The RAF has honoured the city of Bristol by naming the UK’s first A400M Atlas, a next-generation military transporter plane ‘The City of Bristol’.
The name is a nod to the city’s contribution to aerospace technology, both for the plane itself, and the region’s long contribution to aviation engineering.
A rare honour
The naming of the aircraft is a special privilege for Bristol, since it is unusual for the RAF to name an individual aircraft in this way.
“Bristol is at the heart of the UK aerospace community”
Chief of Materiel Air, Air Marshal Simon Bollom said of the honour: “The naming of the Royal Air Force’s first A400M aircraft as City of Bristol reflects a continuation of historical ties between Bristol and the Royal Air Force.
“Bristol is at the heart of the UK aerospace community which has progressed through time and industry from the Bristol built engines like Jupiter – the most successful aero engine of the 1920s – through to the famous jets such as Concorde.”
The A400M Atlas is designed to replace the current fleet of C-130 Hercules. The plane is capable of flying considerably faster, twice as far and is able to carry almost twice as much cargo as it predecessor. There will be 22 of them being built.
“The A400M programme has created or secured work for around 900 people at companies based here in Bristol”
Speaking at a ceremony at the Airbus site to mark the event, Defence Minister Philip Dunne said: “The A400M programme has created or secured work for around 900 people at companies based here in Bristol and is providing skilled jobs in manufacturing, engineering and supply chain roles.
“Many of these jobs require training to acquire specialist new skills needed to help keep the UK aerospace sector at the forefront of this high technology industry.”
You can see more about the plane and its naming at the RAF’s news site.
Image credit: RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2015