Airbus Military has confirmed that one of its A400M “Grizzly” test aircraft will be heading to Chile to participate in the FIDAE air show from late this month.
Taking the A400M to Latin America at this time has less to do with immediate sales prospects than finding a suitable location to conduct high-altitude operational trials. These will be conducted at Cochabamba and La Paz in Bolivia using Grizzly 2, Airbus says. The aircraft will be in Chile from 26-28 March, with an A380 also in attendance.
Confirmation that the A400M will be at FIDAE as a static attraction came on 8 March; the same day that Airbus parent company EADS briefly updated the programme’s status during its annual results presentation.
“Flight testing on the A400M continues at maximum capacity with five test aircraft aiming for a timely achievement of first customer delivery,” says EADS, referring to a target previously set for by the end of March 2013 with the French air force.
Earlier this decade Chile was looking at buying up to three A400Ms, but more recently has shifted its interest to possible industrial collaboration on Embraer’s promising KC-390 transport/tanker. Sufficient workshare could lure Santiago in ordering up to six of the type: a subject we’re sure to hear more about during FIDAE, which starts on 27 March.