Luftwaffe’s first A350 breaks light

The first Airbus ACJ350-900 XWB for the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) has been rolled out of the company’s production facility in Toulouse, France.

The aircraft – c/n 416 – is the first of three ACJ350-900s ordered by the German government through Lufthansa Technik last April to replace the ageing Luftwaffe fleet of two Airbus A340-313X VIP transport aircraft.

The ACJ350-900s will be operated in the same role as the A340s, which have served as VIP transports for the Luftwaffe since March 2011. The first is due to be delivered by the end of this year, with the remaining two scheduled for delivery in 2022.

A350 Luftwaffe [Clément Alloing] #1
Airbus ACJ350-900 XWB - c/n 416 - breaks light on a cloudy day in Toulouse on February 11. Clément Alloing

Despite being rolled out, c/n 416 still needs to be painted in Luftwaffe colours, undergo flight testing and be fitted out as a VIP transport aircraft in line with the air arm’s requirements, which is expected to happen at Lufthansa Technik’s facility in Hamburg, Germany.

The aircraft will likely be given a temporary German civilian registration before being delivered to the Flugbereitschaft des Bundesministeriums der Verteidigung (FBS BMVg, Flight Service of the German Ministry of Defence). Once delivered, it is expected that the aircraft will receive a military code, presumably ‘98+XX’ for testing and evaluation which will again change when it is delivered to the FBS BMVg. Currently, the aircraft has been allocated the French test registration F-WZFF.