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US interest in the A400M is likely to emerge mid-decade, according to EADS North America CEO Sean O'Keefe. At the company's pre-Paris media seminar, O'Keefe noted that the USAF is likely to retire its oldest C-5A heavy transports before 2020. "That leaves a hole in the big airbase, heavy-payload role," O'Keefe points out, and Boeing C-17s will be pulled into that mission - opening up the need for new tactical airlifters. "At that point, we'll have a hot production line", O'Keefe says, "and there isn't going to be any new US program." However, Airbus Military is not going to do any intensive marketing until the A400M completes testing and gains its commercial type certificate, due next year.
pas11, ar99, a400m
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