Paris: European aerospace and defence consortium, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co NV (EADS), has said production of military aircraft by the firm would be scaled down in the coming years as the German defence ministry, a major client, reduces defence spending and resorts to cost-cutting measures.
Thomas de Maizière, the German defence minister, is expected to present radical cuts to the government's budget committee on 26 October. These would include reducing commitments to purchase a range of military aircraft, including A400M transporters, Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, as well as NH-90 transport and Tiger attack helicopters.
Documents leaked to the media would suggest that the government's austerity measures will include not just a reduction in the size of its armed forces but also a lesser off-take of military aircraft as a smaller force size would require a smaller aircraft fleet to support it.
According to leaked reports, the new proposals would include buying 140 instead of 177 Eurofighters, 40 instead of 53 A400Ms transport aircraft, 80 instead of 122 NH-90s transport choppers and 40 instead of 80 Tiger attack choppers.
According to EADS officials, if these projections are correct then the company would be able to secure production of the Eurofighter until 2017. Beyond this, EADS would need further orders from aboard, such as India, where the Typhoon has made it to the final short-list of two for a major Indian Air Force contract.
The news confirms a growing trend among European nations to respond to a lingering economic downturn with cuts in public spending, notably defence.