all the defense and aerospace news
defense news
aerospace news

A400M Transport Aircraft Gets Its First Wings

The first pair of wings for the RAF's future transport aircraft, the A400M, were recently flown to Spain where they will be fitted to other parts of the aircraft.

This represents an important stage in the A400M's development, which will begin flight tests next year. The A400M is due to replace the C-130K Hercules.

The wings were taken from Airbus' Filton site in Bristol to EADS CASA in Seville, Spain, aboard an Airbus A300-600BST super transporter aircraft, known as the Beluga.

On arrival in Spain the wings will be joined to the centre wing-box which arrived from Airbus in France last month and will help form the A400M static test aircraft.

When joined as a complete structure with a total span of more than 42 metres the wings will then be taken by road to Getafe in Madrid where they will be fitted to the static test fuselage in preparation for testing.

The procurement is being carried out by the Defence Equipment and Support's A400M integrated project team at Abbey Wood, close to the Filton site.

A spokesman for the team said:

"This is another important milestone for the team and the aircraft as we move forward towards flight test activities next year and the first deliveries soon after."

Charles Paterson, head of the A400M wing team at Airbus, added:

"This represents a major achievement in Airbus wing technology as A400M features the first-ever composite carbon fibre reinforced plastic outer wingbox for an Airbus-built aircraft."

Firm orders for the A400M now stand at 192. Germany and France will be buying more than 100 of those with the UK taking 25 to replace the 25 C-130K Hercules models being retired.

-ends- RAF's Future Transport Aircraft Gets Its First Wings