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South Africa got an early Christmas present this year from Airbus Military which has refunded the Rainbow Nation's pre-delivery payments for the eight A400M military transport aircraft it had contracted to buy, a contract it then canceled in November 2009 quoting expected delivery delays.Domingo Ureña, Airbus Military CEO, explains that “the agreement we signed with Armscor on 29 November 2011, draws a line under the canceled A400M acquisition, but crucially, it lets us all move forward together to explore further opportunities, including upcoming acquisition projects led by Armscor.”Armscor is South Africa's defense procurement agency.Although South Africa canceled its €837 million firm- and fixed-price contract, two local companies, Denel Aerostructures and Aerosud, have maintained their responsibility for the design engineering, manufacturing and supply of several major parts of the A400M for all the partners, including: aircraft top shells (roof); wing-fuselage fairing (the largest single aircraft component ever manufactured in South Africa; aerodynamically complex wing-tips (which directly influence fuel efficiency and carbon emissions); cabin and cockpit insulation and linings; galleys.In addition Cape Town-based Cobham South Africa supplies the satellite communications antennae and related systems.Airbus Military has never hidden the fact that it thinks the A400M would fit South Africa's military transport needs like a glove and that once this hurdle of repayments had been jumped Johannesburg might eventually decide to acquire the aircraft after all.
ar99, SouthAfrica, A400M
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