PARIS, June 10 The first delivery of the Airbus
A400M, Europe's new military airlifter, could slip beyond its
second-quarter target date and take place in July, industry
The first aircraft is being readied for delivery to France,
one of seven European NATO nations that developed the heavy
cargo and troop transporter at a cost of 20 billion euros.
Designed to give Europe's military an urgently needed
independent transport capability, the A400M is four years behind
schedule, after problems with the largest ever Western-built
turbo-prop engines led to a 3.5-billion-euro bailout in 2010.
France, which ordered 50 of the heavy cargo and troop
transport planes, is expected to have its first aircraft in time
for Bastille Day celebrations on July 14, the sources said.
Airbus Military said it expects to deliver the aircraft in
coming weeks, depending on final formalities for the handover.
An Airbus spokeswoman declined to comment on whether any
slippage into the third quarter would affect the schedule of
financial payments from a seven-nation arms procurement agency
coordinating the purchase, known as OCCAR.
"As this is part of the contractual agreements with our
customer OCCAR we are not in a position to comment on financial
milestones," she said.
Airbus parent EADS told analysts on May 14 that the
A400M would be delivered to France in the second quarter.
A French government official told Reuters that no final
decision had been reached on when the handover would take place.