Airbus tests oversize military cargo loading system on Beluga

(To Airbus)

Airbus Defense and Space has developed and tested a cargo system that allows oversized military cargo to be carried on the Airbus Beluga A300-600ST aircraft. The capability was successfully tested during a verification exercise with the German Armed Forces, the system's first customer, loading on Beluga a CH53 medium tonnage military helicopter.

"The demand for oversize air cargo capacity is increasing. Capacity is scarce and, in light of current geopolitical developments, many customers are looking for new, fast and efficient solutions. This is exactly what we offer with the our BelugaST fleet ", said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defense and Space. "Our teams have worked on an amazing solution to facilitate fast, efficient and autonomous handling to load heavy military cargo onto the aircraft. Speed, agility and range are crucial elements for our customers when dealing with operations of this kind. guy".

The new system and the new self-financed loading template, developed by Airbus Defense and Space engineers, were presented to the customer representatives of the international armed forces after the verification event which took place in Manching, north of Munich. The system was developed and produced from scratch in a year and a half: from the initial exchange of ideas with the German customer to its verification, still subject to final confirmation by the Bundesweht in the coming weeks. The system allows loading of a CH53 in reduced decommissioning state to be completed in less than an hour and a half, while the actual loading process on the Beluga can be done in about an hour. The total lifting capacity of the system, which does not require a crane for its use, reaches 35 tons and can be relocated to the aircraft's destination.

Before announcing plans to offer the services of the existing BelugaST fleet earlier this year. the fleet of five aircraft was used exclusively for the transport of large aircraft sections between the various Airbus sites as part of the company's production system. With the advent of the new BelugaXL, based on the larger A330-200 platform, the existing BelugaST fleet is ready for customer transportation services around the world.

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