A Royal Air Force Airbus A400M Atlas transport aircraft made an unprecedented 22-hour flight from RAF Bryce Norton in Great Britain to Guam (Pacific Ocean). This is reported by Militarnyi with reference to RAF press office.

The Airbus A400M Atlas with flight number ZM420 took off from Bryce Norton Air Force Base on July 3, 2023 and received three mid-air refuelings – over the Atlantic, over Alaska and over the Pacific Ocean.

The Airbus A400M Atlas transport plane of the Royal Air Force made a record 22-hour flight

The thing is that the turboprop Airbus A400M Atlas belongs to the category of so-called Tactical airlift, that is, planes and helicopters for transporting supplies and equipment within the theater of operations, as opposed to strategic air transport. But the A400M Atlas has some strategic properties, such as the ability to refuel in the air, which is not require for Tactical airlift. At the same time, the A400M can itself act as an air tanker and refuel fighters.

The Airbus A400M Atlas transport plane of the Royal Air Force made a record 22-hour flight

The Airbus A400M Atlas is a military cargo aircraft developed by Airbus Defense and Space to replace the obsolete Transall C-160 (first flight in 1963) and Lockheed C-130 Hercules (first flight in 1954). It is larger than its predecessors, but smaller than the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, can carry a heavier load than the C-130 and use dirt runways.

A test sample of the Airbus A400M Atlas took to the air in 2009, and since 2013 it has been in service with the air forces of Germany, France, Spain, Great Britain (22 aircraft), Turkey, Belgium, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Kazakhstan and Indonesia. A total of 112 aircraft have already been produced.


Airbus A400M Atlas specifications
Crew – 3 or 4 (2 pilots + 1 additional, 1 cargo master)
Capacity – 37,000 kg (116 fully equipped troops, up to 66 stretchers accompanied by 25 medical personnel)
Cargo compartment – 4 × 3.85 × 17.71 m
Length – 45.1 m
Wingspan – 42.4 m
Height – 14.7 m
Wing area – 225.1 m²
Empty weight – 78,600 kg
Maximum take-off weight – 141,000 kg
Fuel capacity – 50,500 kg
Maximum landing weight – 123,000 kg
Powerplant – 4 × Europrop TP400-D6, with a capacity of 8,200 kW (11,000 hp) each
Maximum speed – Mach 0.72
Cruise speed – 781 km/h at an altitude of 9,450 m
Cruising altitude – 9,000 m
Maximum operating ceiling – 12,200 m
Range – 3,300 km at maximum payload
Range with 30-tonne payload – 4,500 km
Range with 20-tonne payload – 6,400 km
Tactical takeoff distance – 980 m
Tactical landing distance – 770 m