Airbus military plane beset by more problems
A confidential report by the German Defence Ministry has warned that technical challenges and contractual wrangling with Airbus could impair full operational use of Europe’s A400M military transport plane.
“Given the under-financing of the programme and the expected demands for delay-related damages, Airbus will not make the needed investments to carry out required improvements,” said the report, seen by Reuters. “The operational use of the plane is therefore in jeopardy.”
The report said Airbus could ask for delays of 12-18 months to resolve those issues, such as defensive measures and the ability to deploy paratroopers, as part of its latest negotiations with seven NATO countries involved in the €20 billion (Dh80.17bn) project, Europe’s largest defence venture.
That means Germany could face a capability gap in 2021 when its current transport plane, the C-160 Transall, is due to be retired from service, the report said. Asked about the report, an Airbus spokesman said the A400M programme had made significant progress over the last year.
The report cited other problems, including an unusually high 50 man-hours of work required to prepare the aircraft for a new mission because data had to be coordinated across different systems.
“This is operationally unacceptable and must be reduced,” the report said.
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Updated: May 9, 2017 04:00 AM