January 2015 RMAF will received its Airbus A-400M

Air Force personnel posing in front of the Airbus Military A400M during the aircraft welcoming ceremony at the RMAF base. (Inset) The carg...

Air Force personnel posing in front of the Airbus Military A400M during the aircraft welcoming ceremony at the RMAF base. (Inset) The cargo hold of the aircraft.

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.

Trainer Aircraft 6466060215413218944

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