The development and certification programme for Airbus Military’s A400M has marked new achievements – with the third aircraft completing its initial test mission, and the total number of hours logged by the current trio of next-generation airlifters surpassing the 400 flight hour and 100 test flight milestones.
The no. 3 A400M made its maiden flight on 9 July from Seville, Spain, which is home to the four-engine airlifter’s final assembly line. It was airborne at the same time as the first and second A400Ms, which were performing separate flight evaluations, underscoring the programme’s active flight test and development pace.
This latest A400M carries a medium flight test instrumentation load – compared to the heavy complement of instrumentation on aircraft no. 1 and no. 2 – and will be utilized for auto-flight and aircraft systems development, along with route proving.
A total of five A400Ms will be involved in the military airlifter’s 3,700-hour flight test and certification programme.
The A400M is an all-new military aircraft conceived for the airlift and transportation requirements of the world’s armed forces, today and tomorrow. Powered by four 11,000-shp.-class turboprop engines, the A400M is able to fly higher, faster and farther than other military airlifters, while retaining high manoeuvrability, good low speed handling characteristics, and the capability to operate from short, soft and rough airfields.
Airbus Military is bringing one of the A400Ms to next week’s Farnborough International Airshow in the UK, where the aircraft will be on static display and is to participate in the event’s daily flight demonstrations from Monday, 19 July to Thursday, 22 July.