16 April 2012
Malaysia placed an order for four A400Ms in December 2005 with a cost of RM3.5 billion, including training and logistics. Malaysia is expected to receive its first Airbus A400M military airlifter in January 2015 with the rest to follow in in stages, all the aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2016 (photo : Airbus Military)
A400M airlifter gets RMAF chief’s seal of approval
SUBANG: The Airbus Military A400M airlifter has been given the seal of approval by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) on its first appearance in Malaysia.
The modern generation airlifter is currently on a three-nation tour in Asia and RMAF chief Tan Sri Rodzali Daud was impressed with the aircraft, which he said is better than the existing C-130 airlifters.
“We are hoping for the aircraft to be inducted into our air force by January 2015. We are happy to have this asset,” said Rodzali after receiving the aircraft at the RMAF base here yesterday.
“We signed the contract with Airbus for four A400M aircraft in 2005. Certainly, the A400M will be a cost multiplier for the air force because of its many capabilities.
“It can be used for tactical airlifts, long range strategic logistic airlifts as well as air-to-air refueling.”
He added that RMAF expects to send its pilots for training of the A400M in France next year.
Rodzali said Malaysia ordered only four A400M aircraft initially at the cost of RM3.5bil, which includes training and logistics.
He said the A400M would not be a permanent replacement for the C-130. The 20 C-130 airlifters that Malaysia has would continue to be in service.
Airbus Military market development head Didier Vernet said during a press briefing that the A400M was strong enough to carry a helicopter for military operations or excavators and transport trucks needed for humanitarian missions.
The aircraft that arrived here yesterday, the Grizzly 4, is one of five development aircraft, and was flown from Toulouse, France, by chief test pilot Ed Strongman.
Malaysia is the first stop of the A400M Asia-Pacific tour, before it flies to Indonesia's Halim airbase on Wednesday and Thailand's airbase in Chiang Mai on Thursday.
The A400M will remain on display at the Subang airbase for three days, for visits by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, RMAF personnel and invited guests who will be participating at Defence Services Asia 2012.