Manufacturer urges decisions from countries looking for industry participation in project

Airbus Military says time is running out for countries to sign for the A400M military transport if they want their industries to share in the programme.

Head of marketing David Jennings said at Asian Aerospace that Airbus Military is in talks with Australia, Malaysia and Thailand about their requirements for around 10 aircraft each. It is also talking to Norway and Sweden, which each need six military transports.

The company says it is moving fast towards a design freeze on the aircraft's wings and fuselage. UK-based GKN Aerospace, which will make the all-composite wing spars, is one of the latest suppliers to come on board.

Airbus is also "fine tuning" the aft fuselage. "We are studying the lip to see where the vortices form to see if we can get a smoother outflow at the back," says Jennings.

The company - which has 180 aircraft on order from seven NATO countries - will double the number of staff working on the programme at EADS, Airbus and junior partners Flabel of Belgium and Turkey's Tusas Aerospace Industries to 4,000 by year-end and to a peak of 5,000 during 2005. Many will transfer from the A380 programme, says Jennings. First flight is set for 2008.

Source: Flight International