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 Oct 6 2020

Belgian-Luxembourg unit to operate both Allies’ A400M missions

RAMSTEIN, Germany - With the delivery of an Airbus A400M Atlas military transport aircraft to the Luxembourg Armed Forces scheduled for October 8, 2020, the Belgium-Luxembourg Binational Air Transport Unit A400M (BNU A400M) will receive its first A400M aircraft.

In mid-June 2001, Belgium and Luxembourg signed a bilateral agreement between to jointly acquire seven Airbus A400M military transport aircraft for Belgium and one for Luxembourg. The delivery of the eight multi-purpose aircraft to the Allies will be completed in 2023.  

The delivery of this first aircraft ... to the binational unit is an outstanding example of the excellent cooperation between both nations
 

“The delivery of this first aircraft to Luxembourg and above all to the binational unit is an outstanding example of the excellent cooperation between both nations,” said Lieutenant Colonel Guy Hoffmann, Luxembourg Air Component. “We are especially grateful to all the Belgian experts for their outstanding support throughout the entirety of the programme,” he added. 

"Belgium and Luxembourg have been developing this partnership since 2011, when the first Luxembourg pilot arrived here in the 15th Wing Air Transport,” said Major General Thierry Dupont, Belgian Air Component Commander. “Building upon the Belgian experience in operating the C-130 Hercules legacy fleet and with the arrival of the Luxembourg aircraft at the BNU A400M, the current transition to the A400M comes as a great opportunity,” General Dupont added.

When Luxembourg will take delivery of their first military transport aircraft, a binational control unit will take shape. From Melsbroek Air Base in Brussels, the 15Wing/20 Squadron will operate and support the Belgian-Luxembourg unit composed for the A400M aircraft. Luxembourg currently contributes with four pilots and two loadmasters to the binational crews and one staff officer stationed at the Belgian Air Component Headquarters. 

The current transition to the A400M comes as a great opportunity

Under the operational control of the European Air Transport Command (EATC), the BNU A400M conducts missions on behalf of Belgium and Luxembourg and for the six EATC member nations as well as for the 30 NATO Allies and the European Union member states under the Movement Coordination Centre Europe.

The first military transport aircraft owned and operated by Luxembourg is a great increase in the Ally’s military capabilities. Luxembourg contributes to NATO among others by having the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force aircraft registered to its flag. It is also a member of the Multinational MRTT Unit with a Main Operating Base at Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and a Forward Operating Base at Cologne, Germany.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

The Luxembourg Armed Forces A400M awaiting ferry flight to the new owner at the Flight Assembly Line in Seville, Spain. Photo courtesy Belgian Air Force.
Mixed crew in the Luxembourg Armed Forces A400M cockpit - a Belgian and a Luxembourg pilot getting a feeling for the plane. Photo courtesy Belgian Air Force.
The Luxembourg Armed Forces A400M transport aircraft is the first to be delivered to Luxembourg and the Belgium-Luxembourg Binational Air Transport Unit A400M. Photo by Jozef Vanden Broek/Belgian Air Force.

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