The Royal Air Force began flying the A400M airplane Atlas began on regular operations in September of last year. With that in mind, perhaps now is a good time to take a look at the aircraft and its capabilities, especially with regards to dangerous landing of special operations.
This impressive aircraft was brought in to replace the venerable C-130 Hercules, variants of which have been in RAF service since the 1960s. When compared to the C-130J Hercules, the Atlas A400M can carry more cargo out to a longer range at a faster speed.
It is capable of operating from austere landing strips, meaning it can fly direct supply missions rather than dropping off the cargo to a ‘hub’ airfield for it to be transferred to a smaller aircraft to deliver the cargp locally, which is sometimes the case with the RAF’s other airlifter, the C-17.