LONDON, March 4 Britain's defence ministry
awarded a 226 million pound ($340 million) contract to European
aerospace firms Thales and Airbus on Monday
to build a training centre for the A400M Atlas military
Britain is one of seven countries that have ordered the new
European heavy airlifter and is due to bring its first into
service late next year.
The ministry said it also finalised an 80-million-pound deal
to fit infra-red defensive aids on the Airbus-built aircraft to
allow them to fly in hostile environments.
A source familiar with the project said Britain had selected
an infra-red defensive system designed by U.S. contractor
The Thales and Airbus collaboration is to build a specialist
training school including flight simulators at RAF Brize Norton
in Oxfordshire in England, where Britain's A400Ms will be based.
Britain reduced its orders from 25 to 22 aircraft without a
price cut as part of a plan to rescue the 20 billion euro ($26
billion) project from heavy cost overruns in 2010.
The first customer, France, is due to receive its first
A400M in the second quarter of this year, about five years
behind the original schedule.