Airbus Military has received the initial type certification for the A400M new generation airlifter, marking a key milestone on the road to first delivery around the turn of the year. This first approval, known as a Restricted Type Certificate (RTC), was presented by European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Executive Director Patrick Goudou at an internal ceremony today in Toulouse, France.
The RTC is a critical step towards the award of full civil type certification which is expected in mid-2012 following the completion of 300 hours of function and reliability (F&R) flight tests, and towards military Initial Operating Clearance later in the year.
As part of the flight-test activity the A400M has recently visited countries in Latin America and South East Asia, and in the upcoming period will travel to the “home” nations that ordered the aircraft and the Middle East in the frame of the F&R tests.
The fleet of five A400M development aircraft continues to make good progress in the intense flight-test campaign in order to ensure delivery of a reliable aircraft to our customer and has now completed more than 3,100 hours in the air, despite continued engine challenges.
Cedric Gautier, Airbus Military Head of A400M programme, said: “Achieving civil and military certification of the A400M as foreseen in the programme is an immensely challenging task, but the process of working on both simultaneously provides important benefits for our customers in the future. It is deeply satisfying to receive this initial certification, confirming the good progress that has been made towards the delivery of the first aircraft.”
The A400M is an all-new military airlifter designed to meet the needs of the world’s armed forces in the 21st Century. Thanks to its most advanced technologies, it is able to fly higher, faster and further, while retaining high manoeuvrability, low speed, and short, soft and rough airfield capabilities. It combines 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, it can bring this material quickly and directly to where it is most needed. Conceived to be highly reliable, dependable, and with great survivability, the multipurpose A400M can do more with less, implying smaller fleets and less investment from the operator. The A400M is the most cost efficient and versatile airlifter ever conceived and absolutely unique in its capabilities.