The first Airbus Military A400M military airlifter (MSN 1) made its first flight today, taking off at 10:15 a.m. local time (0915 UTC) from Seville, Spain, for a three-hour, 47-minute flight, according to EADS. The six-person crew, led by Edward Strongman, Airbus chief test pilot, military, said the aircraft and its four Europrop International TP400D turboprop engines performed as expected.
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.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries aims to deliver the first XP-1 fixed-wing maritime patroller to Japan’s defense ministry by the end of this year. The aircraft, rolled out as P-X, completed a successful hour-long first flight on September 28 from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s Gifu Base.
New aircraft rollouts are all too rare these days, so the double unveiling by Kawasaki Heavy Industries of its C-X transport and P-X maritime patroller was a welcome surprise, even if the revelation was not a public occasion.
Japan’s Air Self Defence Force (JASDF), which is accustomed to having the most modern variants of U.S. fighter aircraft designs, now appears to be interested in acquiring for its F-X next-generation fighter one of the most expensive ever built: the Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor.