Airbus Military has continued its flight test programme to prove the A400M's ability to undergo inflight refuelling, with a new series of proximity trials having been performed behind a C160 Transall.

The French air force tanker did not pass fuel during the tests, which involved an A400M making 20 "dry" contacts with its trailing hose and drogue. One of the connections was sustained for 12min, which Airbus Military says is "representative of a normal refuelling operation" for a large aircraft.

 A400M Transall - DGA


An image of the combination supplied by France's Cazaux flight test centre identifies the A400M involved as F-WWMT, or development aircraft "Grizzly 1".

Flight-test activities involving the Transall will resume early next year, and will for the first time include the aircraft's delivery of fuel to an A400M, the company says.

The A400M Atlas will replace the Transall in French air force service, with Paris due to receive its first of 50 examples during the second quarter of 2013.

An earlier series of dry contacts was made behind a Royal Air Force Vickers VC10 tanker; a type which is due to be retired from operational service by 31 March 2013.

Source: Flight International