|Aerospace Daily & Defense Report Oct 15 , 2010 , p. 01 Neelam Mathews|
|SEVILLE — Airbus Military says it plans to start discussions with India next year over potential acquisition of the A400M military airlifter. |
India so far has not expressed an interest in the European airlifter, which is still in development, but Didier Vernet, head of A400M market development, said “if India is interested, we will be happy to discuss.”
Airbus is desperate to increase foreign sales of the A400M because the core European program — which remains in flux contractually — will not be sufficient to return a profit.
In India, Airbus Military will argue the A400M can fill a niche between the Boeing C-17 and Lockheed Martin C-130J that the country already is looking to buy. India is considering issuing a request for information for an airlifter than could transport large goods and land on airstrips without concrete runways.
Vernet also believes that the fact that several European militaries are taking the A400M as a refueler is an advantage.
He asserts the airlifter has a range of 2,450 nm. with 30 metric tons of payload, or 20 metric tons to 3,450 nm. The exact figures are still being defined in flight testing.
Vernet concedes there is still uncertainty in the European home markets, where governments and industry are wrestling to agree to contractual terms to cover three years of program delay and additional development costs. This week, Airbus Military will launch its simulator training center for the A400M, CN-235 and C-295 where pilots, technicians and allied staff will be trained.