12 November 2010

Malaysia Comitted to Orders for A400M Air-Lifters

12 November 2010

Airbus Military A400M (photo : FlightGlobal)

KUALA LUMPUR, (Bernama) -- Malaysia is committed to its orders for four Airbus A400M military transport aircraft despite the revision by some countries on their orders.

"Malaysia is the only nation in the region purchasing A400M and it is still committed to its orders," Airbus Military vice president of defence capability marketing, Peter Scoffham, told a media briefing here Friday.

Scoffham was in Malaysia to present an update on Airbus' range of military and civil transport aircraft after attending the Indo Defence 2010 in Jakarta.

Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation en Matiere d'Armement, representing Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey, and UK, was committed to buy 180 A400M planes, but then reduced to 170 units.

This was following Germany's decision to reduce its order to 53 aircraft from 60 while UK cut its order by three planes to 22.

On whether there would be a delay and cost revision for the A400M, Scoffham said: "I can't give a formal update ... all I can say is we are pleased with the A400M progress and flight test."

It was reported last year that Malaysia, which would receive the planes in 2013, would not have to fork out extra money for the four air-lifters it ordered in 2005.

It had been speculated that purchasing countries may have to fork out more money for the A400M than originally envisaged due to the delays to the programme and the reduced number of planes to be manufactured.

The A400M is designed to offer an increase in range and air-lift capacity compared to the current Royal Malaysian Air Force main air-lifter, Hercules C-130.

On whether Airbus Military would set up a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) for civil and military aircraft in Asia, especially Malaysia, Scoffham said it was possible if more nations join the A400M programme.

"If other nations in these region want to join the programme, then that could justify having a maintenance repair organisation somewhere here," he said.

On the outlook for military aircraft, Scoffham said demand would be good, especially for the A400M.

The A400M is a high-winged, four-engine, turbo-prop transport whose competitive edge lies in its ability to carry heavier loads than Lockheed Martin's C130J Hercules, while landing on a short runway and a surface like a muddy field.

That makes it a workhorse that can carry cranes to a disaster zone as easily as troops into combat, even if its full capabilities may not often be required.

Airbus Military is the only military and civic transport aircraft manufacturer to develop, produce, sell and support a comprehensive family of air-lifters ranging from three to 45 tonnes of payload.

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