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Aero India 2023

A400M airlifter performs air-to-air refuelling trials

Airbus Military has performed an initial series of air-to-air refuelling trials of the A400M airlifter. An Airbus Military photo

MADRID (BNS): Airbus Military has performed an initial series of air-to-air refuelling trials of the A400M airlifter using a Vickers VC10 tanker of the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) operating from Toulouse.

A400M development aircraft Grizzly 1 executed a series of dry contacts with the VC10´s fuselage-mounted hose drum unit (HDU) on the first day of the trials on 15th February, a company statement said.

The RAF is one of the launch customers for the A400M built to carry outsize loads such as helicopters, heavy engineering equipment and armoured vehicles.

Designed specifically to operate from short sandy gravely surface, the A400M has excellent landing gear floatation characteristics, allowing the delivery of large amounts of payload into low-strength semi-prepared airstrips. Its autonomous capability enables operations from remote austere airstrips loaded/unloaded by a single loadmaster without assistance from ground.

Meanwhile, Airbus Military’s second A400M development aircraft - Grizzly 2 - visited Kiruna in northern Sweden for four days of cold weather trials at the beginning of February.

The team experienced temperatures down to -21ºC and successfully achieved all the planned test points during a programme that focused on the powerplants.

The A400M was accompanied by an Airbus A340-300 carrying support equipment and the personnel team. These tests followed preliminary cold weather work in Hamburg last December and will be followed by further tests in more extreme temperatures at Kiruna and other locations this winter and next, it said.

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