French H225M refuels from Airbus A400M for first time

French H225M refuels from Airbus A400M for first time 21 Aug, 20, Source: DGA

[electronic translation] On July 22, 2020, the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) and Airbus Helicopters carried out the first refueling test flight with fuel transfer between an A400M Atlas transport aircraft and a Caracal helicopter.

Until then, only “dry” in-flight contact tests had been carried out in order to assess the aerodynamic behavior of the aircraft and to check the feasibility of the contacts between the helicopter’s refueling pole and the basket of the refueling pipe. A400M.

This time, the test campaign, carried out from July 20 to 31, 2020 with an Airbus A400M and a Caracal from the EH 1/67 “Pyrenees” helicopter squadron of Cazaux made available by the French army. ‘Air, aimed to transfer fuel between the two aircraft in order to assess the flight envelope and refueling performance.

On the Caracal side, this campaign will make it possible to open up the operational capacity for refueling by A400M in addition to that by KC130J of the Air Force. On the A400M side, the aircraft is already suitable for refueling fighter jets like the Rafale or large carriers like the C-130 or even another A400M. This campaign prepares for the addition of the helicopter refueling capacity, scheduled for 2021. It is one of the last capacities still to be qualified under the final aircraft standard expected in 2022.

The DGA Flight Tests center of expertise and tests supervised the performance of these tests, in compliance with specific health measures. The A400M and the Caracal were operated by mixed DGA / Airbus crews.

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