The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has cleared the Airbus Defence and Space (DS) A400M Atlas transport aircraft to conduct the full range of aero medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) duties.
The milestone, which was announced by the service on 23 May, sees the A400M granted its full aeromedical evacuation capability for high dependency and highly infectious patients.
As noted by the RAF, the A400M will now be able to carry up to 66 low- to medium-dependency stretcher patients or four high dependency stretcher patients. The Critical Care Air Support Team (CCAST), based at RAF Brize Norton, provides care equivalent to that found in an NHS Intensive Care Unit, including intubation and ventilation.
The aircraft also supports the Air Transportable Isolator (ATI), which is a secure plastic bubble that allows patients with highly infectious diseases to be transported safely. Once landed, the ATI patient is transported to the hospital (usually the Royal Free Hospital in London) by ambulance. The RAF maintains this particular capability on behalf of the British Government, given its experience of transporting patients with infectious diseases back to the United Kingdom.
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