New RAF Atlas transport aircraft capable of lifting 37-ton payload arrives in UK

RAF Boeing Atlas aircraft
Royal Air Force (UK)

The United Kingdom’s newest Royal Air Force (RAF) Atlas transport aircraft has landed at the Brize Norton station in Oxfordshire.  

The Airbus-built four-engine turboprop is the 22nd Atlas C1 (A400M) arrival, completing the delivery development and production phase. 

The large aircraft was assembled in Seville, Spain, where wings manufactured in the UK were also fitted. 

Development will continue with aircraft cycling through a retrofit program to reach an operating configuration with significant commonality to that of the other A400M operators France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Benelux, and Malaysia. 

In parallel, its tactical capability will continue to expand, including the full range of support to UK airborne forces. 

“Recent events in Sudan have illustrated once again the importance of tactical air mobility. Operating from an austere airfield Atlas helped evacuate over 2200 entitled personnel and fly them to safety,” Air Vice-Marshal Mark Flewin said. 

He added: “The latest aircraft therefore joins a fleet which is already proven in operations and utilized globally in support of UK interests.” 

Atlas has a fly-by-wire flight control system and full glass cockpit. It can carry a 37-ton payload over 2,000nm to both established and remote civilian and military airfields.  

Its short field performance lets it operate from short un-prepared and semi-prepared strips, all achievable whilst utilizing night vision goggles. 

Since entering RAF service in 2014, Atlas has taken part in relief operations in the Caribbean and contributed fully to the military response to COVID, transporting patients, equipment, and vaccines.  

It played a pivotal role in the evacuation of entitled personnel from Afghanistan and Sudan and has provided support to UK Defense operations around the globe, including the Middle East, Falkland Islands, and Mali. 

In addition, Atlas supports enduring operations in the Middle East and NATO Air Policing operations in the Baltic.   

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