THE first of the RAF’s new Airbus A400M Atlas turboprop transport planes is now undergoing ground tests at Airbus’s factory at Seville in Spain.
It was moved under its own power for the first time on Sunday, August 10, carrying out engine and taxi-ing tests ahead of its first test flight.
The plane, airframe No 015 on the Atlas production line, is due to be delivered to RAF Brize Norton next month and is scheduled to enter service in March next year.
The Atlas can carry 32 tonnes of cargo, including armoured vehicles and helicopters, or 116 paratroops and their equipment.
The RAF has 22 planes on order, at a cost of more than £3.2bn, to replace Brize Norton’s Hercules fleet.
Aircrew and ground engineers from RAF Brize Norton’s 24 and 47 Squadrons are undergoing training in Spain and a £226m training school is being provided at Brize Norton.
Other countries have placed orders for 152 of the planes, with the first few already in service with the French and Turkish airforces.
Airbus Military has released this video of the plane being put through its paces on the airfield at its factory in Seville.
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