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EU safety body certifies Airbus A400M army transporter
by Staff Writers
Frankfurt (AFP) March 13, 2013

The European Aviation Safety Agency said Wednesday it had certified Airbus Military's next-generation A400M Atlas military transport plane, in an important step towards approving the multi-role turboprop for use.

"The A400M is the first turboprop transporter in its category to receive the certification," Norbert Lohl, director of the certification department of the Cologne-based agency, said in a statement.

The versatile aircraft was given preliminary certification in April 2012, but had to go through 300 hours of tests to be awarded full certification.

The A400M was conceived in response to demand from European NATO nations after the first Gulf War in 1991 and will replace ageing C-130 Hercules and C-160 Transall fleets used around the world.

Powered by four modern turboprop engines, the A400M is capable of transporting up to 37 tonnes over a distance of 3,300 kilometres (2,000 miles). It can take off and land from unprepared runways, even in sand, and can drop paratroopers at an altitude of 12,000 metres (39,000 feet).

The plane is also equipped to provide in-flight refuelling for two planes or helicopters.

France will receive its first plane in June.




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