Wednesday, December 10, 2014

On Wednesday, December 10, 2014 by Luke iMan in , ,    No comments
With a combined six of the aircraft now being flown by their air forces, the defence ministries of France and the UK have signed a contract covering collaborative in-service support arrangements for the Airbus A400M Atlas transport.

Announced by the nations on 8 December, the development covers initial maintenance support of the Atlas airlifter, in addition to spare parts pooling and “the establishment of maintenance engineering services to the benefit of both air forces”, the nations say in a joint statement. The contract has been placed with Airbus Defence & Space via Europe’s OCCAR procurement agency.

The UK’s Defence Equipment & Support organisation has valued its two-year contract as being worth £175 million ($274 million). France has not disclosed the size of its award, but its DGA defence procurement body says its arrangement will run from the conclusion of a current introduction to service support arrangement with Airbus in early February 2015 until September 2016.

Airbus has so far delivered five of the 50 A400Ms on order for the French air force, while the Royal Air Force’s first of 22 Atlas transports, ZM400 (below), arrived at its Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire in mid-November.
“The intention is to further expand on early collaboration activities, where feasible and value for money,” says DGA chief executive Laurent Collet-Billon, who adds that such agreements could potentially be made open to other European operators of the A400M. The type is also on order for Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey. Ankara has already received its first example, while Berlin is poised to take delivery of its lead aircraft.

Welcoming the award, Airbus describes its new deal with France and the UK as providing a “solid foundation” for the A400M’s entry into service.

Rolls-Royce early this month announced an £18 million investment in support infrastructure for the A400M’s Europrop International TP400-D6 turboprop engine at its Bristol site in south-west England. To include adapting an existing testbed to allow the TP400 to be run while off the wing, the maintenance, repair and overhaul facility “will initially be used to support engines in service with the RAF,” the company says.


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