(Adds comment from ministry)
By Andrea Shalal
BERLIN Dec 13 A sixth new Airbus A400M
military transporter plane is due to land in Germany on
Wednesday, with another likely to follow before the year's end,
but Airbus faces penalties for the late deliveries, the German
defence ministry said on Tuesday.
The European multinational A400M programme is years behind
schedule, with Germany's share of the costs having risen to 9.6
billion euros ($10.2 billion) from an initial estimate of 8.1
billion euros, according to a ministry report to parliament.
Each plane is now estimated to cost 181 million euros, up
from an initial 153 million, the report said.
In August the ministry asked Airbus for 12.7 million euros
in damages for delays in delivering another A400M aircraft it
received in July, and a ministry spokesman said it would seek
damages for delays in subsquent deliveries as well.
According to the original delivery plan, Germany should have
received 11 A400Ms in 2016, and should have a total of 17 planes
altogether. Instead, it will have seven at year's end.
In addition, the ministry plans to withhold an unspecified
amount due in payment to Airbus given certain "shortfalls" in
the radar and defensive capabilities of the first tactical A400
airlifter, a defence ministry spokesman said on Tuesday, without
Those funds would be paid to Airbus once the capabilities on
the aircraft reached required levels, he said.
The first tactical aircraft, which Germany formally accepted
in Seville, Spain on Monday, is due to arrive at an air base in
northern Germany late on Wednesday, with a seventh A400M likely
to arrive on Friday, a spokesman for the German air force said.
Airbus spokesman Kieran Daly declined to comment on any
penalties or shortfalls and said the company remained in
"lengthy and complex" discussions about its contracts with
Meanwhile, experts from the German and French defence
ministries are still working on plans to jointly operate a fleet
of smaller Lockheed Martin Corp C-130J Super Hercules
transport planes, a ministry spokesman said. He gave no
timetable for completion of the work.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced plans
in October to acquire four to six C-130Js and operate them
jointly with France as a complement to the expected fleet of 40
Germany has modified its military procurement process in the
wake of the A400M problems and now insists on companies assuming
more responsibility for delays and technical issues.
However that approach has led to delays in two key
multi-billion-dollar projects - the MKS 180 multi-role warships
programme and a new missile defence system to be developed and
built by Lockheed and the multinational European missiles joint
venture company MBDA, owned by Airbus, Britain's BAE Systems Plc
and Italy's Leonardo Finmeccanica SpA ).
($1 = 0.9383 euros)
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Greg Mahlich)