A400M in AAR contact demo flight
The A400M airlifter has demonstrated air-to-air refuelling contacts with another A400M, Airbus Defence and Space announced on 14 November.
Two demonstration flights were carried out in Seville, Spain, with the development aircraft performing more than 50 contacts in level flight and turns using the centreline hose and drum unit (HDU).
The HDU provides a third refuelling point option in addition to the aircraft's underwing pods, enabling the refuelling of large receivers such as another A400M or C-130.
The basic fuel capacity of 63,500 litres can be increased with two extra cargo hold tanks carrying 7,200 litres each, allowing refuel from the HDU at a rate of 2,000 litres per minute. The technique would allow the A400M to carry a 20 tonne payload more than 6,000nm/11,000km non-stop from Paris, France to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The standard A400M aircraft has full provisions for air-to-air refuelling operations already installed and only requires the rapid installation of the optional air-to-air refuelling kit to become a tanker.
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