1 August 2013: Airbus Military finally delivered the first A400M to the French Air Force. 10 years since the first orders, 3 years behind schedule and several billion euros over budget, but the first delivery paves the way for series deliveries to commence. Aviation Week Intelligence Network's Fleet database shows a further 173 aircraft on order for the European partner nations of Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, UK, Turkey, plus 4 for Malaysia and a single aircraft for Luxembourg. Three more are expected to be delivered to France this year (to be based at Orleans-Bricy) and the first for Turkey.
Airbus sees the A400M as a competitor to the Lockheed-Martin C-130J, which is somewhat smaller, and the larger Boeing C-17, which is more expensive to operate.
Photo: Nigel Howarth