The Airbus A400M heavy-lift tactical transport has reached a new milestone in its development, completing a certification flight test for the deployment of paratroopers using both of the aircraft's side doors during a single pass.
The French Armament General Directorate (DGA) worked together with the Belgian military to co-ordinate the day tests, which took place at the Ger Azet drop zone in southern France. The testing saw the A400M reach two new major paratrooper deployment milestones.
The first saw the deployment of 80 paratroopers into the drop zone, using Airbus A400M's two side doors. During a single pass, 40 paratroopers jumped from each door onto the Ger Azet drop zone in the largest simultaneous deployment from an A400M to date. The second milestone reached saw 58 paratroopers use a single door to jump out of the aircraft, the maximum capacity for a single door to operate on the A400M. Overall, the tests included nine flights and 564 jumps.
As a result, these milestones conclude the certification test phase for paratrooper deployment from the aircraft. Further certification operations will take place in the first half of 2020, which will see up to 116 paratroopers able to be deployed from the Airbus A400M and overall certification for the aircraft to take part in mixed operations.