All seven European partners involved in the Airbus Military A400M programme have agreed in principle to continue with the development effort, according to the OCCAR procurement agency responsible for resolving a long-running contractual crisis with EADS.

“Defence ministers consider that significant progress has been achieved during the negotiations with industry. Nations have made an offer to the industry and after having received a letter in response from EADS, it will be evaluated,” the multinational agency says.

“The A400M is the most ambitious military procurement programme in Europe and represents a cornerstone of the European technological base and a significant enabler for the common European security and defence policy,” it adds.

Talks to save the A400M project have been running since August 2009, with these focused on factors including “adjustments to the programme and delivery schedule and [aircraft] specification to meet operational needs”, says OCCAR.

© Airbus Military

Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the UK are scheduled to receive a total of 180 A400Ms under the terms of their €20 billion ($27.3 billion) fixed-price development and production contract signed in May 2003.

EADS has requested a new contract and more money in order to complete the project, which has been the subject of development delays.