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Still difficult discussions on the A400M, 7 workarounds

(BRUSSELS2) Discussions on the future of the A400M remain “difficult” and the subject will be discussed again, between the defense ministers concerned, on the sidelines of the NATO ministerial meeting, the 11 and June 12 in Brussels. During a hearing in the French Senate on May 12, devoted to the consequences of the economic crisis on defense, Hervé Morin did not hide a certain pessimism and explained what solutions France could resort to to compensate for the delay in the A400Ms.

The price of the plane will increase if the British withdraw

If the States agreed in March on a three-month moratorium allowing preliminary discussions to begin, discussions continue with EADS. The industrialist “underlines the increase in factor costs due to the delay of the program, and requests a sharing of financial risks” explained the Minister. “Added to this is an increase in the unit cost of devices in the event that the United Kingdom withdraws from this program” (an increasingly serious option given the serious economic and budgetary difficulties facing the Kingdom, this withdrawal could moreover be partial).

Seven operational palliative solutions. While awaiting delivery of the plane, France is examining palliative solutions of which there are seven, the minister confirmed. Some options require a certain amount of anticipation and a greater commitment because they concern the purchase of equipment solution 1 and 7), others require significant industrial development (solutions 3 and 6). Finally, others seem more immediately easy to implement (solutions 2, 4, 5 and 7).
Let us quote in the order in which the minister cited them:
1) the purchase of C-17,
2) the rental of C-17s to NATO,
3) an anticipation of the multirole in-flight refueling and transport aircraft (MRTT) program,
4) the increase in the hours of Antonov leased under the SALIS program (interim solution for strategic air transport),
5) the increased use of CASAs for inter-theater transport and training of parachute troops,
6) reinforcement of the wings of the most recent TRANSALLs, thanks to the interventions of the aeronautical industrial workshops (AIA),
7) the use of the C-130-J.
Some of these “solutions” could also be used simultaneously.

The fate of weakened subcontractors

The General Delegate for Armaments (DGA) of the Ministry of Defense, Laurent Collet-Billon, pointed out a problem that is often little discussed: the situation of subcontractors.which assume on their own funds part of the risks related to the development of sub-assemblies already supplied to EADS“. He thus underlined that the negative effects of this delay “will appear beyond two years and will affect the entire subcontracting chain but also the large groups, in particular Dassault and Thalès, which use these subcontractors. ”. According to him, “large companies tend to capture revenues and subcontract risks, which further weakens these SMEs”. The State would thus study the possibility of direct support for technological development, which “would allow rapid payment, in less than three months, of the sums that the State intends for them".

(read the full report)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

One thought on “Still difficult discussions on the A400M, 7 workarounds"

  • Lease C-17s to NATO : but it is certain allied nations which have bought planes, not the Organization as such, even if these nations have decided to meet in a "NATO-body": this one does not however belong to the organization itself, unlike the AWACS for example.
    Another question: were the C 17s delivered (there, I don't know)? when will they be? and will the member nations of the consortium accept to rent them in a program similar to SALIS, whereas they bought them for their own needs?
    Questions to ask on the side of Evere, dear Nicolas GV.
    friendships
    O. Kempf

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