Nov 18, 2014
RAF Takes Delivery of First A400M Atlas
The first of 22 aircraft ordered by the British was signed over to the RAF last Friday and delivered Monday from the Airbus Defence and Space assembly line in Seville, Spain.
Britain joins France and Turkey as operators of the A400M. Next in line to receive its first aircraft is Germany, the first of 53 aircraft on order. Germany’s is scheduled to be handed over by the end of the month.
Airbus has orders for 174 aircraft from eight nations. Other nations involved in the pan-European program are Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain. Malaysia has also signed up as the first export customer.
The RAF will use the aircraft to prepare for flight crew training and familiarization ahead of a formal acceptance ceremony scheduled for Nov. 27 at the Brize Norton, where Prime Minister David Cameron is the local member of Parliament.
A second A400M is on schedule to be delivered to the RAF soon after the formal ceremony and a third aircraft is due to be handed over to the British by the end of the year.
The first RAF A400M squadron is planned to stand up next summer
Britain is receiving delivery of their first aircraft earlier than originally planned after the MoD agreed to a production slot swap with France.
The British aircraft are scheduled to eventually replace the RAF’s fleet of Lockheed Martin C-130Js. The Air Force also operates a number of Boeing C-17s and the Airbus A330 MRTT tanker transport aircraft as part of its airlift fleet.