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Airbus Defence and Space announced on 26 May that the A400M has achieved a new and important milestone, following certification of its capability for Automatic Low-Level Flight.

The certification campaign above the Pyrenees and southern France last month involved operations down to 500ft, including transitions to other operations such as aerial delivery. The certification places the aircraft in a unique position among military transport aircraft.

This first certification phase focused on visual flight rules, while the second phase, dealing with instrument flight rules, will be conducted in Q2/2021. The capability improves the A400M’s terrain masking and survivability, making it less detectable in hostile areas and less susceptible to threats when in transit to key military operations like aerial delivery, air-to-air refuelling, logistic or other specific special operations.

An A400M conducting low level flights not associated with the recent certification trials, in Wales in 2017. (Photo: Airbus/Scott Norbury)

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