- French Air Force officials believe in the A400M and have asked the press to “stop A400M bashing”. The aircraft is seen as a vital backbone of the French air fleet in theatres of operation.
Since Airbus DS improved the set-up of its A400M teams some months ago, “everything is working much better”, French Air Force officials are quoted as saying in a recent online article on Lepoint.fr. “I anticipate a major ramp-up in March 2017,” said Colonel Michel Gallazini, commander of the Orléans airbase 123 where the French Atlas A400Ms are stationed. Four aircraft are available on the tarmac, six more are currently being retrofitted by Airbus DS to the latest standard by year end. The aircraft will then be in line with the expectations of French Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian. “The A400M bashing in the press has to stop,” added Lieutenant-Colonel Diane, the airforce engineer who is responsible for the operational maintenance of the French A400Ms. “Three of my four A400Ms are available today.”
Airbus DS is continuously perfecting the military capabilities of the A400M, such as take-off and landing on unpaved runways, the Defensive Aids Subsystem, aerial drops and air-to-air refueling. On-time delivery is absolutely crucial as “delays in A400M functionality result in death and injuries among our comrades,” another officer is quoted as saying. Whenever you don’t have an aircraft supplying an advanced base, you need vehicles taking roads covered in rogue explosive devices. The A400M has been deployed by the French and Turkish air forces to theatres of operations in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Mali and the Middle East.