Modern Aircraft Integration – It Is Not Just the F-35
(Source: Allied Air Command; issued Oct 26, 2020)
At the end of the Elephant Walk, the German Air Force A400M is waiting for its turn to take off from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, for a joint air drop exercise over the Grafenwöhr Military Training Area. (Luftwaffe photo)
RAMSTEIN, Germany --- A German Air Force A400M transport aircraft joined C-130 transport aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, Belgian Air Force and the Netherlands Air Force during a cargo airdrop exercise at Grafenwöhr Military Training Area, Germany.

For the modern A400M transport aircraft, the combined airdrop drills provided an opportunity to integrate with C-130s planes it will replace in several Allied air forces. At moment the Allies Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom are operating the four-engine turboprop A400M transport aircraft as a tactical airlift platform with strategic capabilities.

At Grafenwöhr, a German Air Force A400M dropped a NATO-standardised CDS pallet for the first time during Operation Varsity 20-4, an international US-led transport aircraft airdrop exercise. It took off from its home base at Wunstorf, Northern Germany, to land at Ramstein Air Base in the Palatinate, load the CSS pallets and conduct two drops of 600 pounds from 600 feet over the Grafenwöhr dropzone.

“Great outcome,” said the German A400M pilot. “We clearly over-accomplished all our expectations during this multi-national airdrop event,” he added.

For all NATO Allies, cooperation during multinational training events provide the opportunity to operate modern aircraft with existing aircraft fleets. What is true for the F-35 in the fighter domain, is also applicable to the A400M in the transport domain.

The new capabilities of modern aircraft require adaption and harmonisation of tactics, techniques and procedures allowing for efficient and reliable mission conduct alongside proven aircraft types.

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