Farewell, Grizzly; Hello, Atlas

The seven partner nations sponsoring the development of Airbus Military’s A400M airlifter officially christened the aircraft the “Atlas,” announced the company. “Atlas is going to be a major capability for defense, and the Royal Air Force is looking forward to Atlas joining our world-class fleet of air mobility aircraft,” said RAF Air Chief Marshal Stephen Dalton, reported Aero News Network on July 13. The naming ceremony was held on July 6 at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, Britain. Airbus test pilots unofficially dubbed the prototype A400M the “Grizzly,” two years ago, leading Dalton to famously quip that the airlifter would enter RAF service under that name over his “dead body,” reported Reuters at the time. Last week, Airbus announced that it has begun final assembly of the first A400M for Turkey. The company is scheduled to deliver the first completed Atlas to the French air force early next year. The remaining A400M partner nations are Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, and Spain.