As part of an operational trial, an A400M Atlas transport aircraft of the French Air and Space Force transported for the first time a Griffon armoured vehicle from the Djibouti to Orleans, France.
This was the first time that an A400M had loaded and transported a Griffon, the French Army’s flagship multi-role armoured vehicle. Weighing 24.5 tonnes, and with outsized dimensions (7.58m x 2.54m x 3.50m), its missions are to support and transport combatants as close as possible to combat areas. Carrying ten men, it has a strong ballistic protection capability and a remotely-operated turret with 12.7 mm machine gun and a GALIX grenade launcher system, the French Army said.
During a flight lasting approximately 7 hours, the crew, composed of three pilots and three flight engineers from the 61st Transport Wing (ET) and the Tactical Transport Aircraft (EM ATT) project team from Air Base 123 at Orleans, transported the vehicle.
The operation proved tricky, considering the sheer weight (20.8 tonnes for 37 tonnes of load capacity of the A400M Atlas) and the size of the Griffon. “When it came to loading the vehicle in terms of height, everything was a matter of a few centimetres,” explained the captain. After a number of measures taken, a real reorganization of the methods of loading and unloading of the hold