Airbus A400M Performs First Dry Helicopter Air-to-Air Contacts

20 Kasım 2019

You can read the advertorial published in the October 2019 Issue of MSI Turkish Defence Review here:


Developed by Airbus for various roles, the A400M transport aircraft achieved its first dry helicopter air-to-air refuelling trials with an H225M. According to a company announcement on January 24, the A400M performed 51 dry contacts over the course of four flights under daytime conditions over the south of France.

The tests, involving no transfer of fuel, were performed at between 1,000 ft and 10,000 ft altitude and at flight speeds as low as 105 knots. The flight tests included also trials with the Guépard multirole helicopter, which has been developed by Airbus for the French Armed Forces. Proximity trials involving an A400M and an H160 helicopter had been requested from the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA), and were completed successfully. The next stage in the flight test program, involving wet contact operations, are scheduled to take place before the end of 2019.

The A400M has previously proven its capabilities in the refuelling of various aircraft of different sizes at different altitudes, and at the optimum speeds for each aircraft, which have included Eurofighter, Rafale, Tornado and F/A-18, as well as another A400M. Helicopter refuelling operations are carried out at lower altitudes and speeds than for fixed-wing aircraft. With the completion of helicopter refuelling certification processes, the A400M will be one of the few aircraft in the world capable of taking on such roles.

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