Aircrew from LXX & 30 Squadron at Brize Norton have been honing their skills to ensure they are fully prepared to land the aircraft on natural surfaces like grass or sand in remote locations.
As part of the training, the aircraft carried a team of Pathfinders from 16 Air Assault Brigade who practiced their rapid disembarkation drills. Within seconds of landing, the braces that secured the Pathfinders’ vehicles in the aircraft were released and they drove off the ramp at the back of the aircraft.
The scale of the Atlas A400M means that the vehicles can fly onboard with all equipment attached and ready to drive off. This enables them to commence their task as soon as they leave the aircraft, which is essential when operating in hostile areas.
To maximise the training opportunity, the Atlas A400M flew with additional pilots to practice these unique landings. Each pilot conducted a series of “touch-and-go” landings as well as “full-stop” landings on the short temporary runway.
The training was facilitated by the RAF’s Tactical Air Traffic Controllers. This specialist team from RAF Brize Norton are responsible for testing the landing surface; marking out the temporary runway and communicating with the pilots as they land.
Wing Commander Gav Anderson, Officer Commanding the Air Mobility training squadron, said: “The Atlas A400M is a step forward in technology, it can carry twice as much, 50% further, 25% faster and the training in Wales today demonstrates its ability to land on short unprepared runways.”