The A400M Cleared to Drop Paratroopers Through Side Doors
(Source: French Armed Forces Ministry; issued May 18, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by
PARIS --- The Ministry of the Armed Forces has announced that the Air Force's A400M Atlas transport aircraft is now able to drop paratroopers belonging to the three services through the aircraft’s side doors.

This new operational clearance marks an important step in the ramp-up of the tactical capabilities of the A400M Atlas for the benefit of airborne units.

The first operational training for automatic parachute drops through the side door took place on May 12th. This exercise was held at the School of Airborne Troops (Pau) with an Air Force A400M and Army paratroopers.

This type of personnel release is a real asset in operation, and complements the A400M’s existing capability to drop paratroopers and equipment through its rear ramp, the latter having been validated in February.

An essential component of power projection, paradrops allow the concentration of forces and equipment as close as possible to a target, without having to land in hostile areas. The A400M Atlas is already capable of dropping 25 tonnes, distributed over 10 pallets, in a single pass, its operational capabilities enabling it to transport a significant volume of equipment over long distances and on short notice.

The new type of personnel release is based on the use of a fuselage side door and the automatic opening of the parachute. In this mode of action, a strap connected to the aircraft hold allows the parachute to deploy automatically under the effect of gravity, once the paratrooper has left the aircraft.

This employment clearance allows the release of 30 paratroopers through a side door of the A400M Atlas. It represents an important step in the continuous ramp-up of the A400M Atlas' paradropping capabilities. The next steps will increase the drop altitude and the number of paratroopers. The simultaneous drop from both side doors is expected to be authorized next year.

Recently, on the occasion of the delivery of the 17th A400M to the French Air Force, Florence Parly recalled that this aircraft is “essential in the context of the Barkhane operation in the Sahel for deliveries by air or hiring of parachute units. It is an essential tool for our freedom of action. "


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