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15 October 2013

A400M: a first aircraft delivered to the French Air Force

On August 1st, Airbus Military formally delivered the first A400M new generation airlifter to the French Air Force. This delivery represents the culmination of 10 years of development for this major European defence programme.  Thales is very proud to contribute to the innovative cockpit for the A400M, combining the best of civil and military functions. Nicolas de Ledinghen, Thales’s A400M programme manager, shares his thought

What are the next steps for Thales after this first delivery of the A400M Atlas to the French Air Force?

We will continue to support Airbus for this aircraft. We are awaiting results of the first flight in the air-force to see how our equipment performs. There will probably be some details to be improved and we will then enter into an accompaniment phase, helping Airbus to provide the necessary support.

We are currently preparing the second Standard Operational Capability of our flight management system expected for 2014 that will enable aircraft SOC2. This is an important phase as the Thales FMS will incorporate civil functions and speed control as well as a new  computer.

The objective is to increase the power in order to give greater margins of power for the function of flight at low altitude. This computer is based on the A350XWB computer. The RTA function (required time of arrival) will be added in order to achieve a given point at 10 seconds of precision, compared with current 30-second precision levels.

During this year’s Paris Air Show you had the opportunity to board an A400M for the first time. What were your impressions?

It is an enormous pleasure to see such large scale project become concrete and of course to see the result of the work of all the teams. It is very important to see that our customer is happy with Thales solutions. I also appreciated the exchanges with test pilots.

The A400M is a real beauty and totally different from civil aircraft.  It is impressive to be on board such a huge aircraft. I am happy that Thales is part of this great adventure!

Photo credit: copyright Airbus Military