Airbus has reached an agreement with OCCAR to revise the A400M military transport aircraft development and production programme contract.
OCCAR manages the multinational programme for the acquisition of the Airbus A400M aircraft on behalf of Germany, France, the UK, Spain, Turkey, Belgium and Luxembourg.
The programme was launched in May 2003 to meet the combined needs of the seven European nations for an independent airlift capacity. Malaysia joined the programme in 2005.
The project was marred by delays and cost overruns. As a result of the delays, the launch buyer countries offered a €3.5bn bailout package to Airbus in 2010 to rescue the programme.
Despite the rescue act, the project continued to encounter problems with the aircraft’s classified defensive systems and refuelling issues, reported Reuters. The core nations and Airbus went back to the drawing board to discuss the contract.
The new agreement follows discussions between Airbus and OCCAR on the global rebaselining of the programme. These talks began in March 2017.
The rebaselining agreement will allow Airbus to stretch the production plan while adhering to the contractual timeframe until 2030.
For the core nations, the agreement will address their expectations and reduce their financial exposure.
Airbus Defence and Space CEO Dirk Hoke said: “The overall aim of the global rebaselining, both for Airbus, as well as for OCCAR and the launch customer nations, was to recover a sustainable contractual basis for and to ensure a proper execution of the A400M programme.
“On the basis of this contract amendment signature, Airbus is fully committed to continue on this positive path and to providing its A400M current and future customers with the most powerful and technologically advanced military transport aircraft available on the market.”
The new plan sets the framework for Airbus to provide all agreed capabilities over an adjusted timeframe.
A new retrofit agreement will implement the final contractual standard in all A400M aircraft. It is aimed at minimising aircraft downtimes and optimising the retrofit process, Airbus stated.
In a statement, OCCAR said: “This establishes an overall agreement regarding the road-map to achieve the A400M’s full suite of contracted capabilities, aircraft deliveries and retrofit schedule while also keeping the programme on a sound financial footing.”
The organisation added that the revised deal will provide a solid foundation for the A400M in the future for existing and potential customers.
The A400M has the ability to deliver tactical airlift, strategic airlift, and air-to-air refuelling mission capabilities.
Airbus delivered the first production aircraft to the French Air Force in August 2013.