Germany may get full-spec A400M airlifter later than planned

FRANKFURT/BERLIN Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:50pm EST

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FRANKFURT/BERLIN Dec 11 (Reuters) - The German army may have to wait another half a year to get its first fully kitted-out Airbus A400M military airlifter, the defence ministry said on Wednesday.

While the army will receive a plane from Airbus Military, part of aerospace and defence group EADS, in November 2014 as planned, it will not have the full military capabilities the army has ordered, a spokesman for the ministry said.

Airbus Military will then add the capabilities, meaning the plane will reach the original army specification in mid-2015.

The delay had earlier been reported by German daily Handelsblatt.

Airbus Military said it was confident the first plane would be delivered in November 2014, and that it was working to develop and qualify the additional military capabilities.

"As is normal, there are some challenges, but it's too early to determine the level of shortfall we might have at the time of delivery," a spokeswoman said.

EADS chief Executive Tom Enders had earlier on Wednesday described the A400M, which has suffered budget overruns and delays, as a "burden."

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan in Frankfurt and Sabine Siebold in Berlin. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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