Less than 40 months after its maiden flight, the A400M today received full Type Certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). This achievement marks a critical step towards delivery of the first aircraft to the French Air Force. The award of the Type Certificate makes the A400M the world’s first large military transport to be designed and certified to civil standards from its inception. Military Initial Operating Clearance is ongoing, paving the way towards first delivery.
“Certifying the A400M to civil as well as military standards has been a huge challenge for us, our suppliers and EASA itself. But by providing a firm framework for certification from day one, to globally accepted standards, both we and the operators will see important benefits as the aircraft matures in service and new customers join the programme.” Cedric Gautier, Airbus Military Head of A400M programme said.
During the certification programme the A400M has undergone exhaustive testing of its handling qualities throughout the flight envelope in normal and failure conditions; demonstrated outstanding performance in the heat of the Gulf, cold of Sweden and Canada, and at the high altitude of La Paz, Bolivia; and satisfactorily completed more than 300 hours of function and reliability testing to demonstrate the robustness of its TP400 engines and systems.
Additionally it has begun tests of more advanced military functions such as air-to-air refuelling, air-dropping of supplies and paratroopers, and low-level flight – all with highly encouraging results. The five-strong fleet of “Grizzly” development aircraft has now completed some 4,800 hours in the air during more than 1,600 flights and will continue intensively to expand the A400M’s military capabilities.
Airbus designed the A400M airlifter to combine both tactical and strategic/logistic missions. With its cargo hold specifically designed to carry the outsize equipment needed today for both military and humanitarian disaster relief missions. According to Airbus, the multipurpose approach enables the A400M to deliver missions with smaller fleets and less operational investment.