Airbus A400M Atlas successfully completes first beach landing trial
A400M beach landing trials at Pembrey Sands, Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, West Wales. Monday 10 December 2018. 10.12.2018. Compulsory Credit: SAC Anna Lythgoe [RAuxAF] © UK MoD Crown Copyright 2018The Royal Air Force has announced that Airbus A400M military transport aircraft successfully completed first beach landing trials with the military crew.
According to a statement, members of 206 Squadron, supported by LXX Squadron Engineers based at RAF Brize Norton have been practicing their skills during beach landing trials in Southern Wales.
Beaches are routinely used by the RAF for training operations with other tactical airlifters. The A400M showcased its superb tactical capabilities on natural surfaces by performing take-off, landing, and taxiing manoeuvres.
“The advanced flight deck of the A400M and cutting-edge fly by wire controls made this task easier to fly than other platforms. We are now looking forward to the challenge of conducting this operation using night vision goggles later in the trial,” flight lieutenant Cheng 206 Squadron pilot said.
“My specialist team has worked hard to deliver this trial and it has showcased the tremendous tactical potential of the A400M. Once this capability is handed over to the front line it has the potential to have a great impact on operations,” Wing Commander Neil Philp
Officer Commanding 206 Squadron added.
Mission sets that may include the capability to land on unimproved or dirt/sand airstrips could include the insertion of special operations light vehicles for strike and/or reconnaissance missions in denied areas and support of airborne assault operations.
The ability to take-off from sand landing areas is especially important for the evacuation of casualties from forward areas. In general, a team of pathfinder personnel is inserted into an unimproved, austere landing area to inspect and prepare the landing area and then to act as air and ground traffic controllers once aircraft begin to use the area.
The versatility of the A400M Atlas means it has the capability to land on a wide variety of surfaces including natural surfaces carrying a very large payload. This tactical capability was demonstrated during trials on Pembrey Sands beach.
According to Airbus, the A400M is the most advanced, proven and certified airlifter available, combining 21st-century state-of-the-art technologies to fulfill the current and upcoming Armed Forces’ needs. The A400M combines the capability to carry strategic loads with the ability to deliver even into tactical locations with small and unprepared airstrips. And in addition, it acts as a frontline-tanker for other aircraft. One aircraft, which can do the work of three – The A400M.
Despite some early concerns, the A400M Atlas development program has gained momentum with several countries including the U.K. and Germany over the past year. This RAF exercise is an example of the program’s continued success.