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Germany brokers deal on A400M transport

DDP/The Local · 6 Mar 2010, 11:30

Published: 06 Mar 2010 11:30 GMT+01:00

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The deal secured 10,000 jobs and the future of Airbus and the A400M project, and will cost the taxpayers from the seven countries a total of €3.5 billion. The governments and the EADS/Airbus aerospace company have agreed to share the cost overruns that have dogged the four-engined military plane.

The German Luftwaffe is now set to take delivery of its first plane in 2014, five years later than originally planned. The Airbus is intended replace old C-160 Transall planes, particularly in Afghanistan.

In 2003, Airbus agreed to construct 180 A400Ms for a fixed price of €20 billion, with the first planes to be delivered in 2009. Germany ordered sixty of the planes, and France fifty. But political blunders and technical delays hampered production, and the maiden test flight did not take place until last December in Seville, Spain.

Friday's deal came about after Airbus threatened to pull the plug unless the seven - Germany, France, Spain, Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Turkey - stump up more cash, warning that the fate of the European aerospace giant depended on the project.

Along with the €2.4 billion the countries has already written off on the project, the problematic development of the plane will have cost Europe's major aerospace nations €4.2 billion. Despite the long-awaited bailout, EADS is set to post a net loss for 2009, although detailed figures will not released until March 9.

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"EADS considers that this agreement provides a sound basis for a successful evolution of the A400M program," the company said in a statement. "EADS will strive to identify opportunities to significantly reduce risks in the A400M program and to deliver a state-of-the-art product within the new frame of the contract."

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:29 March 6, 2010 by wenddiver
Thank God this is not a US mess and our taxpayers don't have to pay for it. AIRBUS only makes money by digging in taxpayer pockets. This is a French scam from way back.

Why can't Germany build her own planes??? As I recall they were fairly successful at it from 1939 to 1945.
20:20 March 6, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, the truth is, the majority of problems at Airbus has been do to disharmony, primarily between the French and Germans. This is especially true when it comes to the A380. There will always be huge differences in the two cultures, which is just fine. But when you decide to do business with someone, then you must work from the exact same instructions.

"A house divided can't grow. The weeds that sprout up between will be their king."
06:30 March 8, 2010 by richard_vijay
Joshka Fisher once said that it will be better to purchase the american C-17 plance. Jets fly highter, faster, more payload, and it can carry a Main Battle Tank.It is definetly a frence scam to pilfer German mone. It would be better to colaborate with american firms to produce an aircraft or other weapon systems.However to save jobs in Germany, the A400 must be built. Besides it can be well supplemented with the C17.
14:33 March 10, 2010 by AirForceGuy
Another 'make-work' program for the Europeans to subsidize Airbus. You do create jobs, but at the expense of getting a product/capability that could have been bought cheaper elsewhere... And you don't often get 'exactly' what you want/need anyway because you have to compromise with France, Italy, Spain, UK, Germany, etc.
13:45 March 13, 2010 by Fruitkok
I prefer to pay an extra 20% and get a proper European product. Whether it is a VW, a Nokia telephone or a Philips TV.
09:40 March 17, 2010 by dbert4
The A400m proforms the role of the US C130 not the C17.

The A400M will have double the maximum payload (81,400 lb), and double the low density bulked out payload (around 55,000 pounds) compared with the C-0130H/J or stretched J.

The A400M will also have well over 1,000 nm more range than the C-130J at 17.5 tonnes, the maximum payload of the C-130J. Its cruise speed too will be 60 knots faster than the C-130J (Mach 0.68 to 0.72).

The semi-prepared airstrip and short field performance of the A400M will also be far better than the C-130, being able to deliver ten times as much cargo into a CBR4 airstrip compared with the C-130E/H/J. Its landing gear has to match that of the C-160 Transall but with much bigger payloads.

As far as I'm aware, the C-17 can't operate off CBR4 or even CBR6 airstrips let alone with any significant payload. So an A400M could transport, say, 37 tonnes of ammunition over 1,800 nm and deliver it to close to front line forces via a CBR4/6 airstrip without any unloading and transference of loads. Since the cargo box and aperture are 159 inches and the headroom under the wing box is the same as the C-17 it will carry virtually any vehicle short of a main battle tank (or supprt vehicles on MBT chassis)and also most helicopters.

According to Airbus Military, the A400M's life-cycle cost effectiveness (life costs per payload carried) will be lower than any competitor airlifter. The A400M will revolutionize tactical airlift.
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