The Airbus A400M new generation airlifter has successfully achieved its first helicopter air-to-air refueling contacts with an H225M. Over the course of 4 flights, operated in day conditions over the south of France, the A400M performed 51 dry contacts marking a decisive milestone towards its full capability as a tanker. These tests were performed under the coordination of the French “DGA Essais en vol” flight test centre.
The tests, involving no fuel and performed between 1,000 ft and 10,000 ft at flight speeds as low as 105 knots, confirmed the positive results of previous proximity flights conducted at the beginning of 2019. The next step in the flight test program will involve wet contact operations scheduled to take place before the end of 2019 ahead of final certification in 2021. The flight test campaign also included the first proximity trials between the A400M and an H160 helicopter requested by the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) in the frame of the feasibility study for the Guépard (future military multirole helicopter for the French armed forces). Tests were performed successfully.