Airbus Military handed over the first A400M Atlas airlifter to the Turkish air force in a ceremony at its production facility earlier in the month, the company announced. Turkey’s A400M is the third Atlas off the assembly line, following delivery of the first two operational airlifters to the French air force last year. The first A400M bound for Britain’s Royal Air Force is currently in final assembly along with another two Atlases for the RAF, according to a service release. “Our people, including aircrew, engineers, and support crew, are currently preparing at the International Training Center to operate the aircraft,” said RAF Air Vice Marshal Sean Reynolds during a visit to the production line in Seville, Spain, according to an RAF release. Meanwhile, Airbus launched work on Germany’s first example early this year, which is slated for delivery in November, the company announced. The company has firm orders for a total of 174 A400Ms thus far.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.