Airbus Military Plane Gets Support From France

France’s defense minister says he's convinced the A400M military transport plane will lure international buyers and it would be ‘terrible’ if partner nations abandon the program.

PARIS (AP) -- France's defense minister says he's convinced the embattled A400M military transport plane will lure international buyers one day and it would be "terrible" if partner nations abandon the program.

Herve Morin admits the program is about euro5 billion ($7.4 billion) over budget and years behind schedule, but "every military program" faces delays and cost overruns.

Morin told France's LCI TV on Sunday the participating countries must negotiate with plane maker EADS and strike a deal in which "the states share the burden" by January.

The A400M had its maiden flight Friday in Spain. The program was begun six years ago with an order for 180 planes by Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey.

The original price was euro20 billion.

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