The contract amendment was signed today in Seville by Patrick Bellouard, Director of OCCAR - Executive Agency, and Airbus Military CEO Domingo Urena, in the presence of Spanish Minister of Defense Carme Chacon. National Armament Directors and other representatives from customer nations also attended the ceremony.
The Contract Amendment now implements the changes which were agreed in principle by the Participating Nations with EADS and Airbus Military in the Frame Agreement signed on 5th March 2010.
"This is a major milestone, and EADS is particularly proud to have the support of all governments involved in this cooperation programmed that represents a strategic capacity for Europe and its defense, and for the new generation of military transport worldwide. The A400M is a fantastic new aircraft already flying with outstanding and unrivalled capabilities", said EADS CEO Louis Gallois.
"From an industrial point of view, the programmed is on track. This enabled us to agree, with full confidence on the industrial go-ahead of the programmed over a month ago," said Domingo Urena, Airbus Military CEO. "We are also very satisfied with the progress of the Flight Test programmed which confirms day by day the soundness of the aircraft. Also, all the pilots of the Air Forces who have already tried and flown the aircraft expressed great satisfaction about its agility and capabilities. We are sure that, once it gets better known, many more Air Forces around the world will be keen to have it in their fleets".
With 4 aircraft flying, the A400M has achieved over 1,400 test flight hours and close to 450 flights. The fifth aircraft is complete and has started the final control phase prior to a first flight in early fall. Civil Certification is to be achieved before year end, and first delivery to first operator - the French Air Force - by the turn of the year 2012 / early 2013.
Today Airbus Military holds 174 firm orders from eight nations, the 7 launch nations (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Spain, Turkey and the UK) for 170, plus 4 for Malaysia.