Airbus Military rolled out the first complete A400M military transport aircraft today. The event took place at the A400M Final Assembly Line facility in Seville, Spain. His Majesty Juan Carlos I, King of Spain attended the event. The A400M is the first new military transport aircraft of its category designed in over 30 years, with twice the capacity and twice the payload of the current aircraft types such as the C-130s.
The aircraft can carry a payload of up to 37 tonnes over ranges of up to 4700 nm. Designed for mission versatility the A400M will be able to carry all loads and vehicles in the European Staff Requirement (ESR) inventory, serve as an aerial delivery platform and act as an in-flight refueller for both fast jets and helicopters.
Launched under a single contract in 2003 with 180 orders for seven European launch customers, the A400M represents the most ambitious military procurement programme ever undertaken in Europe. The launch customer nations, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom were subsequently joined by Malaysia and South Africa, which recognised the potential of the new airlifter for their own requirements and brought the total number of commitments to 192. The initial contract, worth some 20 billion Euros was signed with a single interface between Airbus Military and the European defense procurement organization (Organisation Conjointe de Coordination en matière d’Armement – OCCAR), the contractual body representing all seven European customer nations.