Last Oct. 25, German government sources indicated that Germany will take only 53 of the 60 Airbus Military A400Ms originally on order.
A400M customers continue to chip away at the commitment of 180 units that was negotiated as part of a general settlement reached in March. With the U.K. planning to cut its commitment by three aircraft, the total program now totals 170 aircraft.
Possible additional expenses for flight management system (FMS) changes will have to be covered by French avionics specialist Thales, according to the sources. But a German defense ministry letter to leading Bundestag defense committee members says that industry has to come to a final agreement on the FMS matter.
Thomas Kossendey, Defense State Secretary, writes in the statement obtained by AVIATION WEEK that implementation of the March 31 heads-of-terms deal with the A400M nations turned out to be more challenging than expected. In his view, that is mainly due to the lengthy search for a compromise on the industry side and reworked planning for the FMS.
But the letter concludes that “significant progress has been made” since then, and negotiations on Oct. 1 “should finally have led to a breakthrough. After tough negotiations so far, an agreement with regards to critical aspects, particularly the financial ones, could be found according to the view of the nations.” Kossendey refers to talks involving the nations, the Occar arms procurement agency and Airbus Military.
An EADS official did not confirm the letter or any of the details, but said he was confident a deal could be reached before the end of the year.
The defense ministry believes that changes and additions to the 2003 industrial contract and further negotiations on the FMS will take the remainder of October. The German defense committee could then deal with the altered terms at a December meeting, according to the letter.