With deliveries of its A400M having taken off earlier this year, Airbus Military is showcasing the capabilities of its “Atlas” tactical transport at a Dubai air show for the first time.
Taking part in the flying display each day above the Dubai World Central site, MSN6 is the last of five “Grizzly” development aircraft to have been involved in extensive flight-testing since December 2009.
The European company handed over its first of a currently contracted 174 A400Ms to lead user the French air force in July, with a second example having arrived at the service’s Orléans air base on 13 November. Turkey is also poised to receive its first of 10 of the aircraft, with future deliveries also to be made to Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and the UK, plus export buyer Malaysia.
While the planned delivery of a fourth aircraft late this year has been pushed back into 2014 with the agreement of the French air force, Airbus Military parent company EADS says: “The industrial ramp-up is well underway.”
Powered by four Europrop International TP400-D6 turboprop engines, and with a maximum payload capacity of 37t, the A400M has been designed to replace Europe’s legacy-model Lockheed Martin C-130s and C160 Transalls. Originally due to have entered use more than three years ago, the type is now being offered to potential additional international customers – including in the Gulf region – for delivery slots starting in 2016.
Airbus Military is also showcasing its two other main products this week, with one of the United Arab Emirates’ three new A330 multi-role tanker transports on static display, along with a C295 medium transport built for the Royal Air Force of Oman