactical and logistical capabilities of its predecessors, this aircraft is the first to be equipped with 2 pods for refueling aircraft in flight. Other aircraft in the fleet will be progressively equipped with this capability during retrofit campaigns. The MSN 62 will fly to its home base at Orléans-Bricy airbase in the coming days.
A tactical military transport aircraft with a strategic reach, the A400M, produced by Airbus Defense and Space, is unmatched in the global market. Equipped with four turboprops, it is designed to carry up to 37 tons of equipment and carry out all missions related to transport, including inter- and intra-theater links, assault landings on rough terrain, the personnel and equipment delivery by parachute – including from very high altitudes – air refueling and medical evacuations.
The Ministry of the Armed Forces will have received 15 A400Ms by 2019, in accordance with the Military Programming Law 2014-2019.