JAKARTA --- The Airbus A400M giant airlifter landed in Jakarta for the second time as the French plane manufacturer seeks deal opportunities with the Indonesian Defense Ministry, which is currently seeking a replacement for its aging armada of Hercules C-130s.
Airbus presented an operational Airbus A400M Atlas from the British Royal Air Force to the press at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base in East Jakarta on Monday (06/03).
Airbus Asia Pacific Head Pierre Jaffre said the A400M, a military transport aircraft, was sent back to Indonesia after a previous visit in 2012 to give the Indonesians a first-hand experience and understanding of how the jumbo airlifter works.
According to Airbus, the A400M airlifter is a perfect fit for Indonesia as it can cover long distances between different islands across the archipelago and land in short airstrips that the country has in spades.
Indonesia reportedly agreed to purchase five Airbus A400M last month, but there has been no confirmation from the government.
Last year, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu also indicated the government was thinking of purchasing some A400Ms.
Raul Tena, Airbus A400M Marketing Manager, refused to comment on the existence of a deal. "We've been doing marketing in Indonesia. We can't comment on the costumer's decision," Tena told reporters.
The A400M made its first flight on 11 December 2009. Its first batch of production was delivered to the French Air Force in August 2013 and went into service a year after.
The A400M has already seen operational use with the French and Turkish Air Forces in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Africa's Sahel Region, Mali and in the Middle East to support air operations over Iraq and Syria.
The British Royal Air Force is procuring a fleet of 22 aircraft, with production expected to be completed by 2019.
However, one Airbus A400M – operated by the Airbus Defense and Space test crew – did crash at La Rinconada, Spain, during a pre-delivery test flight in 2015.
The incident killed four crew and seriously injuring two others. Simultaneous failures in three of the four turboprop engines allegedly triggered the crash.