Airbus A400M: it will be more present overseas, promises General Mille

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A first Airbus A400M Atlas should be established in 2027, “but going up to five is very optimistic,” noted General Stéphane Mille, Chief of Staff of the Air Force and the French Air Force. Space, in front of the deputies, this October 5.

Ramp up of overseas deployments of the Airbus A400M Atlas

The Chief of Staff of the Air and Space Force returned, in front of the deputies, to the overseas deployments of Airbus A400M Atlas of which 23 examples will be in service at the end of 2024 (with two deliveries planned in the year), and “at least 35” in 2030. “Depending on the number of planes available, we can imagine having more outside France, but not necessarily more stationed inside. outside the hexagon, which poses maintenance problems, infrastructure is needed. We will have more and more A400Ms present overseas: in 2024, 15 days per month and a half of A400Ms, with one aircraft permanently present from 2027. If we need A400Ms for RESEVAC (evacuation of nationals, Editor’s note), we will bring them back. Going up to five aircraft permanently stationed overseas is very optimistic, but if we can occasionally have five A400Ms overseas, that could happen, when we send Pégase, we have 4 between Polynesia and New Caledonia.”

Rafale potential gains

General Mille also welcomed the gains in Rafale potential, going from 250 hours per plane per year to 290, thus making it possible to take into account (without completely compensating them) the drains of the 24 aircraft for Greece and Croatia ( the first of which was delivered on Monday). According to the CEMAAE, availability gains continued in fighter aviation (+3%), mainly because the planes benefited earlier from verticalized contracts. On the other hand, other devices (transport and helicopters) are experiencing a “plateau, or even a slight decline”. The CEMAAE also observes that “the transition times and ramp-up of verticalization markets are too long”.

Fragility on helicopters

The head of the aviators also concedes a “fragility on the helicopters. Our Puma fleet will soon reach 50 years of age: maintaining a 50-year-old fleet is obviously complicated. In 2024 we will have the delivery of the first Caracal of the aeronautical support plan (promised to Guyana, Editor’s note), and we will recover 16 Caracals (including 8 from the army, Editor’s note) to replace 20 Puma (today in Cayenne, Nouméa, Djibouti, Solenzara Editor’s note) (…) Helicopters are those from our overseas territories, often the only means of traveling to part of these overseas territories,” concluded General Mille.

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