Turning a few heads in Penarth this afternoon was the RAF’s new Airbus A400M Atlas freighter which overflew the town twice at an altitude of around 2000 feet.
The new Atlas freighters are set to replace the RAF’s ageing fleet of Lockheed C1 and C3 Hercules load-luggers which have been in service for many years.
The RAF is taking delivery of 22 of the new heavy-lift aircraft all of which are due to be delivered by 2019 . The Atlases can carry a load of 25 tonnes over a range of 2000 nautical miles – and the Air Force says they can fly at speeds scomparable with pure-jet aircraft.
The Atlas can accommodate up to 108 paratroopers, can land on pretty much anything – even unprepared strips or roads and each is powered by four Europrop International turbo prop engines said to be the most powerful of their type in the world.