The Airbus A400M Atlas played a critical support role in the US tour of France’s celebrated Patrouille de France formation aerobatic team to commemorate the centenary of the USA’s entry into World War 1.
An aircraft of the Orléans-based Escadron de Transport 1/61 Touraine accompanied the team’s 10 Alpha Jets throughout the 24 stops of the tour which began in March and ended early May.
Around 25 tonnes of equipment and 60 personnel were transported between the locations of a variety of public displays and goodwill visits.
The A400M itself took part in some of the displays using its jet-like speed and exceptional agility to add variety to the performance and act as a reliable photoship to help capture aerial video and photos. Its advanced navigation and communication equipment have been invaluable in safely leading the team and handling air traffic control.
Highlights included flypasts of New York harbour, Washington DC, and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco as well as visits to the USA´s own formation aerobatic teams – the Blue Angels of the US Navy and the Thunderbirds of the US Air Force.
France has taken delivery of 11 A400Ms out of 50 that it has ordered for the transformation of its air mobility fleet.