The A400M is currently undergoing Development Flight Test of the Air to Air refueling capabilities as Receiver and as Tanker. The Receiver role testing has been tested with different European tankers and has progressed significantly in the development of the Receiver Flight Control Laws and hardware components. Flight Control Laws, specific for the very demanding receiver task were developed and have been successively tuned to allow the long receiver contacts required for refueling a heavy platform. The refueling probe design was also improved, following test results that showed the convenience to reinforce the weak link.
As Tanker, the A400M has also started preliminary testing, which has allowed to improve the refueling hose stability and has also highlighted the challenges of helicopter refueling.
This paper describes the current status of the A400M program and covers the main lessons learned in the development of the Air to Air Refueling capabilities.