The German air force’s first Airbus Defence & Space A400M Atlas tactical transport completed its maiden flight on 14 October, ahead of its expected delivery in November.
Aircraft MSN18 took off from the company’s facility in Seville, Spain at 14:30 local time, carrying out a 4h 58min flight before returning to the facility.
The aircraft had a busy week, including revealing its German air force service markings for the first time on 10 October, and conducting a series of taxiing trials in the lead-up to the maiden flight.
The transport – of which the German air force has 53 on order – entered final assembly in Seville at the start of this year, and performed the first ground run of all four Europrop International TP400-D6 turboprop engines in late September.
“I am absolutely confident that the combination of strategic range with true tactical capability will contribute enormously to the service’s air mobility capability for military and humanitarian missions,” says experimental test pilot Thomas Wilhelm, who captained the flight. “It is a great privilege to have conducted the first flight of the German air force’s first A400M.”
Meanwhile, the first of the UK Royal Air Force’s 22 A400Ms completed its maiden flight on 1 September, conducting a 5h 5min sortie. The RAF is due to receive its first Atlas imminently.