Kazakhstan is reportedly negotiating with Airbus Defense & Space the acquisition of two A400M, according to diplomatic sources cited by Spanish media ABC.
The capabilities of the transport aircraft were showcased to the Kazakh authorities several times. In May 2018, Airbus sent one A400M to the Kazakh defense exhibition KADEX to “demonstrate its complementarity to the C295” ‒ a transport aircraft that the Kazakh Air Force already operates.
More recently, in September 2020, the British Royal Air Force presented their A400M to several members of the Kazakh government during a visit to promote bilateral military cooperation between the two countries. “As part of the demonstration, the A400M was loaded with an Arlan Armoured vehicle and Airbus Test pilots showcased the aircraft’s technical capabilities to Kazakh Air Defense Force Officers,” the RAF stated.
The A400M is a military transport aircraft designed by Airbus Defence and Space. It entered service in 2013, and is offered as a successor for older transporters such as the C-130 Hercules or the C-160 Transall. It is capable of transporting up to 37 tonnes of cargo or 116 soldiers with their equipment over 4,500 kilometers.
Serving within an area of over 2,7 million square kilometers (1 million square miles), the Kazakh Air Force need for transportation capability is a priority, as noted by ABC.
If the sale goes through, Kazakhstan will become the ninth operator of the transport aircraft after Germany, France, Spain, United Kingdom, Turkey, Malaysia, Luxembourg, and Belgium. The latter received its first A400M on December 22, 2020.