The Belgian Air Force has taken delivery of the first of seven A400M military transport aircraft from Airbus.
The aircraft was handed over at the A400M final assembly line in Seville, Spain, and subsequently performed its ferry flight to the 15th Wing Air Transport in Melsbroek, Belgium, where the aircraft will be based. The aircraft was delivered after completing its first flight in May this year.
This A400M, known as MSN106, will be operated within a binational unit composed of a total of eight aircraft, seven from the Belgian Air Force and one from the Luxembourg Armed Forces. Belgium and Luxembourg reached an agreement on the joint operation of the A400M in 2001.
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.
The second A400M for Belgium will be delivered in early 2021.
“With the delivery of this aircraft all launch customers are now equipped with the A400M. MSN106 will join Luxemburg’s aircraft in the binational unit operated jointly with Belgium. Despite challenges due to Covid-19, our teams have achieved all 10 aircraft deliveries scheduled this year, bringing the global fleet in operation to 98 aircraft,” Alberto Gutierrez, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space, said.