Transatlantic ‘First’ for A400M Atlas
(Source: French air force; issued Mar 14, updated Mar 15, 2014)
(Issued in French; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
The French air force’s A400M Atlas unloading a Fennec helicopter on the ramp at Cayenne’s international airport. (FR AF photo)
On March 10, an Atlas aircraft belonging to the A400M Multinational Entry into Service Team (MEST) took off from Air Base 123 at Orléans, in France, on its first-ever flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

Headed for South America and the Caribbean, this tactical transport aircraft with strategic range is continuing its in-service trials over long-endurance flights, after similar missions to Bamako in late 2013 and to Djibouti in February.

These missions also offered the opportunity to confirm its handling on several airfields.

Six hours into its flight, the A400M touched down at Sal, in the Cape Verde Islands, before continuing to Cayenne, in French Guiana, and onwards to Fort-de-France, Martinique.

This first transatlantic crossing, which lasted 5 ½ hours, also benefited French operations in Guiana. The A400M was carrying two tonnes of supplies as well as a Fennec helicopter, which is used by the French air force to secure the space launch site at Kourou in the lead-up to the next scheduled launch.

The Atlas is due to return to its base in France on March 14.

Updated March 15, 0930 CET
The aircraft returned to metropolitan France this morning. The return flight, from Fort-de-France to Istres, in south-eastern France, took just over 9 hours, with no stops, the French air force announced via its Tweeter account.

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