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Airbus A400M Aircraft Successfully Demonstrates Flare Release
By Daniel Baxter

June 18, 2013 - Airbus Military has successfully demonstrated the release of decoy flares from the A400M new generation airlifter as part of the development of the aircraft´s self protection systems. 

The flares are designed to mislead heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles, particularly surface-to-air missiles (SAM). They are a crucial part of the self-protection system because of the A400M´s ability to operate from short and unpaved airstrips close to the scene of military action where SAMs may be fielded by an enemy. 

The Airbus A400M Atlas, is a multi-national four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. It was designed by Airbus Military as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities.


The aircraft's maiden flight, originally planned for 2008, took place on December 11, 2009 in Seville, Spain. Airbus parent EADS (EAD.PA) told analysts on May 14 that the A400M would be delivered to France in the second quarter at a cost of $170 million. In March 2013, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved type certification on the A400M. 

With a maximum payload of up to 37 tons, the A400M can carry numerous pieces of outsize cargo including, vehicles and helicopters that are too large or too heavy for previous generation tactical airlifters, for example, an NH90 or a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, or two heavy armored vehicles for military purposes. It can also carry a heavy logistic truck, or a rescue boat, or large lifting devices, such as excavators or mobile cranes needed to assist in disaster relief. 

The A400M can also carry 116 personnel, or paratroops. Because of the width of the A400M’s fuselage, they can be seated in four rows, all along the two sides of the fuselage, and back to back along the centre-line, with enough space in between the facing rows.



The A400M has the capability to fly distances up to 4,700 nm, at a cruising altitude up to 37,000 ft, and at a speed of up to Mach 0.72, very similar to that of a turbofan powered airlifter. It can even fly up to 40,000 ft for special operations. The A400M operates with four Europrop International (EPI) TP 400 turboprop engines. This gives the potential for strategic/logistic missions. Flying faster and higher, the A400M can respond more rapidly to crises, because greater distances can be flown in a one crew duty day. The A400M is hence much more efficient than its predecessors. The A400M, can fly higher, it can cruise above poor weather and turbulence found at medium altitudes, resulting in less fatigue for the crews, and passengers or troops.

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