European customers for the Airbus Military A400M have agreed a common set of measures to maintain a standard core configuration for their transports, as two of their number move closer to agreeing a more comprehensive joint in-service support model.
Senior officials from Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the UK signed a memorandum of understanding at the Paris air show to establish a collaborative system to support the new airlifter.
“This agreement will provide a basis for common aircraft support activities with a view to maintaining a common configuration of the aircraft through life,” France’s DGA procurement agency said.
The new agreement covers a common set of activities which all partner nations will pursue to addresses configuration and data management issues for the A400M. It also includes “an opportunity for common spares management”, the DGA said. “It is expected that Turkey will add its signature to this MoU in the coming weeks,” it added.
Europe’s OCCAR procurement agency will advance the new agreement by signing contracts linked to specific support activities on behalf of partner nations Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the UK.
Announced on 23 June, the MoU will also provide the framework for a proposed joint in-service support model to be adopted by France and the UK. Their collaboration is likely to include factors such as maintenance, repair and overhaul and main operating base support activities linked to their combined 72 A400Ms.
Airbus Military last month revealed that it had proposed a joint services proposal to France and the UK based on a “mission-success concept”. This would see air force personnel from both countries make initial use of the company’s training centre near Seville, Spain, with national training centres also to be established in partnership with Thales.
MRO services for French aircraft would be provided by SIAE under its proposal, with a competition to be staged to select a partner in the UK. The latter opportunity would be likely to attract interest from companies such as Cobham Aviation Services and Marshall Aerospace.
Airbus Military expects to deliver its first production example of the A400M to the French air force by March 2013. The company will deliver 170 of the aircraft to its launch customers, plus four to export customer Malaysia.