Airbus Defence & Space is on track to reach the three-quarter point in production of its A400M Atlas this year, unless it can add to its order backlog for the tactical transport.

Disclosing its most recent output within annual results released on 15 February, the European airframer said it handed over eight A400Ms in 2023: two fewer than the previous year.

Airbus figures show that it has now delivered 123 A400Ms, from total commitments for 178 from 10 nations. This is just below 70% of its order book for the type.

German air force A400Ms

Source: Bundeswehr

A total of 123 A400Ms have been delivered so far to customers including Germany

Examples remain in its production backlog for programme partner nations France, Germany and Spain, plus export customers Indonesia and Kazakhstan, which each have signed for two examples. Contracted orders for Belgium, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Turkey and the UK have already been completed.

The company continues efforts to seek additional international customers for the four-engined type, most recently promoting the design at the World Defense Show in Saudi Arabia. Its last sales success was finalised with Indonesia in November 2021.

“There is a strong appetite to win export contracts and we have discussions with many air forces that have the need for strategic lift or for heavy-lift,” Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury says in response to a question from FlightGlobal.

“The A400M is now gaining the level of maturity when it comes to the capabilities that fits with going to export,” he says. “I believe we will see some of those export discussions turning into contracts later this year or next year.”

However, he stresses: “We are not too much in a hurry to see this happening. It is more the long-term success of the programme that is relying on export, and I think that’s going to come.”

A400M Indonesia

Source: Airbus Defence & Space

Indonesia signed deal for two A400Ms in November 2021

“Development activities continue towards achieving the revised capability roadmap,” Airbus says of the Atlas programme. “Retrofit activities are progressing in close alignment with the customer,” it adds.

Meanwhile, Airbus incurred a fresh €41 million ($44 million) charge against the programme in the fourth quarter of 2023, due to “an additional update of the contract estimate at completion”.

“Risks remain on the qualification of technical capabilities and associated costs, on aircraft operational reliability, on cost reductions and on securing overall volume as per the revised baseline,” it says.

Airbus Defence & Space’s orders totalled €15.7 billion last year, up from €13.7 billion in 2022. Highlights included deals with Spain for 16 C295 maritime patrol and maritime surveillance aircraft and nine SIRTAP tactical unmanned air systems, and to modify 15 Eurofighters for the electronic warfare role for Germany.