Belgium deploys A400M for first international exercise

The Belgian Air Component conducted its first international A400M exercise during October 11-25, this is after a detachment of 148 military personnel and two Airbus A400M Atlas transport aircraft from the 15th Airlift Wing participated in the Airlift Block Training (ABT) at Pisa Air Base, Italy.

During the exercise, a total of 22 missions were flown and 60 hours of flight time accumulated by the A400M aircrew. These missions were training flights of a variety of profiles which included para and cargo drops, tactical manoeuvres, night flying and low-level flying. 

Pallets of cargo are loaded onboard an Airbus A400M of the Belgian Air Component during ABT in Pisa, Italy. Belgian defence/ 15th Wing 

According to a November 3 Belgian Defence release, the training missions “allowed aircrews and technical personnel to practice and improve the procedures of a high-performance military cargo aircraft.”

This exercise was observed by Belgian Air Component Commander, Gen Thierry Dupont, who was “satisfied with the progress made by the 15th Wing towards the initial operational capability of the A400M in Belgium’s defence force”. 

two A400M
Two Belgian Air Component A400Ms rest on the apron at Pisa Air Base, Italy during Airlift Block Training. Belgian Defence/ 15th Wing

Belgium took delivery of the first of seven A400Ms at the 15th wing at Melsbroek Air Base, Belgium, in December 2020. A total of five have been handed over to Belgium, the latest being serial CT-05 from the Airbus facility in Spain on November 10.