The Belgian Air Force has taken delivery of its first of seven Airbus A400M military transport aircraft. The aircraft was handed over to the customer at the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville (Spain) and subsequently performed its ferry flight to the 15th Wing Air Transport in Melsbroek (Belgium), where the aircraft will be based and where it arrived around 14:00 this Tuesday, 22 December.
This A400M, known as MSN106, will be operated within a binational unit composed of a total of eight aircraft, seven from the Belgian Air Force and one from the Luxembourg Armed Forces.
The second A400M for Belgium will be delivered in early 2021. The A400M aircraft will gradually replace the almost 50-year old C-130s.
Alberto Gutierrez, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space, said: “With the delivery of this aircraft all launch customers are now equipped with the A400M. MSN106 will join Luxemburg’s aircraft in the binational unit operated jointly with Belgium. Despite challenges due to Covid-19, our teams have achieved all 10 aircraft deliveries scheduled this year, bringing the global fleet in operation to 98 aircraft.”
The Belgian Minister of Defence Ludivine Dedonder said: “With the arrival of these new planes, the Air Component and the 15th Wing are taking a big step forward. After nearly 50 years of service, the C-130s have more than proven their worth. The arrival of the new A400M fleet will allow our Air Component more than ever to develop its capability potential in support of Defence’s military and humanitarian missions. The versatility of the aircraft is great: the transport of people and/or large quantities of equipment – vehicles or other – but also the jump of parachutists, as well as medical transport.”