Germany and France both take measures to bridge an airlift capability gap if delays keep plaguing the Airbus A400M, according to reports on Thursday 21 May. Germany is ready to pump 300 million EUR in keeping its old C-160 Transalls in the air for three year longer, while France is said to be looking into the Lockheed C-130J.
The A400M is supposed to replace the C-160 in Germany, but the Germans found their first-delivered A400M not up to par so far. Airbus apparently took notice of the complaints, as changes were made in the organization in order to improve quality and speed up deliveries. For Airbus, the 9 May crash that involved a brand new A400M destined for Turkey and killed four Airbus employees, could not have come at a worse moment. A software bug in the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) is suspected to have cut off the fuel supply to three out of the A400M’s four engines, leading to the crash.
Germany now considers keeping the C-160s in the air until 2012, three years longer than originally planned, at a cost of 300 million EUR for the German taxpayer. The German Air Force still has quite a number of C-160 left at two airbases, but the aircraft are nearing the end of their usable lives.
Furthermore, France has reportedly adapted its latest defense budget in order to possibly buy four Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transporters, whereas Paris earlier stood 100 percent behind the A400M. France already has C-130H Hercules aircraft in service, along with C-160 Transalls.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The 6th French Air Force A400M arrives at Orléans-Bricy on 18 December 2014 (Image © Jeroeme Frerejan / Armée de l’Air)