As the Royal Air Force receives its first Airbus A400M Altas at RAF Brize Norton, full-scale production of the refueling probe for the A400M is now well underway at GE Aviation, Hamble, providing key mission capabilities for this new-generation multi-role military transport. The six-meter-long probe is installed on the A400M’s upper fuselage above its cockpit, allowing the airlifter to be refueled in flight. Such refueling capability significantly extends the military transport’s operational range, while also enabling it to take on fuel for the subsequent transfer to other aircraft when serving as an aerial tanker itself. GE Aviation, Hamble is responsible for the metallic refueling probe’s design, manufacture and qualification – including full-scale static, vibration and lightning strike validations. As part of the production package, the company also designed, builds and supplies the carbon composite fairings that ensure smooth airflow at the probe’s interface with the aircraft’s fuselage.