SHAH ALAM: Airbus has successfully completed the certification flight tests for the A400M Cargo Hold Tanks (CHT) refueling unit, taking a new step towards the full certification of the aircraft for air-to-air refueling operations as a tanker.
Tanking a A400M during the CHT trials.
The campaign, performed together with the Spanish Air Force Test Centre (CLAEX), featured a total of nine flights where 90 tonnes of fuel were dispensed to Spanish Air Force F-18 receivers and to another A400M prototype as a representative heavy aircraft receiver.
The test campaign included the development and certification of the Cargo Hold Tanks with the latest Fuel Quantity Management System software, to be certified during 2019, enhancement of the night refueling vision system and preliminary testing of helicopter air-to-air refueling capabilities.
As previously reported here RMAF has already certified air to air refueling with its three fighters, the Flanker, Hornet and Hawks. The certification of the CHT will go along way in improving the capabilities of the Atlas – four of which are in service with RMAF.
A RMAF Hawk Mk 208 being refueled by the A400M. 25th Hawk Anniversary FB.
I am not sure whether RMAF has the CHT or if not, whether there is a need for them to buy them. I guess however the more important development of the A400M now is the capability to deploy paratroopers from the aircraft as it was originally envisioned.
8 RRD troopers inside a RMAF Hercules waiting for their jump in January 2018. Note the rucksack on the knees.
At the moment, it still cannot do that, so the Hercules – at least in RMAF service – will remain the principal aircraft for deploying paratroopers in Malaysia. With Airbus ending the production of the A380 airliner, will the latest enhancement to the A400M preserve its future?
RMAF A400Ms in a four aircraft formation at the Merdeka Parade rehersal.
In other news, Airbus also confirmed that a RMAF A400M is to take part in the Avalon Airshow in Australia from Feb 25 to Mar. 3.
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