RAF Atlas C1
The RAF is inducting the Airbus Atlas C1, its designation for the A400M, into service with Nos 24 and 70 Squadrons at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. The first of 22 such aircraft arrived in November 2014 and deliveries of the whole fleet are expected to be completed by 2019. The four-turboprop A400M combines the attributes of a tactical airlifter, in being able to operate from short, unprepared strips, with the long-range strategic capabilities of heavy jet transports. Many different loads can be accommodated, from an all-troop-carrying configuration, via a mixture of troops and equipment, up to large cargoes such as two Apache or Puma helicopters. The RAF will gradually expand the type's tactical capabilities as it gets ready to retire the C-130J Hercules from service in 2022. No 24 Squadron is the RAF's Fixed-Wing Air Mobility Operational Conversion Unit, while No 70 Squadron is the service's first operational Atlas unit.