MADRID, March 14 (UPI) -- The European Aviation Safety Agency has certified that Airbus Military's new A400M airlifter meets full civil airworthiness standards.
Airbus Military, which designed the aircraft to meet civilian and as well military standards, said the certification is "a critical step" toward delivery of the first A400M to the French air force.
"Certifying the A400M to civil as well as military standards has been a huge challenge for us, our suppliers and EASA itself," said Cedric Gautier, Airbus Military's head of A400M program. "But by providing a firm framework for certification from day one, to globally accepted standards, both we and the operators will see important benefits as the aircraft matures in service and new customers join the program."
The EASA certification process involved the testing of the aircraft's handling in normal and failure conditions and more than 300 hours of function and reliability testing of its engines and systems.
Military Initial Operating Clearance is ongoing, the company said, and tests have begun on military functions such as air-to-air refueling capabilities.