Santiago wants industrial participation in Airbus programmes to accompany contract for military transports

The Chilean government is at­tempting to finalise a deal that would give it industrial participation in the Airbus Military A400M transport, possibly involving a subcontract with South Africa.

A400M Big

Chile signed a letter of intent in July with Airbus Military for three A400Ms to replace Lockheed Martin C-130B/H Hercules. The award is expected to be finalised by the end of this year (Flight International, 26 July–1 August).

The Chilean government is hoping to negotiate through EADS Casa an offset deal for the value of the contract, with national aerospace company Enaer expected to benefit. Santiago-based Enaer says it is “hoping to participate in the design and production of A400M components”.

Chile’s defence minister Jaime Ravinet says: “With our commitment to buy these aircraft, Enaer becomes a partner and contractor for this and other [Airbus] programmes.”

However, as A400M industrial participation was set late last year, Enaer adds it could also work on subassemblies for other EADS products such as civil Airbus or Eurocopter parts. One solution would be for Enaer to work as a subcontractor to South Africa’s Denel Aviation, a prospect discussed during a visit in June to Enaer’s facilities by Bruce Ramfolo, the South African defence ministry’s head of acquisitions.

South Africa signed a deal to acquire between eight and 14 aircraft in exchange for around R860 million ($134 million) a year over 15 years through offset arrangements. Enaer could benefit from Pretoria’s India-Brazil-South Africa dialogue forum, which was established to create greater trade links between South Africa and the developing world.

A source within Enaer confirms that the company is in talks with South African defence export agency Armscor to sell its T-35 Pillan trainer to other African nations. Enaer is keen to sell the aircraft as a low-cost intermediate trainer to developing countries and is looking for export markets outside South America.

“There is interest from southern Africa. Maybe we will use South Africa in the future as a catapult, as we have very good contacts with its defence industry,” says Enaer.

The company adds that if a deal for A400M parts is not reached, EADS Casa could offer workshare on civilian projects, including helicopters. Eurocopter is planning a shift to South America for some subassemblies of its civil lines, shared between Brazilian subsidiary Helibras and Enaer (Flight International, 12-18 April ).


Source: Flight International