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European aerospace group EADS says it plans to roll-out the A400M heavy airlifter on 26 June.

The four-engine turbo-prop aircraft will add urgently needed tactical and strategic airlift capacity to seven European NATO nations, but its production had been delayed by six to 12 months after wrangling between developers over engine performance.

The aircraft is set to replace the ageing Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules aircraft and the Franco-German C-160 Transall.

A spokesman for EADS said the aircraft will be rolled out for an invited international audience in Seville, southern Spain.

EADS has sold 192 aircraft to the seven European NATO nations – France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Britain, Luxembourg and Turkey – with export outlets in South Africa and Malaysia.

By Nicola Boyes

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