AIRBUS MILITARY SAS
Airbus Military was legally established in January 1999 as a 'Société par Actions Simplifiées' as the prospective manufacturer of the Airbus A400M, formerly known as the Future Large Aircraft (FLA). Airbus is the major (63 per cent) shareholder in Airbus Military; TAI, OGMA and FLABEL are full risk-sharing partners. Airbus Military has assigned overall programme management, during development, to Airbus in Toulouse; as the programme reaches production, responsibility will progressively transfer to Spain.
Conceptual work was undertaken by the European FLA Group (Euroflag). Euroflag Srl originally formed 17 June 1991, with headquarters in Alenia head office in Rome, to manage European FLA development. Aerospatiale, Alenia, British Aerospace, CASA and Daimler-Benz Aerospace Airbus (DaimlerChrysler from 1998) had equal shares in Euroflag Srl; MoUs established 1992 with FLABEL (SABCA, SONACA, ASCO and BARCO) of Belgium, OGMA of Portugal and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) of Turkey to allow integrated participation in FLA programme; BAE and FLABEL were industrial, not national partners contributing their own funds, although the UK government announced in December 1994 that membership was to be upgraded to national participation.
The partners agreddd in September 1994 to industrialise the programme by transferring it to their existing airliner production company; formal announcement was made on 14 June 1995 that Airbus Military Company would be established, replacing Euroflag, which then disbanded. Programme makes use of Airbus procedures and industrial infrastructure and takes advantage of technologies developed for Airbus airliners. The projected percentage shares for R&D financing at that time were Germany 25.7, France 17.2, UK 15.5, Italy 15.1, Spain 12.4, Turkey 6.9, Belgium 4.1 and Portugal 3.1.
By early 1997, the FLA programme had lost development sponsorship by the principal participating governments, although military commitments remained, subject to the aircraft being produced with commercial funding. Programme was weakened during 1997 by unilaternal German negotiations with Ukraine over Antonov An-70. German MoD attempts to involve Russia and Ukraine continued into 1999, but these were not supported by Airbus Industrie, which declined to become the prime contractor and assume the commercial risk of a programme based on the An-70; a study commissioned by the German MoD and carried out by DaimlerChrysler Aerospace reached a similar conclusion in September 1998. By mid-2000, senior German government sources were stressing the need for a European solution, prompting Airtruck to request assurances that its An-70 was still under consideration.
Airbus Military submitted responses to the seven-nation FLA RFP (request for proposals, dated September 1997) on 29 January 1999 and to the competitive Future Transport Aircraft (FTA) RFP issued to Boeing, Airbus and Lockheed Martin by Belgium, France, Spain and the UK on 31 July 1998. Acceptance of A400M was formally announced by all seven members on 27 July 2000; subsequently, on 19 June 2001, MoU signed by seven of nine participating nations (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the UK) concerning joint procurement through OCCAR, with Italy and Portugal expected to follow suit in the near future, although Italy announced intention to withdraw from project on 25 October 2001, with Portugal following suit in early 2003.
Programme encountered further difficulties in 2002, with official launch still not having occurred by year's end. Although OCCAR signed contract with AM on 18 December 2001 for 196 aircraft for eight countries, Germany failed to secure parliamentary approval for funding before agreement expired on 31 January 2002; Germany finally announced intention to go ahead with purchase at beginning of December 2002, although the number of aircraft involved had fallen from 73 to 60. Subsequently, on 27 May 2003, launch order for 180 aircraft signed in Bonn by OCCAR and Airbus Military; previously, on 6 May. Europrop International TP400-D6 engine chosen to power the A400M.
- Airbus SAS (France)
- EADS CASA (Spain)
- FLABEL (Belgium)
- OGMA (Portugal)
- TAI (Turkey)