PICTURE: First production A400M makes maiden flight

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Airbus Military's first production A400M has performed its maiden sortie as the airframer targets delivery of the airlifter to the French air force later this year.

Aircraft MSN7 took off from Airbus's San Pablo facility near Seville at 11:48 local on 6 March and returned to the site after a flight lasting 5h 42min.

 credit - airbus military

 Airbus Military

Experimental test pilot Hugues Van Der Stichel, who captained the flight, says: "The performance of the aircraft was as expected and we had a very smooth flight, confirming the great handling capabilities of the aircraft.

"The result of this first flight gives us full confidence for the on-time delivery to the French air force."

Delivery is scheduled for late May or early June.