Airbus Military has approved the industrial launch of its A400M airlifter, signalling the start of series production.
A total of four series aircraft will be produced by Airbus in 2012, with the production rate to be gradually increased to 2.5 aircraft per month by 2015. That follows a thorough review of all aspects of the program which Airbus believes has demonstrated that all readiness criteria is fulfilled. “The industrial launch is a very important milestone for the program. It is also excellent news for the suppliers and workforce who depend on the programme and who can now look forward to producing the A400M in the years ahead,” Airbus Military CEO Domingo Ureña said.
In further news for the company, A400M program head Rafael Tentor will be replaced by current president and chief executive of EADS Sogerma, Cédric Gautier, from April 1 this year. Gautier will take over A400M program certification, delivery and entry into service of the aircraft for launch customers, with Tentor becoming Head of Airbus Military aircraft programs, replacing Javier Matallanos.
Airbus Military currently holds 174 orders for the A400M from eight customers. Civil certification is due by the end of the year, with the first delivery planned for the French air force by 2012 /2013.