Lufthansa Technik has converted an A321 for the German Armed Forces, to be used for military and political/parliamentary missions.
The A321 is an 18-year-old former Lufthansa aircraft, called Neustadt an der Weinstraße. The customer, the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), was responsible for the procurement and conversion, awarding Lufthansa Technik the €90m (US$106m) contract following a public tender in early 2017.
The contract also encompassed the procurement of spare parts and logistical support, as well as adapting the aircraft to meet the needs of the Special Air Mission Wing of the Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg).
“Past experience has already shown that joint projects between Bundeswehr and Lufthansa Technik have always been implemented very professionally and smoothly,” said Constanze Hufenbecher, chief financial officer at Lufthansa Technik. “We are delighted that this tradition has continued with the conversion of this aircraft and that we have been able to keep the cost and time schedule.”
The initial overhaul and 180 modifications – encompassing the airframe, landing gear and auxiliary power unit – was completed in around 18 months of layover. Lufthansa Technik says the aircraft is now in mint condition. It also has a flight kit with spare parts and tools.
The aircraft was also fitted with a VIP cabin and systems including antennas for extended communication. Its range has been extended to about 5,000km (2,698 nautical miles), through the installation of two more fuel tanks and another water tank. The paintwork was also updated.
The modern cabin is “strongly based” on the Special Air Mission Wing’s operational A319 and A340 – with a similar layout and the same materials. The aircraft has a VIP area for 14 passengers, and a delegation area for 70, making its total passenger capacity 84. The take-off weight was increased by four tons to enable this. Part of the delegation area can be converted for medevac use, with intensive medical care facilities, additional oxygen and separate power supply. The space is suitable for two patients.
Technical and flying personnel are being qualified for this new aircraft type, in cooperation with Lufthansa Technical Training and Lufthansa Aviation Training.