If you found yourself looking to the skies on Friday afternoon and wondering what that huge airborne beast flying around Gloucestershire was, then we have your answer.

The A400 Atlas Transport swooped past Churchdown and Gloucester on a flight that saw it head out from its Brize Norton base as it flew two practice approaches into Gloucestershire Airport, followed by an overshoot then departed back to Brize Norton according to one onlooker.

Matt Wells photography shared some incredible photos of the Airbus A400 on his Twitter as it flew over Gloucester today.

See them in the tweet below:

What is it?

The aircraft is a A400 Atlas Transport, a large military transport aircraft used by the RAF.

Entering operational service with the Royal Air Force in 2014, Atlas provides tactical airlift and strategic oversize lift capabilities complementing those of the Hercules and C-17 fleets.

RAF-registered Boeing C-17 Globemaster

According to the RAF it has the ability to carry a 37-tonne payload over 2000nm to establish and remote civilian and military airfields and short unprepared or semi prepared strips.

It is capable of operating at altitudes up to 40,000ft and also offers impressive low level capability.

It will accommodate as many as 116 fully equipped troops, vehicles, helicopters, including a Chinook; mixed loads, including nine aircraft pallets and 54 passengers, or combinations of vehicles, pallets and personnel, up to a payload of 37 tonnes.

Loads are delivered by parachute, gravity extraction from the aircraft’s rear ramp (influence by the cargo’s own weight), or by landing. Paratroops will be dropped from the aircraft’s dedicated paratroop doors, or from the rear ramp. The Atlas is operated by two pilots and a Weapons Systems Operator (Crewman).