A British Air Force Airbus A400M ATLAS flew 22 hours non-stop!
United Kingdom Air Force (RAF) reports that an Airbus A400M Atlas aircraft flew non-stop from the Air Base Break Norton, England, to the base of Guam, located on a North American island of Micronesia in the Western Pacific. This was the longest flight ever operated by this type of aircraft. The flight was part of a baptism training program and Exercise Mobility Guardian.
To be able to operate non-stop for approximately 22 hours, the Airbus A400M ATLAS plane was refueled three times in flight: over the Atlantic; across Alaska and finally across the Pacific Ocean. During the flight, the aircraft also flew close to the North Pole, over the Arctic ice cap, being the most northerly point an A400M aircraft has flown over.
Aircraft and personnel from the US, Australia, Canada, France, Japan and New Zealand are taking part in Exercise Mobility Guardian!
The first refueling was carried out by an RAF Voyager (Airbus A330MRTT) departing from Great Britain. The second and third refuelings were performed by a second Voyager operating from Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska.
“Exercise Mobility Guardian is an excellent training opportunity for the Air Mobility Force. It allows us to demonstrate the speed, range and utility of the RAF, supported by Air Mobility Force assets, and strengthens our ability to rapidly conduct global air operations. The non-stop flight of the RAF A400M Atlas from Brize Norton to Guam is an excellent example of our ability to project air power, enabling us to get aircraft, crews and vital equipment to the other side of the world in a timely manner and with the ability to to operate immediately” said Commander of the RAF Air Mobility Force, Commander Lyle.
The objective of the exercise is for the countries involved to develop their interoperability skills and understanding so that they can provide air power if required and overcome the concept of "Tyranny of Distance".
*NOTE: Informational video!