The first of two Airbus A321LR (long range) troop transport aircraft has been delivered by Lufthansa Technik to the German Armed Forces.
The conversion of the aircraft at Lufthansa Technik’s base in Hamburg, Germany, began last December. In the months that followed, it was initially modified for flexible troop and passenger transport as well as parliamentary flight operations on short-, medium- and long-haul routes. The maximum capacity in this configuration is 136 passengers.
As part of this initial modification phase, Lufthansa Technik has already made numerous preparations for the medevac role, which will expand the aircraft’s scope of operations to include capabilities for the qualified air transport of wounded, injured and diseased passengers. This encompassed, for example, extensive pre-modifications such as an extended oxygen supply on board, which is necessary for the upcoming use as a flying intensive care unit.
The necessary STC, both civil and military, for the aircraft together with the associated New Generation Patient Transport Units (PTE NG) is planned for mid-2023. It will enable the transport of up to six intensive care patients or of up to 12 mildly or moderately ill/injured patients. Lufthansa Technik will deliver a total of 12 units and two reserve units of the PTE NG to the German Armed Forces.
The handover – at the ILA Berlin airshow – was preceded by an intensive test and acceptance programme conducted by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), the Bundeswehr Technical Center for Aircraft and Aeronautical Equipment (WTD 61) and the Special Air Mission Wing of the German Federal Ministry of Defense (Flugbereitschaft BMVg). According to this, the aircraft, which currently is still on the civilian register, can now soon receive its official military certification under the tactical registration 15+10. At the same time, the first members of flight, cabin and technical crews of the German Air Force have already been trained by Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Technical Training in handling the new A321LR. A sister aircraft with the tactical registration 15+11 is expected to follow shortly.
“The handover of the first A321LR to the German Air Force is another milestone for us in what has become a successful partnership spanning decades,” said Soeren Stark, chief operations officer at Lufthansa Technik. “I am all the more pleased that we have once again succeeded in meeting the high demands of our customer. With a cabin precisely tailored to the needs of the German Air Force, our team has once again set standards. For this, my sincere thanks go to all involved.”
“I am delighted to take delivery of the first of two A321LRs here at ILA today,” said Benedikt Zimmer, State Secretary at the German Ministry of Defense (BMVg). “Only two years have passed from the financing commitment to delivery of the aircraft: an example of how fast the procurement of available products can run. We want to build on these processes in the future. But of course, all this is also due to the team effort. I would like to thank those involved from the BMVg, the BAAINBw, the German Air Force and the companies who worked together here in a spirit of trust.”
“For me, the main thing is that this Airbus A321 Long Range in its grey livery sends a clear signal to our troops,” said Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, the German Air Chief. “The soldiers of the German Armed Forces will be delighted with the new transport aircraft – an upgrade to ‘Military Business Class’. Our new Airbus will soon be flying west across the Atlantic to pick up navy exchange crews in Latin America, for example, it will fly our army comrades to Lithuania or our servicemen and women to Africa. This A321 will shoulder an enormous mission package and help save lives on its worldwide missions. We are thus excited about this new ‘member’ of our ‘Air Force Family’. Our flight crews, onboard crews, technicians and members of the Special Air Mission Wing welcome it warmly.”
“Together with our partner Lufthansa Technik, we have worked to ensure this aircraft meets all expectations,” said Guillaume Faury, chief executive officer at Airbus. “The A321LR not only flies longer routes than ever, it also delivers a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to previous generation aircraft and is certified to run on 50% sustainable aviation fuels, which can reduce emissions even further. In short, I have every confidence the A321 Long Range will be an excellent addition to the Special Air Mission Wing and is a perfect complement to their ACJ350s, of which the first is already in service.”
Image and video: Lufthansa Technik AG