Luftwaffe Airbus A400M @Eindhoven Air Base


The Airbus A400M of the German Air Force is stationed at Wunstorf Air Base near Hanover and the aircraft are assigned to Lufttransportgeschwader 62 (LTG-62, Air Transport Squadron 62). The first German A400M was handed over to the Luftwaffe on December 18, 2014 and was handed over to Wunstorf on December 19. Delivery of the 53 aircraft destined for the Luftwaffe will last until 2026. A total of 37 of the 53 German A400M will be equipped for tactical missions. These aircraft have additional self-protection and electronic equipment on board. At the site in Wunstorf, pilots for the A400M are trained in a multinational training center. In addition to the German crews, the French crews on the Airbus A400M are also trained here. This complex has a flight simulator for the A400M, which has been developed by Airbus Defense and Space and manufactured by Thales. This simulator entered service on January 8, 2015. In the first three years, the intention was to train 60 pilots for the A400M. There is also a cargo bay trainer manufactured by Rheinmetall Defense Electronics in Wunstorf. This cargo bay is a model of the real cargo bay of the A400M and serves for the training of the load masters and air handling personnel at the airport. International Technicians practice maintenance procedures with the Cockpit Maintenance Operations Simulator (CMOS). In short, all facilities are available in the training center at Wunstorf to train the entire crew of an A400M squadron.

Until mid-2015, the Airbus A400M was intended to be the only transport aircraft in its class for the German armed forces after the Transall was to be phased out. However, plans were announced in 2016 to additionally purchase a small number of Lockheed C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft for tactical use at smaller airfields. The planes were to be used for use by special forces and for evacuation operations. This fleet of Hercules aircraft was to be purchased in collaboration with France. The first aircraft for this Franco-German cooperation have already been delivered and are based at the French air base Evreux. It is clear that the A400M still suffers from various teething problems. The Luftwaffe complains about a low level of operational deployability and quality deficiencies in the aircraft's first flight operations. Of the eight A400Ms that were on average available to the Air Force in 2017, only three (38% of the fleet) were on average ready for deployment. The lowest point of this deployability crisis took place in November 2017, when no aircraft were deployable. The tasks then had to be carried out with the C-160D Transall, which was actually already written off. In June 2018, according to the Luftwaffe, of the 19 aircraft delivered, an average of 15 aircraft were available and 8 were ready for deployment. At least three daily missions with the German A400M were possible at that time. So many issues with the aircraft were solved in a relatively short time. The growth of the fleet makes it possible to fly the German A400M as part of the EATC transport consortium for the Allied Forces. From July 5, 2019, a German A400M was put into use as a tanker for the first time. This was an important milestone for Germany and its partners, as Europe is eagerly seeking more tanker capacities.