Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.

Airbus A400M passes air-to-air refuelling test

The prime is one step closer to securing air-to-air refuelling certification for its A400M helicopter.

The prime is one step closer to securing air-to-air refuelling certification for its A400M helicopter.

The Airbus A400M airlifter has now completed the majority of its development and certification objectives for its air-to-air refuelling certification campaign following a successful demonstration.  


Airbus Defence and Space aims to secure full helicopter air-to-air refuelling certification later this year following the conclusion of all mandatory night operation trials. The refuelling tests, which were performed in coordination with the French Armament General Directorate (DGA), involved operations with two French Air Force H225M helicopters.

The demonstrations took place in both day and night conditions over the west coast of France at between 1,000 feet and 10,000 feet at flight speeds as low as 105 knots.

A total of 81 wet contacts and transfers of 6.5 tonnes of fuel were completed during the flight tests, which included simultaneous refuelling of two helicopters.

According to Airbus, the tests confirmed the positive results of the dry and wet contact operations undertaken in 2019 and 2020.

“Helicopter air-to-air refuelling is a unique military capability and key for Special Forces operations, involving aircraft with different flight profiles and sharing a very limited common flight envelope, requiring close formation flying patterns at low altitudes and night time conditions,” Airbus noted in a statement.


“With this capability the A400M becomes one of the few tanker aircraft in the world capable of such operations.

The A400M is built to carry up to 50.8 tonnes of fuel in its wings and centre wing box, without compromising any cargo hold area.

According to Airbus, the aircraft is also capable of carrying two additional cargo hold tanks, providing a further 5.7 tonnes of fuel each. This supports the use of different types of fuel, enabling the A400M to support a number of receiver aircraft.

[Related: Airbus delivers final H145 SAR helicopter to German military]

Airbus A400M passes air-to-air refuelling test
lawyersweekly logo

more from defence connect

Defence holds firm on AIC targets
May 14 2021
‘No easy ride for primes’: Defence holds firm on AIC targets
The Commonwealth government “won’t be afraid to use a big stick” if defence primes do not meet their AIC obligations, Minist...
May 14 2021
Will Australia’s Afghanistan withdrawal rekindle the terror threat?
Will the withdrawal of a Western military presence in Afghanistan breathe new life into wounded Islamic terrorist groups like al-Q...
May 14 2021
EPE, Peraton partner to enhance UGV capability
The firms have agreed to collaborate to develop next-generation unmanned ground vehicle capability in Australia and New Zealand. ...