A400M Spotted With AAR Pods

RMAF M54-04 taking off from Subang. Note the AAR pods on both wings.

SHAH ALAM: A400M spotted with AAR pods. Since I wrote about the AAR pods with RMAF Airbus A400Ms I have been trying to get pictures of them in flight. I even went out waiting around Subang airport in late February hoping to catch the A400Ms flying with them. After spending several days trying to get the pictures without even seeing one A400M I gave up.

So it was a nice surprise to find out today that I finally got the picture I was looking for during the last four months. I was spotting around Subang this morning (July 3) trying to get pictures of the flypast rehearsal for the RMAF anniversary parade (July 5) when I spotted an A400M taking off. I immediately squeezed off a few shots and did not think much about it.

RMAF M54-04 taking off from Subang. Note the AAR pods on both wings.

It was only after downloading the files into my computer that I realised that the A400M, RMAF’s fourth one – M54-04 – was carrying the Cobham AAR pods on its wings. The pictures are not perfect though but I think they are good enough.

A rear of M54-04 clearly showing the Chobham pods on the wings.

From Cobham website.

The 908E WDE and 808E HDU are highly developed fifth generation refuelling systems which incorporate a common control and monitoring system to provide a reliable and cost effective solution

A RMAF Hawk Mk 208 being refuel by the A400M. 25th Hawk Anniversary FB.

RMAF has not officially announced its conducting AAR qualifications with the A400Ms but pictures of these have been posted on social media pages already. I am guessing as the A400M and Hornets are supposed to go to Australia for Pitch Black 18 next week, 18 Sqdn are being qualified or already green lighted to refuel in-flight on the Airbus airlifter as well.

A RMAF Hornet and C-17 comes together in this picture at Butterworth airbase on June 29, 2018

Yes I know some other spotter might have posted the same picture weeks ago but I always try to get my own pictures if its possible. And today was my lucky day.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2146 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Marhalim,
    Thank you for the heads up on the flypast. May I know what time will it be happening?

    Around 9am

  2. Good luck and all the best to the TUDM team for their Pitch Black 2018 deployment.

    PS. do go around and have a close look at those aussie Classic Hornets 🙂

  3. Marhalim,
    Thank you for the info.
    As for Pitch Black, we’re only sending the F-18, no Flanker?

    Hornets only supposedly. Half of the Flanker fleet still undergoing their 10 year checks

  4. Just a stupid question. Can the F18 fit into A400M with wings folded? If we sending 1 or 2, perhaps possible for the Hornet to catch a ride to Australia in the A400M. Just a crazy idea.

    Maharlim have mentioned those Aussie F18s are high mileage rides. Better to look at Kuwaiti ones.

    I dont think it will fit without taking the wings off completely

  5. Marhalim,
    Do you know either there is any change of the plan to have open day for the different airbases in conjunction with the 60th anniversary?


    RMAF has not announced any open day dates yet. I will post the Open Day dates when they announced them.

  6. To be expected that the RAAF’s legacy Hornets are high mileage. In addition to being delivered decades ago over the years they have deployed to the Middle East for ops, regularly deployed to Butterworth as part of FPDA commitments [when no exercises are conducted] and to Butterworth and Singapore for PFDA exercises.

  7. There are plenty of other uses for the aussie classic hornets.

    For example to harvest its upgaded APG-73 radars and transplant them to the younger Kuwaiti hornets, and also as a ready christmas tree to take any other parts we require.

  8. joe,
    There are photos of F-5E’s and A-10’s with wings of and carried in to the C-5 Galaxy which is much bigger than the A400.

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