The UK Royal Air Force has received its 22nd and final A400M Atlas transport aircraft from Airbus at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.
The delivery marks the culmination of an effort by UK Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR), and Airbus to replace the country’s existing C-130J Super Hercules transport fleet.
“Being in a position to hand over aircraft 22 to the RAF was a great honour, and I have done so on behalf of the entire A400M team at DE&S who have worked tirelessly alongside our colleagues at Airbus, OCCAR and the RAF to deliver this outstanding aircraft,” DE&S A400M Team Leader Nick Moore stated.
“All of us can be rightly proud of our role in ensuring the RAF can transport troops and equipment where needed, both in support of military operations and support critical humanitarian missions.”
Enhancing British Tactical Air Mobility
The A400Ms have been deployed for carrying equipment and troops since their induction into the Royal Air Force in 2014.
The Atlas is also used to support humanitarian operations, including the recent evacuation of British nationals from Sudan, relief operations in the Caribbean, and military response during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Recent events in Sudan have illustrated once again the importance of tactical air mobility,” Royal Air Force No. 1 Group Commander Air Vice-Marshal Mark Flewin said.
“Operating from an austere airfield, Atlas helped evacuate over 2,200 entitled personnel and fly them to safety. The latest aircraft therefore joins a fleet which is already proven on operations and utilised globally in support of UK interests.”
National and Global Deployments
The British A400Ms are committed to 24/7 standby maritime reconnaissance, search and rescue, and overwatch with the UK Border Force in securing the English Channel.
Alongside local missions, the fleet supports joint airspace operations in the Middle East and NATO Air Policing deployments in the Baltics.
One Atlas is based in the Falkland Islands to provide humanitarian aid in the South Atlantic and air-to-air refueling supply airdrops in Antarctica.