The new generation Airbus A400M transport aircraft has successfully completed a first series of in-flight refueling contacts for a helicopter, specifically with an H225M. In the course of four flights operated in daylight conditions in the south of France, the A400M carried out 51 dry contacts, marking a decisive step towards its full tanker capacity. The tests were carried out under the coordination of the French flight test center "DGA Essais en vol".
The tests, which did not include fuel and were performed between the 1.000 and the 10.000 feet at speeds up to 105 knots, confirmed the positive results of previous proximity flights conducted at the beginning of the 2019. The next phase of flight tests, which foresees 'wet' contact operations, are scheduled by the end of the 2019, before the final certification in the 2021.
At the request of the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA), the flight test program also included the first proximity tests between the A400M and a helicopter, required in the feasibility study for the Guépard helicopter (the future multi-role military helicopter for the French armed forces). The tests were performed successfully.