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A400M passes Rafale refueling tests

The Airbus A400M airlifter has successfully completed in-flight refueling trials with the Rafale fighter using underwing pods. Directorate General of Armament (DGA)  expects to issue clearance “very shortly,” allowing the French Air Force to work up on this new capability. 

A400M refuels by two alternatives; refueling pod attached under the wing (for fighters) or by a fuselage-mounted HDU (Hose Drum Unit) refueling unit for transport aircraft and fighters. An forthcoming specific version of the underwing nacelle will allow refueling of helicopters. 

During test flights, the Rafale was refueled by the A400M throughout its flight envelope, including in so-called degraded aircraft modes of the aircraft: simulated failure of an engine and flight controls. 

Further flight refueling campaigns are planned for 2019, such as the twin refueling of the Mirage 2000 via the nacelles.

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