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RAF receives final A400M airlifter

The 22nd and final UK A400M was delivered to RAF Brize Norton on 22 May. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has received into service the last of its Airbus A400M C1 Atlas airlifters currently under contract.

Aircraft ZM421, the 22nd A400M, was flown from the final assembly line in Seville, Spain, into the home of the UK's fixed-wing air mobility force at RAF Brize Norton station in Oxfordshire on 22 May.

The A400M provides the RAF's mid-tier airlift capability, with its 37 tonne payload capacity sitting between the 22 tonne of the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules and the 72 tonne of the Boeing C-17A Globemaster III. With the retirement of the C-130J in the coming weeks, the A400M will be the smallest dedicated airlifter in the RAF inventory, although the Dassault Envoy IV liaison aircraft has a secondary air mobility role and the Boeing Chinook heavy-lift helicopter can carry smaller loads over shorter distances if required.

The RAF operates two units for the type in 70 and 30 squadrons, while the 206 Squadron continues to roll out the aircraft's capabilities with 24 Squadron training crews.

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