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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A400M Plans Queried

TOULOUSE, France -- A top executive at U.S. defense firm Lockheed Martin has questioned whether market demand justified the development of the Airbus A400M large military transport plane.

"You have to ask yourself whether the market for the A400M is sufficient to justify the development costs," Scott Harris, vice president at Lockheed Martin Corp. said Monday.

European consortium Airbus Industrie, Antonov, Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin have competed for nearly a decade for a contract to develop a Future Large Aircraft to equip Europe's air forces, initially for NATO members.

Harris said discussions among European officials needed to focus more clearly on defining Europe's military transport needs.

He said a number of better alternatives to the A400M might exist, including deploying Lockheed Martin's latest Hercules aircraft, the C-130J transport plane, alongside other existing transport aircraft.