The French air force is projecting that the Airbus Military A400M airlifter will become operational in 2014.
The service expects Airbus Military to deliver the first of the aircraft in March 2013, as contractually required under the latest schedule.
But thereafter, the 1/61 squadron will first undergo a period of training and familiarization with the aircraft. Once that process is complete, the unit is to reach operational status formally in 2014, the service says in announcing progress on building up the base infrastructure for the aircraft.
France plans to base all 50 of its A400Ms at the Orleans-Bricy air base.
Two of France’s A400Ms are now in the final assembly process at Airbus Military. Both aircraft are due for handover next year.