Airbus hands over 17th A400M to France

Airbus Defence and Space has delivered its 17th A400M heavy-lift tactical transport to the Armée de l’Air (AdlA, French Air Force).

The aircraft – registration F-RBAQ (c/n 102) – arrived at Orléans-Bricy air base on April 24 after it was handed over to the Direction générale de l’armement (DGA, France’s defence procurement agency).

17th French A400M [Armee de l'Air] #1
Armée de l’Air

French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, said: “The A400M has again recently demonstrated its versatility when transferring patients affected by COVID-19, to transport essential goods to French Polynesia or to participate in the airlift organised to resupply Mayotte Island from La Réunion. It is also essential in the context of the Barkhane operation in the Sahel, for air deliveries or the engagement of paratrooper units. It is an essential tool for our freedom of action.”

France has a total of 50 Airbus A400M Atlas aircraft on order, with 17 now in service and 33 remaining to be delivered. The air arm is expecting to have eight more aircraft delivered and operational by 2025.

The first A400Ms entered service with the air arm in August 2013 and the aircraft are operated by Escadron de Transport 1/61 (ET 1/61) ‘Touraine’.