EADS and Airbus have reported significant progress in their contractual discussions with the seven European buyers for their Airbus Military A400M transport, after a fresh round of talks in France.

“The agreement, finalised today in Toulouse in the presence of the French defence minister Hervé Morin, the national armament directors and other representatives from all customer nations, is the long awaited further detailing of the principle agreement reached in March 2010,” Airbus says.

The discussions also involved Europe’s OCCAR procurement agency, which is responsible for the contract to produce an expected 170 A400Ms for Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the UK.

 A400M head-on - Airbus Military
© Airbus Military

Airbus says that “while the overall economics of the March agreement remain unchanged, the government payments are now more back-loaded than previously expected”.

The earlier agreement outlined a €2 billion ($2.8 billion) increase in the A400M’s previous €20 billion programme value for the development and production of 180 aircraft, plus provisions for the member nations to invest a further $1.5 billion. The latter sum will be provided under a so-called export levy facility intended to support future international sales efforts. Airbus says a final agreement on the new contract should be reached before the end of this year.

“The A400M flight test programme is making excellent progress and demonstrates the soundness of the product,” says Airbus Military managing director Domingo Ureña. The company expects to be in a position to launch series production of the type in late 2010, he adds.

Source: FlightGlobal.com