A communiqué released today by the UK Government summarises the recent meeting of the A400M Partner Nations.

The meeting between the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg and Turkey in London is to discuss reductions to fines imposed on the company due to delivery delays and failing to meet capability requirements, Reuters reports.

“Ministers from the A400M Partner Nations had a productive meeting with industry representatives.

The discussions focused on the progress and the next steps on the A400M programme which is already delivering much welcomed initial operational capability to several of the Partner Nations Air Forces.

All Nations and Airbus have signed a high level Declaration of Intent to re-baseline the A400M programme reflecting the latest status of the production and capability delivery plans.”

Airbus received a 3.5 billion euro bailout from the seven nations in 2010.

This comes not long after a £70 million hangar large enough to contain three of the RAF’s new Atlas transport aircraft at the same time was officially opened by Defence Minister Guto Bebb at RAF Brize Norton.

The Atlas maintenance, repair and overhaul facility, which covers 24,000 metres squared and is 28 metres high, is now fitted out and fully operational in support of RAF transport operations all over the world.

Minister for Defence Procurement Guto Bebb said:

“From deploying troops and armoured vehicles to a war zone, to getting vital support to humanitarian disasters, our Atlas fleet plays a global role and it needs a home to match.

This huge hangar provides exactly that, and will see Brize Norton ready our Atlas fleet for action wherever they are needed in the world.”

The hangar was built under Defence Infrastructure Organisation contracts and has cost approximately £70 million including fit-out work, with activity on the facility ramping up since late 2016 when it was handed to Defence Equipment and Support, the MOD’s procurement organisation.

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Its a shame the A400 is having such a hard time, it comes across as a pretty effective aircraft. Personally, I’d like the UK order to be put back to 25 from 22. (yes I know its not going to happen) but its nice to dream.

Daniele Mandelli


I feel with 22 Atlas, 8 C17, dozen or so ( I think? ) C130J retained and the 9 Ready Voyagers air transport is one area we cannot complain about.


Great looking plane but it would have been cheaper, more efficient and more effective to have purchased extra C17’s, C130J’s and A330’s.
It creates the need for a huge expensive logistics stream to support a small number of airframes. Another wasted opportunity by the UKMoD.


….and so its better to export UK manufacturing jobs building wings to Boeing (not that they make C-17s any more) and Lockheed?

And how do you load an armoured vehicle into an A330? Not that the US Army can load a kitted Stryker into a C-130 either (although it fits an A400M with ease)

Sorry my hackles rise when people so readily look to the USA and not the UK for military equipment.


Its costing a fortune that could and woud be better spent elsewhere. We don’t need 3 different transports with ramps. We need more a330’s as refuellers and cargo carriers and c17’s are twice as capable and Hercules half the price, if not less. Its a waste. If you want British jobs buy more 35b’s or more frigates and destroyers. What about spending the billions on much needed new gen of IFV or tanks, or Apache E’s the list is very long. We did not need another, albeit great looking, transport with a ramp. It doesn’t do the economy of Hercules… Read more »


All the RAF C130J fleet is set to be retired by 2022


If that actually comes to pass it will be another glorious example of how out of control RAF overspending has got. We do not need the A400 in our inventory its a fantastic looking plane but Hercules costs half the price to buy if not less and is much cheaper to run. No other C130 and C17 operator has been able to justify buying this plane, because they don’t need it. Why did the UK?

Mike Hindson-Evans

Hmm.. UK procurement. We now have a range of transport aircraft, with a range of capabilities, from manufacturers on both sides of the pond. Shame that the Nimrod MRA4 programme (which started as Nimrod 2000 if I recall but finally died in 2011) consumed so much money and failed.