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Airbus's A400M aircraft completes maiden flight test

Airbus A400M military transport aircraft flies over the skies of Spain. Image credit: Airbus

SEVILLE (BNS): European aerospace company Airbus's A400M military transport aircraft has successfully completed its maiden test flight which lasted for 3 hours and 47 minutes, Airbus has announced.

Powered by four 11,000-shp turboprop engines, the aircraft lifted off at 10:15 am from Seville airport in Spain, which is home to the aircraft's final assembly line.

The six-member crew tested the flight's functioning, including its speed-range, lowering and raising of the landing gear and high-lift devices at altitude as the aircraft was joined in formation by a Spanish Air Force F/A-18 fighter.

“We have had a very successful first flight – the take-off performance was impressive, we explored a lot of the operational flight envelope, and it was a delight to operate in such a well-designed cockpit with its easy interface to all the normal and military systems,” chief test pilot Edward Strongman said.

The A400M programme was launched six years ago. Airbus has so far received an order to supply 184 such aircraft to eight countries.

The multi-mission airplane has been designed to deliver huge payloads to tactical forward bases and can evacuate a full complement of refugees or casualties from remote areas.

The aircraft is fully equipped to perform air-to-air refuelling and also able to receive fuel while in flight.

With its high cruise speed, long range and voluminous cargo hold, the A400M will also serve as a key element in strategic force projection, the company said.

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