The French air force christened its second A400M airlifter the City of Toulouse in honor of its birthplace, announced manufacturer Airbus Military. The Jan. 22 ceremony in Toulouse, France, came less than a month after the type’s operational debut in Mali. Although the A400M, dubbed Atlas, is a joint European project, both production aircraft thus far have gone to France. The first production airframe delivered its inaugural operational load, some 22 tons of supplies, to French forces in Mali on Dec. 29. French A400Ms are expected to reach full operational capability by the end of 2014, according to the French defense ministry. Also in December, Alenia Aermacchi test flew the first Royal Australian Air Force C-27J transport in Italy, announced the company. Alenia and US contractor L-3 are slated to deliver 10 C-27Js to Australia.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.