7 NATO members sign agreement for military transport aircraft


From AFP:  The seven NATO partner nations backing the Airbus A400M military transport plane on Thursday signed the final contract for the financing of the project, Airbus said.

Airbus Military’s parent company EADS had threatened to pull the plug on Europe’s biggest defence project unless the partner nations stumped up more cash to cover cost overruns of about 5.2 billion euros ($7.0 billion).

Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey agreed the project in 2003 and it was meant to showpiece Europe’s independence from US defence suppliers.

The deal on the financing of the long-delayed A400M, which can carry troops, armoured vehicles and helicopters and land on short, unprepared runways, was signed at Airbus Military’s facility in the southwestern Spanish city Seville where the plane is built.

"Today we conclude a long and difficult process … with today’s signature (we) put back on track a major cooperative programme," said Patrick Bellouard, head of the Occar consortium that groups the seven nations.  (photo: Getty)

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