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The A400M transport aircraft has now also been certified for automatic low-level flight. The aircraft has now reached a new decisive milestone. It offers a unique capability for a military transport aircraft in its class.

The approval campaign, which was carried out in April over the Pyrenees and central France, included missions of up to 500 feet, including the transition from low-level flight to other operations, such as releasing cargo from the air.

Video with impressions from the test campaign (video: Airbus)

This first certification phase concerns operations under visual meteorological conditions. The second phase will be about flight with instrumental meteorological conditions without visibility. This is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2021.

The automatic low-altitude flight improves the survivability of the Airbus A400M, since the machine can thus take advantage of the coverage of the terrain sections. Only fighter jets currently have this ability. Low-flying makes it difficult for the aircraft to be reconnaissance over enemy ground and makes it less susceptible to enemy air defense. Military air transport operations such as logistic air transport, air refueling or even air landing operations can be carried out more safely.

Julian Hoffmann

The title picture is not part of the described flight campaign. The picture shows a Royal Air Force A400M that performed low-level flights in Wales, Mach Loop in 2017. (Photo: Scott Norbury)