The seven European partner countries behind the Airbus A400M troop carrier have offered an extra 1.5 billion euros to finance the troubled project – and given manufacturers EADS three weeks to plug the remaining shortfall.
The announcement follows crisis talks in Paris between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy over a plane that is four years behind schedule and 11 billion euros over budget.
“We agreed that this is a project of strategic significance and that everything should be done to find a solution,” said Merkel.
“We will find a solution,” added Sarkozy. “It is a
crucial project and we will find one quickly.”
The plane can put soldiers and heavy equipment into rugged combat zones like Afghanistan. Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey have joined France and Germany in placing orders.