PETALING JAYA – The A400M aircraft of the Royal Malaysian Airforce (TUDM) can boost the national defence capability via Strategic Airlift and Tactical Airlift operations.
The aircraft, which arrived yesterday, has a further reach and can carry more cargo compared to the C-130 Hercules, which is also part of TUDM’s assets.
The aircraft is also capable of performing missions such as Medical Evacuation, Air-to Air Refuelling, Aerial Delivery (Paratroops & Logistics)and Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief Operations.
TUDM chief, General Datuk Seri Roslan Saad said three more A400M would arrive in stages, two this year, and the other, early next year.
“Malaysia is the first in Asia to use the A400M, and the fifth after France, Germany, Turkey and the United Kingdom,” he told a media conference after a reception ceremony for the A400M at the TUDM Air Force Base in Subang here, today.
The A400M was flown by TUDM pilots headed by Lt Col Masro Kaliwon and assisted by four Air Quartermasters. It left Seville, Spain Thursday for Abu Dhabi, and arrived in Malaysia yesterday.
The Airbus Defence Company-built A400M can carry a 20-tonne load for 3,400 nautical miles without refuelling at a height of 37,000 feet and at a speed of 0.72 Mach.
Roslan said a new unit, Squadron 22, had been created to handle the aircraft and 15 officers (pilots and engineers) and 30 personnel (loadmaster and technicians) had undergone basic course at the International Training Centre in Servile.
“TUDM is coordinating the course and training requirements with Airbus Defence & Space involving eight pilots, four loadmasters, and 24 technicians,” he said.
The A400M would be officially introduced during the opening of the 2015 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) Exhibition on March 17.
It would also be displayed to the public during ’15 LIMA, until March 21.
In the meantime, Roslan said the new aircraft would not replace C-130 Hercules which currently are utilised mostly for transportation activities.
“C-130 is still being used, and both have their respective roles,” he said.
Meanwhile, Masro said it was the ‘best feeling’ when he flew the aircraft from Seville, Spain to Subang, which took about 18 hours.
“Compared to my previous aircraft, this is better, with modern instrument system. It can fly higher, which reduces fuel (consumption) and operation costs, and it can ferry more cargo,” said Masro who previously flew the C-130 Hercules. – BERNAMA