France and Germany have failed in their attempt to broker a six-month extension to a moratorium period to resolve issues on Europe's delayed Airbus Military A400M transport programme, with a deadline of late July having been agreed on 22 June.
Defence ministers from the seven launch A400M nations - Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the UK - met in Seville, Spain to discuss programme issues with EADS-led Airbus Military.
© Airbus Military
The UK Ministry of Defence says that it "can confirm that agreement has been reached between the partner nations for a one-month extension to the previous three-month standstill period to resolve outstanding issues with this important programme".
The UK's Financial Times quotes minister for defence equipment and support Quentin Davies as saying that London remains committed to the project "if we can be" after negotiations conclude within the coming weeks. Meanwhile, French defence minister Hervé Morin says these will focus on the at least €20 billion ($28 billion) programme's financial aspects.
EADS declines to comment on the meeting, but says it is continuing to work on the A400M in a bid to resolve development problems. The company revealed ahead of the Paris air show that it is spending around €100 million a month on the effort. The company has requested that its customers agree to negotiate a new contract to reflect the military nature of the project.
First flight of the A400M is notionally scheduled for late this year or during the first few weeks of 2010. Deliveries of the launch nations' 180 aircraft were contractually scheduled to begin this October, and the effort has been under the threat of possible cancellation since missing a planned flight test milestone in late April.
Source: Flight International