Luxembourg has become the seventh operator of the Airbus A400M Atlas heavy-lift tactical transport after it accepted its first and only example in Seville, Spain, on October 7.
The aircraft – serial CT-01 (c/n 104) – will now be flown to Melsbroek air base in Steenokkeerzeel, Belgium, but will make a stop in Luxembourg along the way. Luxembourg’s sole A400M will be operated within a binational airlift unit with the Belgian Air Component (BAC), which has seven examples on order. All eight aircraft will be operated from Melsbroek under 20 Squadron – Tactical Transport Flight (TTF) – a part of the BAC’s 15 Wing.
Alberto Gutierrez, head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space, said: “I welcome Luxembourg to the growing A400M user community. With 94 aircraft in service, the A400M is increasingly becoming the air mobility backbone of our customers, both in civil and military environments, as seen in recent COVID-19 crisis missions around the globe.”
In a press release, Airbus stated that Belgium is due to receive its first of seven A400Ms in the coming weeks. In Belgian service, the binational A400M unit will replace the nation’s ageing Lockheed C-130H Hercules fleet, which is currently operated by 15 Wing’s 20 Squadron – TTF and is scheduled to be completely retired by 2022.