The first of two Airbus A321LR (long range) troop carriers has been delivered by Lufthansa Technik to the German Armed Forces.
The aircraft’s conversion at Lufthansa Technik’s base in Hamburg, Germany, began last December. In the months that followed, it was first modified for the flexible transport of troops and passengers as well as for parliamentary air 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 extensive preparations for the medical evacuation role, which will expand the aircraft’s scope of operation to include qualified airlift capabilities of injured passengers, injured and sick. This included, for example, extensive prior modifications such as an extended oxygen supply on board, which is necessary for future use as a flying intensive care unit.
The necessary STC, both civil and military, for the aircraft as well as the associated Next Generation Patient Transport Units (PTE NG) is planned for mid-2023. It will allow the transport of up to six intensive care patients or up to 12 slightly 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 transfer – to the ILA airshow in Berlin – was preceded by an intensive test and acceptance program conducted by the Federal Office for 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 is currently still registered in the civil register, can now soon receive its official military certification under the tactical registration 15+10. At the same time, the first members of the flight, cabin and technical crews of the German Air Force have already been trained by Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Technical Training in the handling of the new A321LR. A sister aircraft with tactical registration 15+11 should follow shortly.
“Handing over the first A321LR to the German Air Force is another important milestone for us in what has become a successful partnership that spans decades,” said Soeren Stark, Chief Operating 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 that, my sincere thanks go to everyone 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 elapsed between the financing commitment and the delivery of the aircraft: an example of how quickly the supply of available products can be executed. We want to build on these processes in the future. But of course, all of 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 have worked together here in a spirit of trust.
“For me, the main thing is that this Airbus A321 Long Range in its gray livery sends a clear signal to our troops,” said Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, the German air chief. “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 exchange crews from the navy in Latin America, for example, it will carry our army comrades in Lithuania or our military in Africa.This A321 will take on a huge set of missions and help save lives during its global missions.So we are excited about this new “member” of our “Air Force Family.” Our flight crews, flight crews, technicians and members of the Special Air Mission Wing warmly welcome him.
“With our partner Lufthansa Technik, we have worked to ensure that this aircraft meets all expectations,” said Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus. “The A321LR not only flies longer routes than ever before, it also offers a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to previous generation aircraft and is certified to operate on 50% sustainable aviation fuels, which can further reduce emissions.In short, I have every confidence that the A321 Long Range will be a great addition to the Special Air Mission Wing and a perfect complement to their ACJ350s, the first of which is already in service.
Photo and video: Lufthansa Technik AG