RAF A400M Atlas, the RAF’s newest transport aircraft has achieved a new milestone, gaining full aeromedical evacuation capability for high dependency and highly infectious patients.
The delivery of this airborne medical capability represents another important step forward for the Atlas programme, which is delivering vital air transport solutions for the RAF. During a recent demonstration to senior RAF Officers, Tactical Medical Wing (TMW) based at RAF Brize Norton showed the impressive aeromedical evacuation capability of the Atlas.
“The A400M allows us to deliver critical care in the air and provide an intensive care capability for up to four stretcher-bound patients.”
Wing Commander Robert Linfield
Consultant on public health for the RAF
The A400M can carry up to 66 low to medium dependency stretcher patients or 4 high dependency stretcher patients. The Critical Care Air Support Team (CCAST) based at RAF Brize Norton provides care equivalent to that found in an NHS Intensive Care Unit including intubation and ventilation.
“One of the benefits of the Atlas is that it can operate at sea level cabin altitude for critical injuries such as lung punctures and head trauma which is a limitation of our other aircraft.”
Air Commodore Claire Walton
Air Officer Medical Operations
The Atlas also supports the Air Transportable Isolator (ATI) which is a secure high-tech plastic bubble that allows patients with high consequence infectious diseases to be transported safely without infecting others. Once landed, the ATI patient is transported to the hospital (usually the Royal Free Hospital in London) by ambulance.
“The RAF maintains the ATI on behalf of the British Government. We have more experience than any other military in the world in using this system to move patients with infectious diseases and have used it to safely transport patients with Ebola from Sierra Leone back to the UK.”
Wing Commander Linfield
The full aeromedical evacuation capability of the A400M including CCAST and ATI represents a major landmark for the programme and the development of a world-class air transport capability for the RAF.