* Airbus Military targets 4 deliveries in 2013, 10 in 2014,
21 in 2015
* CEO hopes A400M to fly at Paris Air Show
* CEO says no signs of nations changing A400M orders
PARIS, May 16 The French army hopes to receive
its first Airbus A400M military transport aircraft in time for
the country's annual Bastille Day celebrations on July 14, a
Defence Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
The aircraft, which is about five years behind the original
schedule, is also expected to win certification for military use
in time for the biennial Paris Air Show starting on June 17,
Pierre Bayle said.
The head of EADS unit Airbus Military, Domingo
Urena-Raso, confirmed that this timetable was "absolutely
reasonable," adding that he expected a total of four deliveries
this year, 10 next year and 21 the following year.
France will be the first of the seven nations behind the 20
billion euro ($25.7 billion) project to take delivery of the
European military transport and heavy cargo plane. Germany is
due to receive its first A400M at the end of 2014.
France has ordered 50 of the planes, and Germany 53. The
other countries involved are Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey
"Delivery before July 14 would enable a French crew to pilot
the French plane above the parade," Bayle said, referring to the
traditional Bastille Day military procession.
Airbus Military had said earlier this year it expected to
deliver the first of the airlifters to France in the second
The four turboprop-engine A400M can carry a helicopter, two
armoured vehicles or 116 paratroopers. It can land on short,
gravel airstrips, making it suitable for transporting troops and
equipment to theatres such as Mali or Afghanistan.
The plane has been hit by delays and billions of euros of
cost overruns that led to a multinational bailout.
"The A400M got off to a bit of a bumpy start, to say the
least, but it's making good progress," Urena-Raso said, adding
that there were "no signs" that any of the nations planned to
reduce their orders.
He said he hoped the aircraft would fly at the Paris Air
Show, adding it had been performing very well in test flights.