Easy to spot and identify, the twin-engine Beluga, based on the A330, is used by Airbus to transport oversized air cargo.
Known as A300-600ST Super Transporter, the company’s five existing Belugas play a key role in keeping its production and assembly network operating at full capacity. It originally received the official name of "Super Transporter"; however, the name Beluga, a whale it resembles, gained popularity and has since been officially adopted by Airbus.
Construction work began on the first aircraft in September of 1992, and made its maiden flight in September of 1994.
The A300-600ST Beluga shares many design similarities to the A300. The wings, engines, landing gear, and the lower part of the fuselage remain identical to those used on the conventional A300, while the upper part of the fuselage forms an enormous horseshoe-shaped structure. The main deck cargo volume of the Beluga is greater than that of the C-5 Galaxy or the Antonov An-124, but smaller than the Antonov An-225.
Airbus Beluga Number 1, Registration F-GSTA (All Beluga Photos by DELEHELLE Eric)
Airbus Beluga Number 1, Registration F-GSTA
Airbus Beluga Number 2, Registration F-GSTB
Airbus Beluga Number 3, Registration F-GSTC
Airbus Beluga Number 4, Registration F-GSTD
Airbus Beluga Number 5, Registration F-GSTF
The next generation transport, the Beluga XL, made its first flight on July 19, 2018, and entered service on January 9, 2020. It is based on the A330-200 freighter, and is designated A330-743L. Sized at seven meters longer and one meter wider than the original Beluga, the Beluga XL provides 30% extra transport capacity. It features twin Trent 700 engines.
Airbus plans on a fleet of six new-generation Beluga XL versions, which will operate in parallel with the five in-service Belugas before replacing them completely.
Both versions of the Beluga operate from 11 destinations in Europe.
Airbus A330-700 Beluga XL1, over Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France, July 19, 2018 (Photos by DELEHELLE Eric)
First flight of the Airbus A330-700 Beluga XL1, Toulouse-Blagnac, July 19, 2018
Airbus A330-700 Beluga XL1
Airbus A330-700 Beluga XL2, August 27, 2021 (Photos by DELEHELLE Eric)
Airbus A330-700 Beluga XL3, March 5, 2021 (Photos by DELEHELLE Eric)
Airbus has launched a new air-cargo service using its unique BelugaST fleet to offer freight companies and other potential customers a solution to their outsized freight transportation needs.
The new service - Airbus Beluga Transport - will provide commercially-contracted customers in a variety of sectors, including space, energy, military, aeronautic, maritime and humanitarian sectors, with a solution to their large cargo transport needs.
Based on the A300-600 design, the five-strong BelugaST fleet, which has until now been the backbone of Airbus’ inter-site transportation of large aircraft sections, are being replaced by six new-generation BelugaXLs to support Airbus’ ramp-up of its airliner production.
Read more at the AIrbus news release ...
|Airbus Commercial Aircraft - Details