NEW CONTROVERSY is surrounding Bernard Dufour, the recently installed president of French engine- manufacturer Snecma, with his refusal to accept the defence ministry's demand for a 2% reduction in the price of a batch of M88 fighter engines.

Dufour caused a stir, shortly after he was named president in October 1994, by demanding (unsuccessfully), that the new European military transport, the Future Large Aircraft, be powered by turbofan engines, instead of turbo-props. Now, he is leading French industry objections to equipment price cuts demanded by the French defence minister, Francois Leotard.

The order is for a batch of 20 M88s for the Dassault Rafale fighter, worth around FR600 million ($110 million). Dufour contends that Snecma has already embarked on a 30% cost-reduction programme, and has reduced its workforce by 4,000, to 10,000, since 1989.

A French defence-industry grouping led by Dassault president Serge Dassault, Le Conseil des Industries de Defense, has called for immediate negotiations with the Government and the defence ministry to resolve the issue.

Source: Flight International