MADRID, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Airbus Military has formally delivered to the French air force the first production model of the A400M tactical airlifter.
The delivery took place Thursday and "represents the culmination of 10 years of development by Airbus Military and more than 5,000 flight-test hours, involving nearly 40,000 people working for this major European defense program," the company said.
The A400M, which will be known as the Atlas by the French military, is a four-engine turboprop with range of 2,450 miles when carrying a payload of more than 30 tons. It can carry 116 troops and act as an aerial refueler.
Four countries have so far ordered the aircraft.
"Today is a truly historic day for the European aerospace industry -- marking the moment at which it becomes the new global leader in the military transport sector with an entirely new aircraft, said Domingo Urena, chairman and chief executive officer of Airbus military.
The aircraft delivered to France will initially be used for training before becoming operational for transport duties.