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French Air Force receives 17th A400M Atlas airlifter

A400M Airbus
Illustration: Photo: Airbus

The French Air Force has received the 17th A1400M Atlas airlifter from Airbus, as the aircraft landed at the Orléans-Bricy Air Base on April 24.

France is set to receive further eight units by the end of 2025, bringing the total number of aircraft in its inventory to 25.

“The A400M has again recently demonstrated its versatility when transferring patients affected by the Covid-19, transporting essential goods to French Polynesia and the Reunion island,” French defense minister Florence Parly said commenting the delivery.

“It is also essential in the context of the Barkhane operation in the Sahel for air deliveries or the engagement of paratrooper units.”

The aircraft has been in service with the French Air Force since 2015.

Airbus launched the A400M development in 2003 to respond to the combined needs of seven European nations – Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The A400M can carry up to 116 fully equipped paratroopers or 37 tonnes of payload, with additional capability as an air-to-air refuel aircraft.

The A400M has the capability to fly distances up to 4,800 nm/8,900 km, at a cruising altitude up to 37,000 ft/11,300 m, and at a speed of up to Mach 0.72, very similar to that of a turbofan powered airlifter. It can even fly up to 40,000 ft/12,200 m for special operations.

Airbus has a total of over 170 units on order.