(July 16, 2010) -- A|D|S, the UK's AeroSpace, Defence and Security trade organisation today (Friday) highlighted the vital importance of the A400M pan-European military aircraft programme to the UK aerospace industry, especially the small and medium-sized businesses in the supply chain. This comes ahead of the aircraft's arrival for the first time in the UK today for the Royal International Air Tattoo and ahead of next week's Farnborough International Airshow (19 - 25 July).
As well as delivering new, cutting-edge technology for the armed forces of the UK and other nations, the A400M programme secures vital expertise in the British aerospace industry that will also deliver a crucial economic contribution from the civil aerospace market. The A400M project provides the 'bridge' between work on the current generation of civil aircraft and the next for the UK industry on areas such as wing manufacture where the country leads the world. Forecasts predict that 25,000 new passenger and freighter aircraft worth US $3.1 trillion will be delivered between 2009 and 2028. The UK currently has a 17 per cent share of that market which over the same timescale would be worth $527 billion (approximately pound352 billion). If the UK Government were to cancel or scale back its orders for the aircraft it would not only imperil the UK's work share on the A400M but also on all future Airbus civil aircraft, putting hundreds of billions of pounds worth of business at more risk. In essence a narrow, short-term saving in the defence budget would cost the country countless times more in lost business across both civil and military aerospace.
Ian Godden, Chairman of A|D|S, said:
"The A400M deserves the support of the UK Government given the economic benefits it delivers to the UK alongside the military and engineering capabilities it safeguards for Britain. With its cutting edge use of composite technology and application of the latest lean and efficient manufacturing techniques, the A400M firmly positions Airbus in the UK and the UK aerospace sector at the forefront of this high technology industry. It is also crucial in bridging our industry to the next generation of civil aircraft programmes that will be highly-lucrative to the UK providing nothing is done to jeopardise it by short-term thinking within Government.
"The A400M will deliver urgently-needed capability to the RAF and other air forces as well as sustained, high-quality, employment from Airbus at Filton and for other companies across the UK supply chain. It will also deliver a large scale reduction in the environmental impact of the UK's military transport aircraft, conforming to the Ministry of Defence's own sustainable procurement priorities. Alongside the engineering excellence being delivered by Airbus in the UK on the A400M programme thousands of people employed within small and medium-sized enterprises also depend on the aircraft for their future livelihoods."
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