The first Airbus A400M military transporter rolled out from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain today, marking a key milestone in the development for this new multi-role airlifter.
In a ceremony presided by His Majesty Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, the aircraft was presented to an international audience of 1,500 invited guests, which included hundreds of Airbus employees wearing commemorative white T-shirts, military officials from participating countries and journalists. The unveiling was highlighted by a colourful fanfare of traditional Spanish music, dance and aerial gymnastics.
The A400M represents the most ambitious military procurement programme ever undertaken in Europe, and the aircraft features electronic flight controls, carbon composite structures and an automated handling system - all which were incorporated to bring new standards of operability and safety for military aircrews. It is a true multi-mission platform, designed for strategic operations, tactical missions and in-theatre aerial refuelling.
"The A400M is a winner in its own right and in a class of its own," said Carlos Suarez, the Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Military.
EADS CEO Louis Gallois added: "The partners in Airbus Military have made tremendous efforts to develop this aircraft, and I share your pride."
Commitments for the A400M now total 192, with the European launch customers (Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom) subsequently joined by Malaysia and South Africa.
Tom Williams, Airbus Executive Vice-president - Programmes, confirmed that the A400M's first flight is expected to take place at the end of September or in October. Meanwhile, the second aircraft is taking shape in the final assembly line.
Watch the video highlights