On the 20th December 2010, the fourth Airbus Military A400M military airlifter has made its first flight. Known as Grizzly 4, the aircraft took off from Seville, Spain with a weight of 130 tonnes at 10h18 local time (GMT+1) and landed five hours and ten minutes later.
On 13 November 2010 the A400M Programme Manager (PM) Bruno Delannoy jumped from the A400M aircraft, as part of a group of 10 parachutists from various nationalities, and including Tom Enders (Airbus CEO). This jump was not part of any particular test as the official jumping test took place some days before. All was prepared for last Saturday morning in a place called La Juliana which is a drop zone surrounded by olive trees near Seville. The weather, as usual in Seville, was perfect for a jump.
Last week of October has been a record week for the A400M flight test. After some weeks where flying activities were much reduced because of maintenance and performance improvement works, the three Grizzlies have waked up stronger and have recovered in one shot their target schedule. As result of this effort, some records have been reached. The two first records are number of flights (20) and flying hours (62) in a week. These figures pushed total number of flights to 230 and total number of flying hours to 773.5. On the other hand, MSN002 reached 100 flights and catch MSN001, ending the week with a total of 97 flights.
On 20 September 2010, with a ceremony chaired by the FR Air Force Command CoS (GCA Hugues HENDEL), the first SAMP/T section, baptized “MAMBA” by FR Air Force, was definitively put on duty. After completion of all the preparatory activities as personnel training, unit preparation/adaptation, initial in-servicing, the first SAMP/T section has been assigned to the air base 116 at Luxeuil-Saint Sauveur (East of France). This is the first of the 5 FR AF units planned to be equipped with the SAMP/T system. In the next future it is expected that the unit will participate to national and international exercises in order to be certificated “ready for operations”. The delivery of the first SAMP/T section to Italian Army is ongoing and the ATOC B1 (ATBM) campaign, which will culminate in a joint France/Italy ripple firing against a TBM target, is planned in 2012