Airbus A400M: New RAF Transport Aircraft Unveiled
Ministry Of Defence (UK)
RAF's new transport aircraft is unveiled
The first Airbus A400M, the RAF's future transport aircraft, rolled out today from the EADS production facility in Seville, Spain, in front of an international audience including senior RAF and MoD officials.
Long-Range Turbo-Prop Airbus A400M
The long-range turbo-prop aircraft is expected to take to the air for the first time later in the year. The A400M will replace part of the RAF C-130 fleet early in the next decade with 25 on order for the UK.
Minister for Defence Equipment & Support, Baroness Taylor said:
"The A400M will be the RAF's new state-of-the-art transport aircraft for the 21st century. Capable of carrying a mixture of troops, equipment, vehicles and helicopters to the heart of our operations these aircraft will be the backbone of support to our troops. Their ability to take-off and land on short makeshift strips will enable us to deploy our forces quickly and effectively around the world on a variety of operations. Today's roll-out marks significant progress in the programme and I look forward to its first flight later this year."
Air Marshal Sir Barry Thornton, Chief of Materiel (Air) in MoD's Defence Equipment & Support organisation said after watching the aircraft roll out:
"This eagerly awaited new aircraft will support the deployment of all three Services in peace, crisis and wartime roles. It will be a highly reliable and capable aircraft that will make a significant difference to the Royal Air Force's strategic and tactical airlift."
UK-based companies are playing a significant part in the project, with the largely composite wing design and production taking place at Filton, Bristol, and Rolls-Royce in the UK playing a major role in the engine consortium.
1. The aircraft will be capable of carrying a 32 tonne payload over 2000 miles, and can carry up to 116 paratroopers. Cargo can be dropped either by parachute, gravity extraction from the loading ramp, or by landing on rough landing strips. Flying at low level or at altitude, the A400M will be able to travel at speeds comparable with jet transports. The crew of 3, comprising 2 pilots and a loadmaster, will benefit from advanced technology taken from other Airbus programmes.
2. The fleet will be based at the RAF transport aircraft hub at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
3. Nations participating in the project include the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Turkey and Luxembourg. South Africa, Chile and Malaysia have placed orders or signed letters of intent.
4. In addition to the Airbus plant at Filton and several Rolls-Royce plants a number of other companies with UK manufacturing facilities are contributing to the project. A list is obtainable from Airbus UK or can be found at http://www.european-defence.co.uk/A400m.html
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