Belgium’s first A400M airlifter is being prepared for its first flight, following the first of the Luxembourg Armed Forces’s first unit in April this year.
The aircraft, with construction number MSN106, left the Airbus paint shop on May 5, sporting Belgian colors and the 15th Air Transport Wing logo.
In the coming days, it will undergo its final ground tests before making its first test flight in Spanish airspace soon.
Belgium and Luxembourg reached an agreement on the joint operation of the A400M in 2001, under which Belgium was to buy seven units and Luxembourg one. According to local reports, Luxembourg is paying close to $170 million for the aircraft.
The A400M combines the capability to carry strategic loads with the ability to deliver into tactical locations with small and unprepared airstrips and can act as a frontline-tanker.
The airlifter has a range of 4,800 nm (8,900 km), 340 cubic meters of cargo space and a payload capacity of up to 37 tons. According to Airbus, the A400M can fly at an altitude of up to 40,000 ft/12,200 m for special operations.