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  • No Support: No A400M
    Posted by Christina Mackenzie 2:37 PM on Oct 13, 2011

    Laurent Collet-Billon, the director of the French DGA procurement agency, has threatened Airbus Military that he will not take delivery of the A400M ordered for France “and I will not pay for them” unless a satisfactory contract is reached concerning the transport aircraft's support and maintenance.

    Collet-Billon was answering questions from the National Assembly's Defense and Armed Forces Commission on Oct. 5 prior to the 2012 budget debates.

    “We still don't have a satisfactory proposal from Airbus, notably for the engine. I have let the industrialists know that, without a support contract, I will not accept the aircraft and I will not pay for them,” he warned.

    blog post photo
    Photo credit: Christina Mackenzie

    Generally the aircraft manufacturer ensures maintenance until the aircraft is mature, he told the parliamentarians. “After this period, we could consider giving more responsibility to the state workshops”, in other words the SIMMAD, the structure which maintains the armed forces' fixed and rotor-wing aircraft. He said the latter was “absolutely essential” because “the market for keeping equipment in operational condition is not necessarily very attractive for industrialists because it is too small.”

    “We had planned to sign a joint support contract with the British for the first aircraft. But because the French deliveries are earlier, it will be difficult to agree in time. I will therefore not hesitate, if necessary, to sign contracts strictly dedicated to the support of the very first French aircraft,” he said.

    The DGA director told the parliamentarians it was “obvious” that a “major joint support contract at a European level” would have to be signed “when a sufficient number of aircraft are in service.” He said “national specifications should not stop up from pooling the major part of support.” But, he added, “before starting on this laborious undertaking, it is urgent to find a solution for the aircraft we will receive from 2013.”

    Tags: ar99, A400M, France

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