More headwind for Airbus A400M

Tom Cruise or not, things are currently not looking up for the Airbus A400M, as the aircraft’s manufacturer itself has now warned for financial consequences following delays in development. Only last week, reports in German media hinted at problems with the new airlifter’s introduction into service.

The A400M is already in opration in France and Turkey, but development of the type is still ongoing. Airbus now says it is running into delays in developing military capabilities of the A400M. This may very well point towards to exact same issues mentoined in German media, being the inability to drop paratroopers or cargo.

Also, a clause allowing buyers to cancel their A400M came into effect at the beginning of November, and just today, on 14 November, Belgian media are reporting large budget cuts for the Belgian military in the near future. With the question being raised wether Belgian needs a large air transport fleet, these cuts could among other things be directed at the purchase of seven A400Ms.  Airbus however said it’s unlikely that the right to cancel orders would be exercised.

The A400M is being developed by order of seven NATO countries, as a replacement for ageing C-130 Hercules and C-160 Transall aircraft. The total costs were estimated at 20 billion EUR but in 2010, an additional 3,5 billion EUR was needed to keep the program going.

Deliveries of A400M transporters are ongoing, with aircraft ready for the Royal Air Force and the German Bundeswehr. But wether those aircraft really are ready, remain to be seen.

© 2014 editor Elmer van Hest

An A400M captured turing a visit to Turkey. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
An A400M captured turing a visit to Turkey. (Image © Elmer van Hest)