MADRID, May 7 (UPI) -- The European Aviation Safety Agency has given Airbus Military of Spain initial type certification for the A400M airlifter.
The certification, officially called the Restricted Type Certification, is critical for the aircraft to later receive full civil certification and military operating clearance.
"Achieving civil and military certification of the A400M as foreseen in the program is an immensely challenging task, but the process of working on both simultaneously provides important benefits for our customers in the future," said Cedric Gautier, Airbus Military's head of the A400M project. "It is deeply satisfying to receive this initial certification, confirming the good progress that has been made towards the delivery of the first aircraft."
The A400M is a four-engine turboprop aircraft that can carry about 81,500 tons of cargo. It has a range of more than 2,400 miles at full cargo capacity. Eight countries have already ordered the plane, with initial deliveries slated for next year.
The next certification is expected this summer, after the aircraft completes 300 hours of flight and reliability tests.
An A400M recently flew to Latin America and also to several Asian nations for display, with the flight hours as part of the required testing hours.