The UK Ministry of Defence has agreed to join other European nations in preparing the request for proposals (RFP)for the Future Large Aircraft (FLA) military transport. The move will further strengthen the flagging programme, following Germany's announcement at the Paris air show that it also plans to join the RFP process.

Although the RFP is aimed at the Airbus Military Company (AMC), UK Secretary of Defence George Robertson says: "Partners will be encouraged to join with us in seeking bids from other aircraft manufacturers." He hopes that this will include Lockheed Martin.

Robertson says that the "best estimate" of UK demand is for 40-50 aircraft. Under current planning, Germany requires 75 FLAs, France 50, Italy 40, Spain 36 and Turkey 26. The six participating nations are expected to issue the RFP in September at the next FLA policy-group meeting.

France and the UK are engaged in fundamental reviews of defence priorities following recent general elections, but FLA programme manager Andy Lewis says that both nations have agreed to support the programme in parallel with their defence reviews.

Source: Flight International