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Future Large Aircraft

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what progress has been made on the position of the A400M project; and if he will make a statement; (249608)

(2) what the expected delivery dates for the A400M aircraft are; whether the aircraft will meet the Royal Air Force's heavy lift requirement needs; what recent discussions his officials have had with Airbus on the project; and if he will make a statement.

A contract for the development and production of the A400M aircraft was signed with Airbus Military on 27 May 2003 by the Organisation for Joint Armaments Co-operation (OCCAR) on behalf of participating nations (Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Turkey and the UK). The UK offtake is 25 aircraft from a total order of 180. The A400M is proving to be a challenging programme, and several delays and programme slips have been announced. Most recently, EADS/Airbus Military announced a slow down in production and that the first flight of the A400M prototype aircraft will slip until the “second half of 2009”.

EADS/Airbus Military have recently presented a proposed way ahead for the A400M programme and announced that they wish to discuss the delivery schedule and specific performance characteristics. The implications of these proposals are being studied by the nations and OCCAR.