It can now be used as a MedEvac / Intensive Care aircraft, including the ability to perform surgery inflight. Particularly useful to bring patients non-stop, fast and comfortable from remote locations to a well-equipped hospital. Still limited to the Luftwaffe but other customers may receive the feature in the future. I would expect the future palletised solution to also be used as a starting point for other "special" needs like VIP & passenger cabins.
A400M MedEvac success – Intensive Care Aeromedical Evacuation
The long-distant transport of intensive care patients including in-flight surgery is a key milestone for the German Air Force. Airbus has integrated this capability in the A400M in close collaboration with the German customer and the German National Military Airworthiness Authorities (LufABw).
On 31 July the new capability was presented to the German Ministry of Defence. Secretary of State for Armaments, Benedikt Zimmer, identified the Medical Evacuation (MedEvac) option as a "rare resource in the multinational framework", enabling the Luftwaffe to close a so far EU and NATO capability gap. The protection and treatment of German soldiers contributes to the top priority of the German Air Force (GAF).
Airbus signed a national contract regarding the certification of the German Patient Transport Units operation on A400M and since August all German A400M are now cleared to conduct worldwide MedEvac missions.
"Close cooperation with the GAF and LufABw was a key success factor to overcoming challenges during the integration of the legacy patient transport units into the A400M," says Thomas Tittel, Project Leader for the German MedEvac. Together with the GAF, Airbus successfully performed ground and flight tests, including an extensive amount of electromagnetic interference tests for the medical equipment.
The medical crew of the GAF was highly satisfied with this new option. "Those intense experiences were very valuable and will set the baseline for future national modifications like the Directional Infrared Counter Measures, for which a much bigger contract is expected for 2019," concludes Martin Wildegger, the A400M Customer Programme Manager for Germany.
The A400M complements a capability currently provided by A310 Multi Role Tanker Transport in a medical evacuation configuration: The C160 Transall brings intensive care patients from a field rescue centre to a mobile field hospital (role 3). At a suitable airfield the A310MRTT takes over the patient and carries him to the homeland military hospital (role 4). The A400M's Intensive Care Aeromedical Evacuations (ICAE) capability can now combine both and is able to bring patients from a field rescue center directly to the homeland hospital over long distances.
Currently, Airbus is developing a future ICAE concept on a palletised and modular basis to reduce installation times and increase flexibility. With such a concept Airbus is providing a solution not only for the German customer, but also for other A400M OCCAR nations or platforms.