Airbus soon to deliver first A400M airplane to Turkey

Airbus soon to deliver first A400M airplane to Turkey

Burak BEKDİL Hürriyet Daily News
Airbus soon to deliver first A400M airplane to Turkey

The first aircraft for Turkey will be delivered soon, Tom Enders, CEO of EADS, the European defense giant and parent company for Airbus Military has said. REUTERS photo

Airbus Military, the multinational consortium building what many in the defense world view as the “airlifter of the 21st century,” will deliver the first A400M to the Turkish military soon, a top company official said.

“The first aircraft for the Turkish military will be delivered in the coming weeks,” said Tom Enders, CEO of EADS, the European defense giant and parent company for Airbus Military. The Turkish A400M will operate at an air base in Kayseri, Central Turkey.

Enders was speaking at a ceremony at the Airbus Military Site in the southern Spanish city of Seville for the official delivery of the second A400M aircraft for the French military. The French Air Force took delivery of the first A400M airlifter from Airbus Military in August.

The Prince of Asrutias Felipe, crown prince and son of Spanish King Juan Carlos and French Defense Minister Jean Yves Le Drian were present at the ceremony. From Turkey’s end, the soon-to-be-made delivery marks the culmination of a 10-year effort as a partner country in the Airbus Military consortium. Earlier, the program overcame serious technical problems, delivery delays and budget overruns that almost saw Airbus and the partner nations scrap the program.

The handover of the first French aircraft followed the July 31 receipt of Type Acceptance at the Initial Operating Clearance standard from OCCAR, the European Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation, which has been managing the project on behalf of the seven-nation effort.

’Big success in export markets’

Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and Britain joined in a program that together with export customer Malaysia has garnered 174 orders.

Enders expects “big success in export markets.” He said, “This aircraft has the potential to conquer export markets.”

The first two aircraft were delivered by Airbus to IOC (Initial Operational Clearance) standard, offering functionalities limited to logistical flights only. The third production aircraft, the aircraft for Turkey, was also built in the IOC version.

Among the other significant A400M operators, Britain is scheduled to get its first aircraft next year, and German deliveries will follow in 2015.

The turboprop aircraft has a payload capability of up to 37 tons or 116 paratroopers, and can also serve as an air-to-air tanker for fast jets and other aircraft.

Just before the first French delivery in August, EADS announced that Airbus Military’s transport and air tanker aircraft were to be merged into a new defense and space business headquartered in Munich. The military aircraft business unit will be based in Spain and include A400M, A330 tanker transports, Airbus’ share of the Eurofighter program and UAV activities.