Airbus Defence & Space has secured approval for one of the A400M tactical transport’s long-awaited key contractual capabilities, after demonstrating the dispatch of a maximum 58 paratroops from each of its two side doors.

Completed last month in cooperation with France’s DGA defence procurement agency, the certification campaign involved more than 1,000 jumps by Belgian and French troops, the manufacturer says. The activity also drew on “new capability development methodologies based on recording and 3D modelling of paratrooper jump trajectories”, it adds.

A400M paratroops

Source: Airbus Defence & Space

File image of A400M conducting paratroop drop tests in 2019

A maximum of 58 paratroops had exited from one side door during tests conducted last year, along with lines of 40 from each side simultaneously. Proving the ability to safely deploy a full load of 116 personnel had been extensively delayed, due to the risk of paratroops crossing behind the aircraft.

Airbus conducted the first freefall paratroop drops from one of its Grizzly development aircraft in November 2010.

“This certification completes a challenging journey to achieve this next-generation capability,” notes Airbus Defence & Space chief executive Dirk Hoke. “The achievement reinforces the strategic value the A400M already offers to air force operators and society, as demonstrated during Covid-19 times,” he says.