Posted: Wed 21st Sep 2022

Airbus tests loading system for outsized military cargo on Beluga

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Sep 21st, 2022

Airbus Defence and Space has developed and tested a loading system to lift outsized military cargo into the Airbus Beluga A300-600ST aircraft.

Outsize cargo is a designation given to goods of unusually large size, the term is often applied to cargo which cannot fit on standardised transport .

The BelugaST fleet – a familiar sight in the skies above Deeside for years – was solely used for the transport of large aircraft sections between various Airbus sites as part of the company’s production system.

With the advent of the new BelugaXL, based on the larger A330-200 platform, the existing BelugaST fleet now being used for a new Airbus air-cargo service launched earlier this year.

The new military cargo capability was successfully tested during a verification exercise with the German armed forces, the system’s first customer, by loading a CH53 military medium-lift helicopter into the Beluga.

The cargo loading system and jig was developed by engineers at Airbus Defence and Space, the system was developed and manufactured from scratch in 1.5 years.

Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space said: “The demand for outsized air cargo capability is on the rise.”

“Capacity is scarce and, in light of current geopolitical developments, many customers are looking for new, fast and efficient solutions.”

“This is exactly what we offer with our BelugaST fleet.”

“Our teams have been working on a remarkable solution to facilitate a speedy, efficient and autonomous handling to load heavy military cargo onto the aircraft.

Schoellhorn said: “Speed, agility and autonomy are crucial elements for our customers when it comes to such operations.”

The new system enables arrangements for the loading of a CH53 helicopter in a reduced state of dismantling to be completed within less than 1.5 hours while the actual loading process into the Beluga aircraft can be accomplished in about an hour.

The total lifting capacity of the system, which requires no crane for its use, reaches 35 tonnes and can be relocated to the aircraft’s destination.

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