The UK Royal Air Force is on track to achieve delayed initial operational capability (IOC) with the Airbus Defence & Space A400M later this year, with further deliveries expected from next month.

One of the service’s current three A400M Atlas tactical transports was open to the public at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), which was staged at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire from 17 to 19 July. Aircraft ZM402 had been delivered to its Brize Norton air base in Oxfordshire in early March.

RAF A400M RIAT 2015 - Craig Hoyle Flightglobal

Craig Hoyle/Flightglobal

The first of the RAF’s eventual 22 A400Ms was handed over late last year, at which point the IOC milestone was due to be met in March, on the availability of seven aircraft and supporting personnel.

Another two of the RAF’s aircraft are likely to be delivered in August, with two others already being used to support testing of its defensive aids system configuration.

Further UK examples could also follow before year-end, according to Airbus. The company last month said that it expects to hand over at least 13 A400Ms to customers this year, with four more potentially to be transferred, “subject to flight-test results due this summer”.