Validating yet another tactical capability, the Airbus A400M Atlas was able to carry, for the first time, a VBMR Griffon, the brand new armored vehicle of the French Army.
The 24.5-ton Griffon was loaded on the Air Base 188 Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa. “For the loading of the vehicle in terms of height, everything was played out a few centimeters,” explains the captain of the airlifter.
The multi-role armored vehicle (VBMR) that entered service in 2019 is 7.58 meters (24 feet) in length, 2.54 meters (8 feet) wide, and 3.50 meters (11 feet) in height. It is the backbone of the French infantry transport. The Griffon was also acquired by Belgium, which incidentally operates the A400M in a bi-national squadron shared with Luxemburg.
Once the vehicle loaded, the A440M flew for about seven hours before it reached the Air Base 123 Orléans-Bricy, in France, where it was unloaded. Onboard were three pilots, three flight engineers, and a team of transport experts from the French procurement agency (DGA) on board.
The A400M is a military transport aircraft designed by Airbus Defence and Space. It entered service in 2013, and is offered as a successor for older transporters such as the C-130 Hercules or the C-160 Transall.
In October 2019, the airlifter completed the certification flight test for the simultaneous dispatch of 80 equipped paratroopers from both side doors on a single pass. It can also act as a refueler for fighter jets and helicopters.