A400M transport aircraft

Airbus A400M Atlas: Transporter, gas station and intensive care unit

The Airbus A400M is a high-wing aircraft with four turboprop engines, a pressurized cabin and a rear cargo door, and is designed as a strategic and tactical transport and tanker aircraft.

It can transport and airdrop personnel and materiel. Transports can be carried out in different variants. Up to 116 people can be accommodated in the A400M. The large cargo hold also makes it possible to transport different materiel such as one Tiger attack helicopter, one H145M light support helicopter, three Wolf all-terrain vehicles, one Fuchs armored transport vehicle or one Puma infantry fighting vehicle.

In addition to air transport, the A400M is also used as an airborne gas station. Other aircraft such as the Eurofighter can dock onto the A400M during flight and can be refueled at a speed of more than 500 km per hour. This increases the range of the refueled aircraft and their duration of stay in the area of operations. The German Air Force was the first A400M-operating nation to deploy this capability in 2019.

In addition to its capabilities as a transport aircraft and tanker, the A400M can also be used for the movement of patients. For this purpose, so-called patient transport units will be fitted into the cargo hold. They allow even patients requiring intensive care to be treated during the flight.

The Airbus A400M replaces the Transall C-160

The first Airbus A400M was delivered to the Bundeswehr on 18 December 2014. Currently, the Air Force has 42 A400M. The delivery of 53 aircraft to the Federal Republic of Germany is planned to be completed by the end of 2026.

With the steady growth of the fleet and the continuous increase in capabilities such as protected air transport, the ability to land on unpaved runways, the night visual flight capability and airdropping of personnel and materiel, the A400M has increasingly assumed the tasks of the Transall C-160, which was phased out after the disbandment of 63 Air Transport Wing at the end of 2021.

All Air Force Airbus A400M aircraft are stationed with 62 Air Transport Wing in Wunstorf.

Technical Data

MANUFACTURERAirbus Defence and Space
ENGINEEPI TP400-D6 turboprop engine
ENGINE POWER8.250 kW / 10.838 PSPferdestärken
LENGTH45,10 m
HEIGHT14,70 m
MAX. SPEED750 km/h at an altitude of 10 km 
555 km/h at sea level
SERVICE CEILINGapprox. 12.000 m
RANGE3.300 km at full payload
4.535 km with additional load of 30 t
6.390 km with additional load of 20 t
8.700 km for transfers

Airbus A400M in Action