January 1, 2016 / 4:25 PM / 5 years ago

France to buy four Lockheed C130 military transport planes

A Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft of the Royal Netherlands Air Force lands at Incirlik airbase in the southern city of Adana, Turkey, August 3, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

(Reuters) - France said on Friday it would buy four C130 Hercules military transport planes from U.S. weapons maker Lockheed-Martin (LMT.N) due to problems with European planemaker Airbus’s A400M (AIR.PA).

A Defence Ministry source had said in May that France had pencilled several hundreds of millions of euros into its latest defence budget for the possible purchase of those four planes and would make a decision by year-end.

“I confirmed the purchase a few days ago,” Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said during a visit to a military base in Jordan from which French jets are carrying out strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria.

The delivery of the C130s could start in 2017, a French military source said.

Le Drian did not go into details over issues with the A400M.

In July, Airbus Group had told buyer nations of the A400M transporter aircraft, which has been developed for seven European NATO nations, that it would not deliver all of its high-tech defences according to plan.

An A400M crashed during a test flight in May.

Reporting by Marine Pennetier in Jordan; Editing by Ruth Pitchford; Writing by Ingrid Melander in Paris

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