The Royal Air Force takes delivery of its last Airbus A400M.

The Royal Air Force has taken delivery of the 22nd Atlas C1 (A400M) transport aircraft, thus completing the development and production phase.

The four-engine turboprop touched down at its new home of RAF Brize Norton, coming from Seville, where the Atlas is assembled, including the UK-made wings.

“Recent events in Sudan have once again illustrated the importance of tactical air mobility. Operating from a stark airfield, Atlas helped evacuate more than 2,200 people to safety.

“The latest aircraft thus joins a fleet already proven in operations and used around the world in support of UK interests.”

“The Atlas features a fly-by-wire flight control system and a fully glazed cockpit. It can carry a payload of 37 tonnes over 2,000m away to both established or remote civil and military airfields. Its exceptional short-field performance allows it to operate from short unprepared and semi-prepared runways, all while using night vision goggles,” said Air Vice Marshal Mark Flewin CBE, Air Officer Commanding No 1 Group.

The development of the platform will continue with a retrofit program of the aircraft to reach an operational configuration with significant commonalities with that of the other A400M operators: France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Benelux and Malaysia. In parallel, its tactical capability will continue to expand, including full-range support to UK airborne forces.

Defense Equipment and Support is responsible for the delivery of the Atlas fleet and team leader Nick Moore said: “To be in a position to deliver the last aircraft to the RAF has been a great honor and I have done so on behalf of all the DE&S A400M team, who have worked tirelessly alongside our colleagues at Airbus, OCCAR and the RAF to deliver this exceptional aircraft.

All of us can be proud of our role in ensuring that the RAF can transport troops and equipment when required, both in support of military operations and critical humanitarian missions,” said Nick Moore, Defense Equipment and Support.

Since entering RAF service in 2014, Atlas has repeatedly proven its worth. She has excelled during relief operations in the Caribbean and has fully contributed to the military’s response to COVID, transporting patients, equipment and vaccines. She played a key role in the evacuation of authorized personnel from Afghanistan and Sudan and has supported UK defense operations around the world, including in the Middle East, the Falkland Islands and Mali.

In addition, Atlas supports longstanding operations in the Middle East and NATO air police operations in the Baltic. Atlas has a 24/7 national reserve commitment in the UK and supports the UK Border Force with maritime reconnaissance (MRR) in the English Channel, long-range search and rescue (SAR) and surveillance. An Atlas is also based in the Falkland Islands, where it provides maritime surveillance, search and rescue and medical evacuation services in the South Atlantic and, with the advantage of in-flight refueling, airdrops supplies in Antarctica.

Royal Air Force