By Andrew Chuter
The British government is expected to provide details March 29 on the deal it struck to continue as part of the A400M airlifter project, in what is likely to be the last major defense equipment program announcement before the Labour Party calls a general election.
Britain's contribution to the increase - the seven partner nations agreed to pay prime contractor EADS an additional 2 billion euros ($2.68 billion) toward the cost of the much-delayed airlifter program - will be minimal, Quentin Davies, the defense procurement minister, told Defense News.
The Airbus partner nations have been negotiating for months with EADS over a financial rescue package for the aircraft, which is years late and hugely over budget.
The sides agreed earlier this month on a revised financial and delivery schedule that involved both sides in putting up more cash to complete the program.
Britain's contribution will involve a minimal cost increase and a reduced delivery of up to three aircraft from the original order for 25.
Davies said the recent deal was achieved "without any degradation to technical specifications of concern to us."
Davies said that at one stage the United Kingdom was looking at having to reduce its order to 19 aircraft. Now the minimum order, which is still subject to negotiation, will be 22.