Airbus Defence and Space delivers first A400M to Spain
The Spanish Air Force has taken delivery of its first Airbus A400M new generation airlifter – the most advanced aircraft produced in Spain and one which will transform the nation’s air mobility fleet. The contractual handover of the first of 27 aircraft that it has ordered makes Spain the sixth nation to put the A400M into service. The recently appointed Minister of Defence of Spain and the Chief of the Spanish Air Force received the aircraft, MSN44, from Airbus Defence and Space in an official ceremony on December 1st in Seville.
In Spanish service the A400M will replace the ageing C-130 aircraft type, carrying about twice the load over the same distance, or the same load twice as far. In addition it can serve as a tactical air-to-air tanker for other transport aircraft, including other A400Ms.
Uniquely it is able both to cruise at jet-like speeds and altitudes over intercontinental ranges due to its four extremely powerful engines and advanced aerodynamic design, as well as to operate repeatedly from short and unprepared airstrips close to the scene of military action or humanitarian crisis.
Under an agreement signed earlier this year in September, 14 aircraft will be delivered at a steady pace between now and 2022, and the remaining 13 are scheduled for delivery from 2025 onwards.
The Spanish A400M fleet will be based at Zaragoza in North East Spain and will form the heavylift element of a transport force that includes the medium C295 and CN235, and light C212 aircraft – all produced by Airbus Defence and Space. MSN44 was flown to Zaragoza straight after the ceremony in Seville.
Altogether more than 1600 employees from Airbus Defence and Space work in Spain for the A400M program, including 1100 working directly at the Seville FAL and nearby Tablada Factory. To date eight nations have ordered 174 aircraft of which 34 have now been delivered.