Belgium transitions from C-130 Hercules to A400M Atlas

As Belgium pushes for ward with the integration of its fresh fleet of Airbus A400Ms into a fully operational ser vice, Joe Campion meets the unit’s commanding officer to find out more

CT-07 taxies in after a formation flight training mission at Molsbroek AB. Molsbroek AB shares its grounds with Brussels International Airport
All Images Joe Campion
The Belgian Air Force, specifically 20 Squadron (Sqn) of the 15th Transport Wing (TW) at Molsbroek Air Base (AB) in Brussels, Belgium, retired its fleet of seven C-130H Hercules after 50 years of service in December 2021. Taking the reins from the Hercules is the Airbus A400M Atlas, the latest tactical transport aircraft in many military fleets across Europe and the wider world. The first A400M (serial CT01) arrived at Molsbroek AB from Seville, Spain, on October 9, 2020. Less than two years later, 20 Sqn accepted its seventh and penultimate A400M (serial CT07) on May 11, 2022. The final aircraft (serial CT08) is due in late 2024 with the squadron expecting to reach Full Operational Capability (FOC) in January 2025.
The first Airbus A400M, serial CT01, arrived at Molsbroek AB from Seville on October 9, 2020

LOC achieved

In June 2022, 20 Sqn reached Limited Operational Capability (LOC), able to carry out tasks such as tactical air-land operations (TALO), low-level flight including mountainous terrain navigation, reduced operating standards (ROS) and military operating standards (MOS) for take-off and landing.

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