ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
After a long delay, the European plane maker starts the assembly of $700 million A400M aircraft,. the airlifters with both tactical and strategic capabilities
Employees are seen working on an A400M plane being assembled at the Airbus Military facility in Seville, Spain. Turkish Aerospace Industries also takes part in the project.
Airbus Military has begun the assembly of Turkey’s first A400M military transport aircraft at its main plant in Seville, Spain, the company said in an e-mail message on July 12.
The planes, the first of will be delivered next year, will cost Turkey about $700 million. The plane was originally known as the “Future Large Aircraft.” A consortium including Airbus is also producing the MSN9 aircraft for Turkey.Problems in development
The company experienced extensive problems and delays with the plane’s original development. The Airbus A400M is a multinational, four-engine, long-range turboprop military transport aircraft. It was designed by Airbus Military as an airlifter with both tactical and strategic capabilities and is now undergoing flight-testing. Under the program, Turkish Aerospace Industries, Turkey’s main aerospace firm, and a number of other local firms are taking part in the aircraft’s production.
At the point in its development when the A400M’s future became uncertain, Turkey considered purchasing the U.S. C-130J, the European CN-295 or the Italian C-27 instead, but decided to stick with the plane as the A400M program got back on track. In the shorter term, Turkey will buy six U.S.-made C-130 Hercules transport aircraft from Saudi Arabia. The U.S., as the maker of the aircraft, approved the sale to Turkey by Saudi Arabia of the six C-130E military cargo planes in May. One industry source said the unit price of the Saudi planes was less than $10 million. The Saudi planes are expected to arrive in Turkey later this year.