Paramount’s innovative AHRLAC (advanced high-performance reconnaissance light aircraft) program is advancing rapidly, with the first prototype now in the final stages of construction. The South African company intends to fly the first machine next year, but will not give a more exact schedule.
Airbus Military flew the fifth and last A400M development aircraft for the first time on December 20. This aircraft carries only a light load of flight-test instruments and will be used mainly for electromagnetic interference (EMI) testing, cold-weather trials, the proving of cargo loads and operational demonstrations. The company reports the A400M has now logged more than 2,500 of the 3,700 flight-test hours planned.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (Hall 4, F218) PT6As will power the first civil aircraft certified on the African continent, the company announced here in Paris. Developed by South Africa’s Aerosud, the two-seat airplane will serve in reconnaissance and surveillance roles.
There was good news and bad news for Europe’s troubled airlifter last week. Airbus Military said the first A400M is now in the hands of the flight-test team and on course for a first flight by the end of the year. And the program gained a strong endorsement from the UK Royal Air Force commander. But South Africa canceled its order for eight aircraft and claimed a refund of $391 million already handed over.
Just before the 2003 Paris Air Show, the long-running saga of the Airbus Military A400M finally resulted in a definitive launch for the project, when seven European nations signed up to purchase 180 of the military transports.