CHIANGRAI TIMES – The Airbus Military A400M flew over Thailand for the very first time on Thursday as it takes part in the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Royal Thai Air Force – “The Centennial of the RTAF Founding Fathers’ Aviation”.
The visit is the final leg of the first Asia Pacific Tour the A400M is making. The imposing aircraft has already visited Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Chiang Mai and now Bangkok, before it returns to Europe.
The aircraft for the tour is Grizzly 4, one of the five development aircraft. Malaysia is the first Asian customer, having ordered four A400Ms, which has as its launch customer nations Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the UK.
“We have a long standing relationship with Thailand where several of our smaller aircraft are already operating successfully for years,” said Ignacio Alonso, Airbus Military Senior Vice President for Commercial, Strategy and Industrial Relations, Asia. “Last year one of our C295s undertook a humanitarian mission to the province of Nakhorn Sawan to support the relief efforts for the floods that affected the area. And today we are proud to bring the A400M to Thailand and participate in the 100th anniversary of the Royal Thai Air Force showing the multi-role capabilities of this new generation airlifter. We hope to see the A400M flying with the Royal Thai Air Force in the future.”
The A400M combines both tactical and strategic/logistic missions, while being also able to be used as a tanker plane. With its cargo hold specifically designed to carry the outsize equipment needed today for both military and humanitarian disaster relief missions, it can bring this material quickly and directly to where it is most needed.