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France To Conduct Parachute Tests With A400M

June 17, 2015 (Photo Credit: Tom Kington/Staff)

A six week parachute drop test using an A400M aircraft will go ahead by end June, a French defense official said on Wednesday. The planned campaign was held up after an A400M crashed last month.

Speaking at the Paris Air Show, the official and a French pilot of the A400M expressed their full confidence in the aircraft, despite the May 9 crash in Spain of a test aircraft, in which four were killed.

"We are confident the aircraft was certified properly and the way France reacted after the crash shows the faith we have in this aircraft," said the senior French procurement official, who declined to be named.

After the crash, France continued to fly its six A400Ms in operations in Africa and the Middle East and has racked up 150 flight hours since the crash, said the official. The crash has been linked a software fault.

France is set to accept its seventh A400M in "the coming days," said the official.

"In the squadron we were not concerned, the French ministry told us checks had been made," said a French A400M pilot, who made his first flight on the aircraft after the crash and has now racked up 25 flying hours.

The aircraft has flown at the Paris Air Show this week. A French VBCI vehicle was rolled off its ramp at the show's static area on Wednesday.

The French official said the six week parachute drop test campaign due to start in May would now start a the end of June.

The British Royal Air Force halted flights with its two A400Ms after the incident in Spanish but said on Wednesday it was resuming flights.

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