Airbus Military has released images of its A400M undergoing loading trials involving the Eurocopter EC725 and NH Industries NH90 helicopters.

Performed earlier this month in Toulouse and at Holzdorf air base in Germany respectively, the work with development aircraft "Grizzly 4" supports the airframer's advance towards the A400M's initial operational capability (IOC).

A400m helicopter cargo loading,
A400m helicopter cargo loading

Airbus Military

"The tests were the first demonstrations of the A400M's cargo-carrying capability using a real aircraft, and represent the most challenging loads in terms of their dimensions required for IOC," Airbus Military says.

The trials using the combat search-and-rescue EC725 and NH90 tactical transport will be followed by loading a variety of other military equipment into the A400M. The French air force should take delivery of the first production example around the end of this year, with aircraft MSN7 being targeted at a 23 August first flight from Seville, Spain.

Source: Flight International