A welcome visitor to the recent Royal Australian Air Force Airshow held at RAAF Base Edinburgh, was the inclusion of an Royal Air Force, Airbus A400M Atlas C.1 for static display.
Arriving on the Friday before the show from RAAF Pearce, the aircraft was a welcome International visitor to the show.
Aviation Spotters Online spent time with the crew from XXIV Squadron out of RAF Brize Norton.
Royal Air Force and the Airbus A400M Altas
Great Britain, along with the other partner nations including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, and Luxembourg, have all ordered the Airbus A400M. The Royal Air Force originally ordered 25 aircraft which was later reduced to 22 examples.
The type entered service with the RAF in 2014, to compliment the current fleets of Lockheed C-130 Hercules, and the larger Boeing C-17A Globemaster already in service.
Royal Air Force Base Brize Norton
RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, is approximately 121 kms West North-West of London. As one of the largest bases of the Royal Air Force, it is the home of RAF Air Transport, which comprises elements such as Air-to-Air refuelling and Military Parachuting units. RAF Brize Norton is home to many different types of aircraft such as the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, Airbus A400M Atlas and the Airbus Voyager.
Below is a list of the current serving Squadrons –
- No.10 Squadron – Airbus Voyager KC2/KC3
- No. 206 Squadron – Airbus A400m Atlas C.1 . * Of note – As of April 1st 2009, the Heavy Aircraft Test & Evaluation Squadron at RAF Boscombe Down (Air Warfare Centre), gained the 206 Squadron Number Plate, as 206 (Reserve) Squadron. ( Currently the unit is split between RAF Boscombe Down and RAF Brize Norton).
- No. 24 Squadron – Lockheed C-130J Hercules C4/C5 and Airbus A400M Atlas – Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) which became the Air Mobility Operational Conversion Unit for the Hercules, Atlas and C-17 in 2013. No.24 Squadron is responsible for aircrew training (C-130J Hercules and A400M Atlas) and engineer training (C-130J Hercules, A400M Atlas and C-17A Globemaster).
- No. 47 Squadron – C-130J Hercules C4/C5
- No. 70 Squadron – A400M Atlas the squadron reformed on 1 October 2014 and was officially “stood up” on 24 July 2015 becoming the Royal Air Force’s first frontline A400M squadron.
- No. 99 Squadron – C-17 Globemaster III
- No. 101 Squadron – Voyager KC2/KC3
Some interesting facts attaining to the three active Squadrons within the RAF that operate the Airbus A400M Atlas C.1 – Numbers 24, 70 and 206 Squadrons.
Notable history of 206 Squadron includes:
- Flew anti submarine patrols during the Second World War.
- Former aircraft include the Avro Shackleton, the Nimrod and Avro Anson.
- Moved from MoD Boscombe Down in 2014 to begin testing the Atlas (A400M) at RAF Brize Norton.
- 1916 – Formed as a Royal Naval Air Service fighter unit.
- 1918 – Reformed as a bomber unit, and renumbered 206 on 1 April.
- 1936 – 206 Squadron reformed at RAF Manston providing advanced flying training for newly fledged pilots.
- 1944 – Converted to Consolidated Liberators.
- 2009 – The Heavy Aircraft Test & Evaluation Squadron, based at MOD Boscombe Down, became 206 (Reserve) Squadron.
Notable history of 70 Squadron includes:
- Had the first British fighter equipped with a machine gun synchronised to fire through the propeller
- Aircraft flown have included the Camel, Liberator VI, Dakota and the Hercules
- Provided vital support to the UK relief effort in the Caribbean after hurricane Irma
- 1916 – Formed at Farnborough.
- 1928 – Took part in the world’s first large-scale airborne evacuation from Kabul.
- 1956 – Dropped parachute troops in to Port Said during the Suez Crisis.
- 2010 – The Hercules squadron disbanded while awaiting for Atlas (A400M).
Notable history of 24 Squadron includes:
- Formed in 1915 as a scout unit
- Aircraft operated have included the Tiger Moth, the Dakota I and IV and the Hastings
- Trains the aircrew and engineers of the Air Mobility Fleet
- 1915 – Formed at Hounslow as a DH.2 scout unit.
- 1945 – Began short-range operations on Dakotas.
- 1945 – Supported personnel movement during the Nuremberg Trials.
- 2013 – Became the Air Mobility Operational Conversion Unit for the Hercules, Atlas and C-17.
The Airbus A400M is now firmly apart of the Royal Air Force Air Transport group. Filling the gap between the Legacy C-130 Hercules and Boeing C-17A Globemaster.
For further information on the Airbus A400M check out the teams photos and videos when they flew as guests with the Royal Malaysian Air Force and Airbus.
Aviation Spotters Online wishes to thank the crew of The Royal Air Force crew for their time and tour of the Airbus A400M Atlas during the RAAF Edinburgh 2019 Airshow
Dave & Mark.