RMAF’s Atlas In Service Support

SEVILLE, SPAIN: UNDER a a contract called Full In Service Support (FISS), Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS) is not only providing maintenance for RMAF’s A400M Atlas fleet but also logistics,training and information services management. Flight service and operations are also provided under the same programme.

In Malaysia, Airbus is working with Sepang Aircraft Engineering Sdn Bhd for the FISS programme. Airbus owns 40 per cent of Sepang Aircraft Engineering.

Flight and technical training for RMAF personnel is still being conducted at Airbus DS facility in Seville, Spain, however.

French Air Force Atlas (top) and Airbus DS A400M Grizzly (test aircraft). Malaysian Defence)
French Air Force Atlas (top) and Airbus DS A400M Grizzly (test aircraft). Malaysian Defence)

The four-year FISS was signed this year after the first A400M for the RMAF was delivered in March. The first Atlas, M54-01 was unveiled at LIMA 2015 show in Langkawi.

According to Airbus Transport Aircraft Services head of operations Stephan A. Miegel, RMAF is the fourth operator of the A400M which selected FISS for its fleet. The other operators are Royal Air Force, Turkish Air Force and French Air Force.

A Turkish A400M Atlas undergoing tests prior to a test flight at the Airbus DS facility in Seville, Spain.
A Turkish A400M Atlas undergoing tests prior to a test flight at the Airbus DS facility in Seville, Spain.

He said other users of the Airbus military transport fleet like the A330 MRTT and C295 aircraft have also selected FISS to support their fleet. Among them are Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Spain and Singapore

Apart from transport aircraft, fighter jets such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Panavia Tornado also come under the ambit FISS programme, though their type of contracts varies from country to country.

Miegel said the RMAF and Airbus worked together in Toulouse for 2 years ahead of the delivery of the first aircraft, which was reflected in the high mission success rate since its introduction into service.

A Luftwaffe A400M Atlas undergoing checks at Airbus DS facility in Spain.
A Luftwaffe A400M Atlas undergoing checks at Airbus DS facility in Spain.

He was speaking at the Airbus Trade Media Briefing 2015 at the Airbus DS facility in Seville last week.

According to Meigel, the A400M fleet including RMAF has recorded a 91 per cent availability rates since entering service.

The second Atlas for RMAF – MSN36 – is expected to be delivered in December, pending the successful completion of its flight test. When Malaysian Defence visited the A400M final assembly facility, MSN36 was undergoing systems checks after the completion of the mating process of the fuselage and the wings.

Atlas MSN36 - destined to be RMAF second Atlas - is undergoing tests prior to assembly at Airbus DS facility in Seville.
Atlas MSN36 – destined to be RMAF second Atlas – is undergoing tests prior to assembly at Airbus DS facility in Seville.

MSN36 is undergoing full system check prior to ground engines run, flight tests and painting prior to pre-delivery acceptance. If all goes well, the future M54-02 is expected to fly to its home base in Subang in December.

A cockpit part of an Atlas being mated to a fuselage at the Airbus DS A400M final assembly facility.
A cockpit part of an Atlas being mated to a fuselage at the Airbus DS A400M final assembly facility.

The third RMAF Atlas is expected to undergo same assembly process soon and is expected to be delivered to RMAF before mid-2017 with the last one expected to fly home by the end of that year.

–Malaysian Defence

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