SHAH ALAM: One of the four Airbus A400M Atlas airlifter has returned from Seville, Spain after undergoing an upgrade for its capabilities. Although the Airbus release did not identify the aircraft, from the picture it provided, it is the third Atlas – M54-03. Malaysian Defence did a story on its delivery and arrival in 2016.
The Airbus release:
Seville, 24 February 2022 – The first Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) A400M upgraded with tactical capabilities has returned to Malaysia. The upgrades were implemented by Airbus in Seville, enabling the aircraft to perform new missions such as aerial delivery, full paratrooper deployment or low level flight.
In operation with the RMAF since 2015, the A400M has already changed the customer’s airlift operative, playing a key role in all mission types, including cargo and personnel transport, humanitarian and disaster relief missions, transport of heavy equipment, support to the national strategy in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, medical transport, as well as air-to-air refuelling operations. The RMAF became the programme’s first export customer and is the first A400M operator in the Asia-Pacific region.
With more than 10,000 flight hours achieved by its fleet, the RMAF is also the A400M fleet leader, having the aircraft with more flight hours and flight cycles accumulated among the A400M customers. As fleet leader, the RMAF fleet provides a valuable reference for all existing A400M customers and Airbus.
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The release also noted that the RMAF A400M fleet has the highest flight hours compared to the other operators, much like its Airbus EC725 fleet.
As mentioned in the release, tail number 03 is now cleared for tactical missions from aerial delivery, full paratrooper deployment and low level flight. It is likely that the other three A400M will also be upgraded with the same capabilities though it is unclear whether it will be done here or in Seville.
— Malaysian Defence