19 March 2010

A new member joining us recently is:

Gerry Blaquiere, Prince Edward Island, Canada  

Welcome to the OBA!


From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: Friday, March 05, 2010 3:58 AM
Subject: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Disbandment

Hi Chaps,

Have just recieved the following - the petition is real.

If you haven’t already seen it and taken action, please circulate it as widely as possible.

It has been suggested that the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) which celebrates the sacrifice of those who flew during the 2nd World War, will be cut in the next round of defence cuts. This will be a travesty if it goes ahead. The BBMF costs a mere £3m a year, less than 0.1% of the defence budget. It is a great delight for all who see their displays, and the memory of 'The Few' will be lost.

The £3 million cost of the BBMF is a drop in the ocean compared to the MoD's £36.9 billion budget - less than 0.1 per cent. It represents only one per cent of the £300 million paid in bonuses to civil servants at the Whitehall ministry. Meanwhile, defence chiefs have squandered a fortune by botching the purchase of equipment.

The BBMF fleet consists of 11 working aircraft - which include one of only two flying Lancasters, several Spitfires, two Hurricanes and a Douglas Dakota - which take to the skies for more than 600 displays and parachute drops each year across Britain and Europe. The events include Second World War anniversaries and State occasions.

Please support the petition by signing it - just click on the following:

Please pass it on to all the contacts you have in your address books!



Only 10% of the world's population speak English as their mother tongue. Chinese are at 21%, French & German are at 2% each

From: Graham Cotton, Peterborough
Sent: 3/5/2010, 4:23 am, EST
Subject: Guestbook Entry

Sorry to hear of the passing of Mike Acaster; a great guy and will be sadly missed.

I was attached to RAF Salalah 72/73 from Masirah when Mike ran the Movements section there along with Phil Bease.

Graham (Woollie) Cotton


From: Luanne MacKinney, Dartmouth, NS
Sent: Friday, March 05, 2010 7:39 AM
Subject: CAF mystery photo answer.

Hello Tony:

Love the site and I do look forward to each issue. Now...if you do not already have the answer, here it is.

The picture is of the ASTRA operator course 8108 - 27 Nov-18 Dec 81

Back row (L to R): Pte Lizotte, Cpl Dixon, Cpl Ste.Croix, Sgt Bisson, Cpl Oickle, Cpl Pellerine, and MCpl Larson.

Front row (L to R): Pte Mallais, MCpl Morin, MCpl Williams, Sgt Cloutier and MCpl Delaurier.



You are correct Luanne - what a memory!

From: Steve Richardson, Trenton, ON
Sent: Friday, March 05, 2010 11:58 PM
Subject: CAF Mystery Photo 030510


I will try to fill in some first names on this mystery photo.

The course photo is the ASTRA Operator Course- 8108 from 27 Nov to 18 Dec 1981.

Back Row- (L-R) - Pte Debbie Lizotte, Cpl Gary Dixon, Cpl Gerry Ste. Croix, Sgt Bisson, Cpl Les Oickle, Cpl Serge Pellerine, MCpl Shawn Larson

Front Row (L-R)- Pte Mallais, MCpl Yves Morin, MCpl Dale Williams, Sgt. Ray Cloutier, MCpl Art Delaurier.

An interesting note-- ASTRA System was used for booking militarymembers on service and Commercial Flights. The letters in the name ASTRA stand for Automated System for Transportation Reservations by Air.

Take care,

Steve Richardson

Thanks for the first names ande acronym definition Steve - gosh, no prize again.. you were pipped at the post by Luanne!

One fifth of the population of the African continent live in Nigeria

From: Jack Riley, Urangan, Qld.
Sent: Friday, March 05, 2010 7:46 PM
To: John Conduit
Subject: Terry Titterington

Dear John

Please pass the following to Jean. Thank you for letting us know.

Dear Jean

It was with great sadness that we learned that Terry is no longer with us.

Will you please accept, and pass on to your family, our sincere condolences.

He will be long remembered by all those who had the pleasure of meeting and serving with him.


Jack Riley
Sqn.Ldr. (Retd)
Hon. Chairman

From: Ray Beastall. Mount Moriah, NF
Sent: Friday, March 05, 2010 8:47 PM
To: John Conduit
Subject: RE: Terry Titterington

Dear John:

Please and I say again please pass on my sincere condolences to Terry Tit's family and friends.

This man was truly a great man.

Rgds Beast

From: Keri Eynon, Newbury
Sent: Saturday, March 06, 2010 2:25 AM
Subject: Re: Terry Titterington


Thank you for letting me know, yet another of the "old school" leaving us. My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this sad time.


From: Malcolm Porter, Upton-upon-Severn
Sent: Saturday, March 06, 2010 4:50 AM
Subject: Re: Terry Titterington

Many, many thanks Tony.

Terry Titt was an especial friend-and ace Mover. I fully intend going to his funeral service.

Per Ardua Ad Astra


From: David Howley, Melton Mowbray
Sent: Saturday, March 06, 2010 5:18 AM
Subject: RE: Terry Titterington

Dear Tony,

Despite the fact that we are all in “that age group”, the news of Terry’s death is really and truly sad – another of the stalwarts has gone to the great Movements Squadron in the Sky.

I have known him since 1966, we were in the same block at Brize – he was a bit of a hell raiser then, but a nicer bloke you could not wish to meet.

My thoughts are with Jean and the girls at this very sad time.

I have asked John C to pass on my verbal condolences when he sees Jean and I will be down to wish Terry a final farewell.


From: Alan Liptrot, Wigan
Sent: Saturday, March 06, 2010 7:52 AM
Subject: Re: Terry Titterington

Sympathies and condolences to the family. Another sad loss.


From: Mark Bird, North Rustico, PE
Sent: Saturday, March 06, 2010 8:57 AM
Subject: Re: Terry Titterington

Please pass on my deepest sympathies and wish his family well at this sad time...


From: Tim Newstead, Cheltenham
Sent: Saturday, March 06, 2010 10:41 AM
To: John Conduit
Subject: RE: Terry Titterington

Hi Tony and John,

I am greatly saddened to hear of Terry's passing. I first knew him, of course, on UKMAMS and then I had the great pleasure of working with him at the Movements School.

Terry was unflappable, he had wisdom and fairness in abundance and he loved his family. I will always remember the uplifted feeling I had driving home from Brize the day that Terry heard that he was to be promoted to Warrant Officer - for once, the Air Force had got it right! I didn't get that feeling about many promotions - not even my own.

Jean and her family are very much in my thoughts and prayers today.



From: Jeff Thomas, Llandrindod Wells
Sent: Saturday, March 06, 2010 11:16 AM
To: John Conduit
Subject: Re: Terry Titterington


Thank you for the message. I knew Terry fairly well from the Lyneham days. He was a pleasure to work with, delightful company.

Please pass on my deepest sympathies to his family.

Kind regards

Jeff Thomas

From: Howard Farrow, Stafford
Sent: Saturday, March 06, 2010 1:15 PM
To: John Conduit
Subject: RE: Terry Titterington

Tony/ John,

Very sad to hear the news about Terry, he was my instructor back in the early 70's; a great mover and a total gentleman.

Please pass my condolences to Jean and family.

Many Thanks

Taff Farrow

From: Rod Elliott, Brinkworth
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 5:07 AM
Subject: Re: Terry Titterington

Thanks Tony,

I remember Terry, though not well. Sad news.



From: Bob Dixon, Dauntsey
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 7:25 AM
To: John Conduit
Subject: RE: Terry Titterington

Thanks John,

I worked with Terry when he and I were at MOD in the Directorate of Fuels just before I retired and I also had the privilege of meeting his father – the famous “Ham and Eggs” corporal who landed on the night before D-Day by glider  under Major Howard to take the bridges at Ranville.  Both father and son were great characters and good company. 

Jean had asked us not to be in contact before he died but we hope we will get the opportunity to show our respect for Terry now that he has passed on. 

Best regards


From: Phil Smith, Exmouth
Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 9:19 AM
Subject: Terry Titterington


Please see the attached photo taken in April 1977 on Wake Island. Terry is far left and I am second from the right in the white shirt.

Kathy and I were really sorry to hear of the death of Terry. He was a cracking bloke. We knew Terry, Jean, Faye and Jane very well during the 70`s at Lyneham as he and I were on the same UKMAMS team. I appreciated Jean`s support to my wife when I was posted to Masirah from Oct 76 to Apr 77. Jean made lots of visits to our married quarter during that time just to see how things were. Needless to say, there was no support from UKMAMS regarding wives of blokes away from home for any length of time, We lost contact and it must be 21 years since we saw them last.

There are so many fond memories of Terry that I recall but a couple stand out. The common denominator was always the cheeky banter between a Scouser and a Manc. He would never see that Manchester United was a far superior team to Liverpool FC (and still is) which I could comprehend, but he would argue his case vehemently.

I do recall a trip to Calgary when Terry, Ian Newlands and I were in attendance. We had just opened the bonded duty free in a hotel room on the 20th floor when Terry observed a bloke abseiling on the outside of the building cleaning windows. Being the social bloke he was, Terry invited the window cleaner into the room to drink Ian`s whisky. To Terry`s great surprise the guy declined insisting that alcohol and heights do not really mix. I can see him now gesticulating out of the window, hundreds of feet in the air, offering the bloke a drink.

Machines and Terry did not really go either, vending machines in particular. On one trip Terry, Ian and I were on board a Hercules that had to divert to Little Rock Arkansas. The next morning, after consuming more bonded duty free booze, we ended up in the bases`s Greasy Spoon cafe. Terry was a disaster. He overfilled his coffee carton, he overfilled his Coke carton, he put too much ice in drinks, he dropped his breakfast on the floor. Looking back down the servery area there was more coffee, Coke and ice on the floor than in the vending machines. All the time he maintained Scousers were not used to vending machines and it was all a bit too much for him. He always said Liverpool is where the bugs wear clogs and the kids play " tag " with hatchets.

Never full of his own importance, no inflated ego. He stood head and shoulders above all of his peers. There was always a laugh, always a lopsided grin whatever the situation or circumstance.

Terry was a caring, gentle man who will always be remembered by Kathy and I.

He was a cracking bloke.

Phil Smith

From: John Gibson, Lincoln
Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 6:13 PM
Subject: Re: Terry's Funeral

To All,

I am very sorry that I can't be there to give Terry the send off I am out off the country as of to-night until the 21-03-2010.

I worked with him for a short time; helpful to me finding my feet in the big world of Movements.

Please pass on my heartfelt sorrow to his family.

John Gibson

From: Charles Cormack, Lyneham
Sent: Friday, March 12, 2010 9:05 AM
Subject: Terry Titterington

Both Pam and I were very saddened to hear about the passing of Terry after his illness.

It could be said that I have known Terry from A to Z as we first met in 1957 when Terry was an Apprentice and our paths crossed in the 60s in Cyprus at Famagusta and Nicosia, then in the 70s at Fairford and Singapore. I remember when Terry and Jean bought their house in Wootton Bassett in the 80s and when he went to work at Honda on leaving the RAF.

His last job was at Zurich and the last time I saw him was at Eckys final swansong at the Rugby club in Wootton Bassett but since that time I have been kept up to date from Terry Roberts through the UKMAMS Association.

I regret that we will be unable to attend the funeral on 18th as we will still be overseas however our thoughts will be with all of his family and I am sure that many of his old friends will attend to ensure he has a great send off.

We are all getting that much older as has been shown in recent months with the demise of many old friends and the friendships gained over the many years we spent together revive memories of the Good Old Days.


From: Jimmie Durkin, Stafford
Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 9:19 AM
Subject: Re: Terry's Funeral

Hi Tony

Thank you for your mail re Terry Titterington. Yet another loss to our family of friends and colleagues. I did not know Terry. I don't think we ever met although we might have crossed paths as us movers tended to do.

I am sorry that I'm unable to attend Terry's funeral but will send my condolences to Jean and family to catch them at the Inn.


From: Ian Berry, West Swindon
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 9:34 AM
Subject: Terry

I replaced Terry in Singapore in 1975 on the Paya Lebur Detachment and we were DAMOPs together later at Lyneham.

A Scouser by birth and had their wicked sense of humour too - not a big guy but a tough guy and not to messed with.



Canada's first C-130J makes flight debut

Canada's first stretched-fuselage Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Hercules completed its debut flight on 3 March from the company's Marietta production facility in Georgia.

One of 17 locally-designated CC-130Js to have been ordered by Ottawa, aircraft 130601 is due for delivery in June, six months early, the Canadian air force says.

Canada's new tactical transports will be assigned to its 8 Wing at Trenton, Ontario. "Deliveries will be completed through 2012," says Lockheed.

A total of 12 nations have so far taken delivery of or ordered the new-generation Hercules, which is intended to provide greater range, power and reliability than previous C-130 models.


If you went out into space, you would explode before you suffocated because there's no air pressure.

From: Gerry Davis, Bedminster
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2010 2:04 PM
Subject: Wootton Bassett

The above subject name may not mean much to many of you Old Bods, but here in the U.K. this small market town, a few miles from RAF Lyneham on the road to Swindon, with a population of just 11,043,  has become a symbol and a place of recognition to our recent war dead.

Every one of our service men and women brought home to rest and arrived back through RAF Lyneham have passed through this town, to be greeted by many serving and retired service personnel, together with the citizens of the town, honouring their ultimate sacrifice for Queen and country.

The British Legion is now the organiser, and members and others proudly attend each and every one of these processions, from far and wide; not as a duty but with pride and admiration.

Many wear their regimental berets and medals, and flags and banners are paraded and salutes are given with respect. The people on these occasions are numbered in their thousands. Each time the numbers seem to grow.

As the hearses approach the centre of town, the bells of St. Bartholomew’s Church signal the arrival of the cortège and a silence ensues as patriotic pride takes hold of those assembled. As the hearses slow down, flowers are placed on the vehicles; many of those assembled openly shed tears.

There are, of course those who find these occasions disagreeable, one such organisation, ISLAM4UK, want to parade through the town to show their opposition to the civilian dead of both Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is a petition for this very patriotic town to have some form of official recognition. I personally hope that it gets it.

Gerry Davis

Bikers in tribute to fallen troops

Around 15,000 bikers have roared through a market town on Mothering Sunday to honour troops killed in Afghanistan in the biggest ride of its kind.

Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire has come to represent the nation in paying respect to fallen soldiers as they are repatriated back to the UK.

Hundreds line the high street in silence for each funeral cortege that passes through the town on its way from RAF Lyneham to the coroner in Oxford.

Crowds gathered along the High Street to hear the roar of over 10,000 motor bikers with about 5,000 pillion passengers pass the war memorial on route.

The ride, believed to the biggest of its kind, has raised more than £100,000 so far for the charity Afghan Heroes.

Wootton Bassett Mayor Steve Bucknell said: "The vast majority of the people of the town fully support what the bikers are doing today.

"Too many times the town has had to stand still in silence but today is all about noise and movement."

Laurence Phillips from Afghan Heroes said the event gathered pace after being posted on social networking site Facebook.

"It's quite a staggering spectacle and an unbelievable show of support for the troops in Afghanistan and a mark of respect for the town of Wootton Bassett," he said.

The Press Association


From: Brian Lay, Wellington
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 1:44 AM
Subject: RNZAF Mystery Photo 021910

This is W/O Brian Lay marshalling a DC-3 into Paraparaumu Airport in 2007 for the Warbirds Association.

Too easy! Nice white coveralls Brian!

In Brazil, pulling down the lower lid of the right eye means that the listener doubts what you are saying.

From: Brian Lay, Wellington
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 1:52 AM
Subject: RNZAF Mystery Photo 030510

The bloke 2nd from the left back row is the then F/Sgt Budgie Baigent on his refresher movements course and seems to be the face of the "down under Movers".

Thanks Brian... the original photograph, taken in 1988, was sent in by Dave Milne and these are the faces that we know so far:



Mighty Hunter’s Last Hurrah

It has to rank as one of the most stunning views of the capital – flying past landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle and the Scottish Parliament at 260mph from 1000ft in the air on the flight deck of an RAF Nimrod.

The amazing bird’s-eye view was made possible as the military aircraft performed a historic flypast seconds before Saturday’s Scotland versus England rugby clash at Murrayfield. The flypast – the first time a Nimrod has performed such a task – was staged to mark the end of an aviation era, as the Nimrod MR2 ends its 31 years of service.

From the Falklands conflict to the Iraq war, the RAF Nimrod, known affectionately by crews as “Mighty Hunter” has been a constant and imposing presence.

Now, after more than three decades in service the RAF Nimrod MR2 will make its final flight later this month.

Unlike commercial flights, the experience on board a Nimrod is a less steady affair, giving rise to its unofficial nickname, the “vomit comet”. At any given moment, the aircraft is likely to bank sharply or climb or dive – a serious challenge for your coordination and balance. Inside, it’s a tight squeeze, with radar operatives, acoustics experts and camera operator all vying for position amid a baffling array of switches and monitors.

Following a smooth take-off from the Nimrod’s home at RAF Kinloss, in Moray, it’s only a 20-minute flight to reach the capital. The primary functions of the Nimrod are maritime search and rescue and submarine surveillance, and en route to Murrayfield, we were given a taste of the aircraft’s surveillance capability. From 19,000ft above the Firth of Forth, the onboard camera was able to zoom in and track a vehicle with stunning accuracy as it crossed the Forth Road Bridge.

A successor to the Nimrod MR1, which was introduced in 1969, the MR2 has been tasked to perform a wide variety of roles with the capability to conduct surveillance over land and sea, anti-submarine attack and search and rescue.

The flypast also aimed to raise the profile of the Royal Air Force Association – an organisation of serving and former members of the RAF, which provides assistance, comradeship and, where required, welfare and care for the whole RAF family.

At RAF Kinloss, there is a Nimrod permanently on stand-by at two-hours readiness for operations or search and rescue 24 hours a day.

The Nimrod MR2 is probably best known for its instrumental role in the successful rescue of many sailors, fishermen and stricken oil workers such as those involved in the 1988 Piper Alpha tragedy. More recently, in November 2007, the Nimrod co-ordinated seven helicopters, evacuating 118 workers from the Thistle Alpha platform, 325 miles north of Aberdeen, after a blaze.

However, the legacy of the Nimrod will be overshadowed by the tragic events when 14 servicemen were killed when a Nimrod XV230 blew up in the air in Afghanistan, in 2006. As a result, the MR2 is being brought out of service a year earlier than initially planned. The early retirement is also part of wider Ministry of Defence cuts.

Later this year around 400 jobs will be lost from RAF Kinloss as part of a cost-saving exercise against rising costs in the war in Afghanistan.

The fleet of 11 Nimrod MR2 reconnaissance aircraft will cease operating by March 31. The MR2’s replacement, the MR4A willnot be fully operational until 2012.

Master aircrew Neil Campbell, an acoustics expert with 20 years’ experience of flying in Nimrods, echoes the thoughts of the rest of the eight-man crew. He said: “We’ll all be sad to see it go.”

Kinloss’s personnel support officer, Stu Smith, said: “Some of the crew have been flying in this Nimrod for the past 15 or 20 years and are quite attached to the plane.”

The current fleet of 11 Nimrod MR2 are destined for museums, mothballing or being turned into razor blades.

Captaining the unique flypast, Flight Lieutenant Gary Laing, 43, from Macduff in Aberdeenshire, said: “I am thrilled to captain the Nimrod for this historic flight. “We are all honoured to be able to make our own contribution to a fantastic occasion.” Upon returning to RAF Kinloss, he added: “That was a cracking flight, mission accomplished.”

Nimrod MR2 factfile: The Nimrod MR2 is a four-engine Intelligence Surveillance Targeting Acquisition Reconnaissance aircraft. It can remain airborne for around nine hours without air-to-air refuelling. It has a 35-metre wingspan and has a maximum altitude of 44,000ft. It routinely operates at low level, flying 200ft above the sea. The Nimrod has been used in four main roles: anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface unit warfare, intelligence and communications support and search and rescue. It carries two weapons – the Harpoon and Stingray torpedo.

Herald Scotland

In Korea, it is rude to keep your hands behind your back or in your pockets.

Royal New Zealand Air Force Passes Through Solomons

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) visited Honiara, Solomon Islands, in a P-3K Orion aircraft for two days last week as part of a 7-day patrol of the Pacific.

The operation covered a range of tasks including maritime reconnaissance and surveillance to monitor any illegal fishing activity in the Exclusive Economic Zones of Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia.

New Zealand is responsible for patrolling more than six million square miles of ocean, including much of the South Pacific, against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Illegal fishing is estimated to cost Pacific Island countries up to US$400 million per year.

"The patrol shows New Zealand's ongoing commitment to assisting Solomon Islands authorities with border management and protecting its waters against illegal fishing," said New Zealand High Commissioner, Mark Ramsden.

Solomon Times Online


From: Charles Collier, Devizes
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 7:30 AM
Subject: Holiday 2010

Dear Tony,

Yes we've returned from places the other side of the world and had a marvelous time. Indeed one of the experiences I always wondered about was riding a Segway! You know those twin wheeled trolleys that stand up with passenger/driver mounted. Herewith a picture of Elaine and me so mounted at Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand.

Of course having done mechanics at school I know about gyroscopes for that is the principal of the Segway. First you switch the gyro on then mount the machine and then lean forward - you then proceed in a forward motion - steering in the usual way. To stop you simply lean backwards and it stops.

The operation at first is quite unnerving because to lean forward is contrary to one's brain but you have to detach the brain or what's left of it and do the necessary thing! The gyro when spinning exerts a force at 90 degrees to the axle hence the stability when you lean forward on the machine.

Kind regards


Very nice Charles but no room at all for groceries! Glad to see you're back safe and sound.

In Australia, it is rude to wink at women.

From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 5:02 PM
Subject: NSRAFA Cosford

Hi Tony

We had our usual monthly meeting at Cosford today but nothing really worth putting on the Brief. A good turnout present and one of the members gave us a talk on his time in the RAF spending most of his time at RAF Chivenor as a fitter on Vampires and Hunters.

The Crown Plaza Resort Salalah is conveniently located just 10 minutes’ drive from the Salalah International Airport - a far cry from the sparse desert staging post we all knew from some 40 years ago!

One of the lads who I've known for years is a member; he was a fitter with 43 Sqdn also on Hunters spending most of his time in Aden and was there when I passed thru on my way to Aussie with his brother in Nov 64 and met us on the pier when we docked.

Anyhow, in May he's taking his wife on a cruise; boarding the liner at Dubai and making their way around the Southern Arabian Peninsula. He was there for the troubles at Radfan and the liner is calling in at Salalah and Steamer Point so he will be able to show his missus the delights of those stinking places that we know so well.

Hope to have a guest speaker next time with something of interest maybe that I can pass on to you.

Cheers for now


Thanks John, always a pleasure hearing from you.


EADS confident on A400M exports after rescue deal

Weeks ago, EADS bosses were warning that without a bail-out the troubled A400M programme could sink Airbus. Now, following a 5 March agreement in principle with the seven government customers, the European company claims the airlifter will replace Lockheed Martin's C-130 as the world's military transport of choice.

"The export potential is huge," says EADS chief executive Louis Gallois. "I think we could reach 400-500 in the next 20 years."

Gallois says negotiations are taking place with South Africa, one of two non-European customers - along with Chile - to cancel commitments.

"We will give you an update in a few weeks," he said following the EADS annual results presentation in Paris on 9 March. Pretoria pulled its contract for eight aircraft in November citing delays and rising costs.

The new deal commits the seven original customers - Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the UK - to pay EADS an additional €2 billion ($2.74 billion), waive all liquidated damages related to the delays and provide a further €1.5 billion in exchange for a share of export sales.

Details have still to be agreed as to how the extra cost will be shared among the countries, although Gallois said it would likely be allocated according to aircraft commitments. Under the deal, nations can drop a total of 10 of the 180 A400Ms on firm order, although Gallois expects delivery schedules to remain intact, with the first aircraft handed over in July 2013.

The size of the export levy paid to the governments is also unclear, but Gallois insisted it will not be so high that the aircraft becomes uncompetitive. "We have agreed that the levy should not put a brake on exports. We have a common interest: nations have to get their levies and we have to make profit," he said.

He added that negotiations with suppliers to recover some of the costs incurred by the failure to integrate on time key equipment - including the Europrop TP400-D6 engine - "will take years".
Gallois denies that the A400M programme, which is three years behind its original schedule, has been a "disaster", saying: "Give me an example of any military equipment which has been delivered with less than a three-year delay. It is not a bad performance. I am not proud of it, but 10 years is the benchmark in our business."

EADS blames many of the programme's problems on an "unrealistic" price and supplier workshare contracts agreed in the original contract.




Israel's Dead Sea is 1,312 feet below sea level.


An American urologist once bought Napoleon's penis for $40,000.


This issue is dedicated to the memory of Terry Titterington