In order to give you a better service Airbus uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies I agree



Delivery to the point of need

The A400M is the most advanced, proven and certified airlifter available, combining 21st century state-of-the-art technologies to fulfill the current and upcoming Armed Forces’ needs. The A400M combines the capability to carry strategic loads with the ability to deliver even into tactical locations with small and unprepared airstrips. And in addition it acts as a frontline-tanker for other aircraft. One aircraft, which can do the work of three – The A400M.

Orders & deliveries
Total Orders 174
Total Deliveries
Total in Operation

A400M – 3 missions in 1

Tactical Airlift Mission Capability

Tactical Airlift Mission Capability

Tactical airlift describes the transport and delivery of personel and goods directly into theatres of operation. This includes landing on frontline air bases, landing on (provisory) gras and sand strip but also the delivery of paratroopers or palets by air drop. Also on tactical delivery missions, the A400M delivers heavier and larger loads than its competitors.

Strategic Airlift Mission Capability

Strategic Airlift Mission Capability

Strategic airlift means the transport of strategic assets like outsized and heavy vehicles or equipments. To match the whole range of modern military vehicles, helicopters, modular relief equipment, intermodal containers and heavy engineering equipment, large cargo hold dimensions, combined with a high payload capacity are required. The A400M outperforms all of today’s available platforms in these terms The A400M has not only proven better range, speed, altitude, and payload performance than previous generation tactical airlifters, it also fills a gap between strategic and tactical lift.

Air-to-Air Refuelling Mission Capability

Air-to-Air Refuelling Mission Capability

Standalone, as a perfect complement to a strategic tanker or for front-line re-fuelling missions from tactical locations, the A400M refuels drogue-receivers and increase flexibility and availability of other air assets.

Key figures
Maximum range
4,800 nm (8900 km)
High speed
M 0.72
Cargo hold volume
340 m³
Delivery heavy payloads
Up to 37 tons

The A400M is the proven, certified and in operations Most Advanced Airlifter with 21st Century State-of-the-Art Technologies. The A400M can airlift in its large cargo hold most of the critical armed forces equipment which do not fit anymore in previous generation tactical airlifters such as a heavy helicopter or an heavy infantry fighting vehicle or an heavy humanitarian excavator. Thanks to its Combined Strategic and Tactical Capabilities, the A400M has proven better range/ speed/ altitude/ payload/ tactical performance than previous generation tactical airlifters enabling the delivery of Game-Changing Capabilities to the Point of Need that is to say next to a natural disaster or a theatre of operations where strategic airlifters cannot operate. The A400M enables cost-effective and rapid response to crises.

The A400M was launched in May 2003 to respond to the combined needs of seven European Nations regrouped within OCCAR (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Spain, Turkey and the UK), with Malaysia joining in 2005. The A400M made its first flight on 11 December 2009. The first production aircraft was delivered to the French Air Force in August 2013 and in service a year after. The A400M already has seen operational use with the French and Turkish Air Forces in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, African’ Sahel Region, Mali and in the Middle East to support the air operations over Iraq and Syria.

Tactical capabilities

Previous generation tactical airlifters have good tactical performance but cannot carry the outsize military and humanitarian relief loads because their cargo holds are too small. Current strategic aircraft are good outsize-load airlifters but are costly and have limited tactical capability as they cannot operate from soft fields. The A400M is a larger, more modern, truly versatile aircraft specifically designed for today’s requirements and those of the future. Thanks to its good tactical performance and the ability to carry outsize loads over long distances, the A400M fills the current logistic and tactical capability gap. Its cargo hold has an inside usable width of four metres / 13ft 1in, height of up to four metres / 13ft 1in, and usable length of 17.70 metres / 58 ft.


Cargo Hold

With a maximum payload of up to 37 tonnes (81 600 lb) and a volume of 340 m3(12,000 ft3), the A400M can carry numerous pieces of outside cargo including, vehicles and helicopters that are too large or too heavy for previous generation tactical airlifters, for example, an NH90 or a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, or an heavy infantry fighting vehicle for military purposes. It can also carry a heavy logistic truck, or a rescue boat, or large lifting devices, such as excavators or mobile cranes needed to assist in disaster relief.

Personnel and troops

It can accommodate 116 fully equipped troops or paratroops, seated in four longitudinal rows:

  • 54 sidewall seats permanently installed in the cargo hold can be easily folded against the sidewalls.
  • Two-centreline seat rows (62 seats) are fully removable to clear space for cargo. 

Short Unpaved Airstrip Performance

The A400M is the only large airlifter that can fly heavy and outsize equipment directly to the point of need. The A400M is designed to operate efficiently from austere airfields, with unpaved airstrips, short runways, limited space for parking or maneuvering and no ground facilities, conditions that present severe constraints for any tactical airlifter. The A400M is able to land on, and take-off from, any short, soft and rough unprepared CBR 6 airstrip, no longer than 750 m / 2,500 ft, while delivering up to 25 tonnes / 55,000 lb of payload, and with enough fuel on board for a 930 km / 500 nm return trip.

Autonomous Ground Operations

The autonomous capability of the A400M enables operations from remote austere airstrips. By minimising time on the ground, the A400M’ systems reduce the aircraft’s vulnerability to hostile action. The state-of-the-art digital Load Master Work Station (LMWS) enables full management of the Cargo Handling System and monitoring of aerial delivery operations. The cargo floor can be re-configured very quickly as rollers can be manually and easily turned upside down by a single operator in order to have either rollers down for flat floor configuration or rollers up for pallet configuration. The main landing gear can be kneeled to lower the rear of the aircraft in order to adjust the height from cargo floor to ground and reduce the crest angle formed between the Ramp and the Cargo Floor when the Ramp is deployed to the ground.

Strategic capabilities

High Speed / High Altitude
Thanks to its state of the art technologies, including its four unique EuroProp International (EPI) TP 400 turboprops, the A400M has the capability to fly distances up to 4,800 nm / 8,900 km, at a cruising altitude up to 37,000 ft (11,300 m), and at a speed of up to Mach 0.72, very similar to that of a turbofan powered airlifter. It can even fly up to 40,000 ft (12,200 m) for special operations.

This gives the potential for strategic/logistic missions. Flying faster and higher, can respond more rapidly to crises, because greater distances can be flown in a one crew duty day.  Also, as it can fly higher, it can cruise above poor weather and turbulence of found at medium altitudes, resulting in less fatigue for the crews, and passengers or troops alike.

Air-to-air refuelling

Designed from the outset to be a dual-role transport and tanker aircraft, the A400M provides air forces with a cost- effective way to acquire an air-to-air (AAR) refuelling capability in addition to a versatile logistic and tactical airlifter.

The standard A400M aircraft has much of the equipment and software provisions for 2-point air-to-air refuelling operations already installed as standard. Any A400M can be rapidly reconfigured to become a tactical 2-point tanker able to refuel probe-equipped receivers at their preferred speeds and altitudes.

With a basic fuel capacity of 63,500 litres (50,800 kg) which can be even further increased with additional Cargo Hold Tanks, the A400M is the most capable tactical tanker on the market.

Air-to-Air Refuelling can be done either through two wing mounted hose and drogue under-wing refuelling pods or through a centre-line.

The two hose and drogue under-wing refuelling pods can each provide a fuel flow of up to 400 US gal / 1,200 kg per minute to receiver aircraft. Refuelling can also be done through a centre-line Hose and Drum Unit (HDU) which provides a higher fuel flow of some 600 US gal / 1,800 kg per minute. The A400M is the only tactical tanker offering a third refuelling point for large aircraft refuelling and as an alternative to pods. To monitor day and night Air-to-Air Refuelling operations, the A400M can be fitted with 3 cameras controlled from the cockpit by the co-pilot, suppressing the need for visual observers.

Refuelling any Probe-Equipped Aircraft
The A400M is the only Tanker which can refuel the entire range of probe-equipped military aircraft at their preferred speeds and altitudes. Thanks to its powerful turboprops it can fly both at the low speeds and low altitudes to refuel slow receivers as well as at higher speeds and altitudes of about 300 knots and altitudes around 25,000 ft which are typically used for refuelling of fast jets, such as fighters (such as the Eurofighter) or large aircraft (such as the C295) or even another A400M for buddy refuelling.

Operational flexibility


The A400M excels in the airdrop role, being able to drop from both high and low altitudes. With the new A400M, which can carry more paratroopers than other Western-built military transport, Airbus Defence and Space is setting new standards in paradropping operations.

The A400M can accommodate up to 116 fully equipped paratroopers, carrying them to the drop zone at speeds up to 300kt, but dropping them at as little as 110kt to ensure minimum dispersion. Crucially, two streams of paratroopers can jump simultaneously from the ramp or the two side doors to further cut jumping time and scatter. Careful aerodynamic design reduces turbulence behind the aircraft and deployable baffles at the door exits protect jumpers from the airflow. The aircraft is also fitted with a winch, allowing any ´hung-up´ static-line paratrooper to be safely retrieved. The type’s low speed characteristics make the A400M ideal for dropping supplies from low altitude.

The A400M can airdrop up to 25 tonnes / 55 100 lb of containers or pallets through gravity and parachute extraction. The Computed Air Release Point (CARP) linked to the Automated Release System, automatically computes the release point for optimum delivery accuracy, including corrections for wind effects.

Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC)

The A400M is equipped with eight stretchers as standard which are permanently stored on board, but it can accommodate as many as 66 standard NATO stretchers and 25 medical personnel seated on troop seats. It has the range, speed, operating altitude and comfort to optimally serve the medevac role.


The A400M has been specifically designed for low detectability, low vulnerability and high survivability. Its high manoeuvrability, its enhanced low level flight capability, its steep descent and climb performance, as well as its short landing and take-off performance, its damage tolerant flight controls, its armoured cockpit and bullet-resistant windscreens, the use of inerting gas in the fuel tanks as well as the segregated routing of hydraulics and wiring give it excellent self-protection and survivability. With its minimal infra-red signature EPI TP 400 turboprops, highly responsive fly-by-wire flight controls, four independent control computers, comprehensive defensive aids, and damage tolerant controls, the A400M is hard to find, hard to hit and hard to kill.

A400M Infographic


The A400M is a unique aircraft offering game-changing capabilities that enable the delivery of heavy-lift helicopters or 32-tonne infantry fighting vehicles more quickly to more remote or desolate regions. Read less Read more

Latest A400M News

Airbus certifies A400M Cargo Hold Tanks refueling unit


Malaysian A400M transport aircraft undertakes flights to support relief efforts in Indonesia


Airbus to be largest exhibitor at FIDAE


Double A400M delivery launches celebrations of 20th anniversary of OCCAR Convention signature


Airbus confirms adjusted production rates for A380 and A400M programmes

en fr de es

Airbus signs Declaration of Intent with A400M Launch Customer Nations

en fr de es


Production of the 100th A400M

Have you ever wondered how the A400M is built? With production underway for the 100th aircraft, Airbus is providing an exclusive, ongoing look behind the curtain – taking you inside the various European facilities as this milestone A400M comes together over the months ahead.

Check the page to know more!

Our Defence portfolio







Back to top