The Airbus group announced in Amsterdam on Friday that it had signed an amendment to its contract with OCCAR (the French acronym for the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation) for the A400M military airlift aircraft. The OCCAR member states are Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, and the organisation manages the acquisition of the A400M on behalf of the aeroplane’s launch customer countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the UK).
The signing of this amended contract marks the completion of negotiations between Airbus and OCCAR which started in March 2017. These talks were aimed at achieving a “Global Rebaselining” of the A400M programme.
“The overall aim of the Global Rebaselining – both for Airbus as well as for OCCAR and the Launch Customer Nations – was to recover a sustainable contractual basis for and to ensure a proper execution of the A400M programme,” explained Airbus Defence and Space CEO Dirk Hoke. “I would like to thank our customers for their engagement and support during the discussions over the last two years. This new situation will also support our efforts to export the A400M worldwide.”
“The discussions with our customers towards the Global Rebaselining of the A400M programme had already provided [the] first tangible results in 2018,” he added. “On the basis of this contract amendment signature, Airbus is fully committed to continue on this positive path and to providing its A400M current and future customers with the most powerful and technologically advanced military transport aircraft available on the market.”
The amended contract has four major elements. These are – a new capabilities development plan, a new production delivery schedule, a new retrofit delivery schedule, and new financial terms.
Under the new capabilities development plan, Airbus will seek to provide all the agreed capabilities for the A400M, but over an altered timeframe. Already, tactical capabilities have been delivered, allowing the Launch Customer countries to operate their aircraft in different mission profiles. With the new production delivery schedule, A400M production will be stretched, but the programme contractual timeframe (up to 2030) will be kept; this will reduce financial exposure and allow production rate flexibility to accommodate future export orders.
The new retrofit delivery schedule will cover the upgrading to the final contractual standard of all A400Ms that have already been delivered. The new schedule will keep the required downtimes for the aircraft to a minimum while also optimising the retrofit process. The new financial terms include the revision of the financial retention mechanism. “Furthermore, a significant compensation in products and services has been agreed in exchange of [sic] accrued financial obligations due to past late deliveries,” said the company in its press release.