(Adds reaction from German defence ministry)
BERLIN, April 30 (Reuters) - The German defence ministry has no overview of the costs it is incurring for Airbus Group’s Eurofighter jets and will spend twice as much as it originally planned on the country’s most expensive defence project, federal auditors said.
The German Federal Court of Auditors, which oversees the government’s financial management, said in a report the costs for the Eurofighter jets over their life cycle would climb to around 60 billion euros ($83 billion) from an originally planned 30 billion, despite a reduction in the number of jets.
The auditors said operating expenses, especially maintenance costs, had increased particularly strongly.
They also said the budget of 11.8 billion euros that the defence ministry had calculated in 1997 for the purchase of 180 Eurofighter jets would be enough to buy only 140 of the planes.
A spokesman for the defence ministry, at a government news conference, said it was important to distinguish between costs that had already been incurred and future costs.
“I‘m sure that my ministry has absolutely transparent information on actual expenditure and we’ve told the Federal Court of Auditors that repeatedly,” he said.
But on investment expenditure yet to be made, especially on the question of Eurofighters that may still be built, he said: “I have to admit on this point that the transparency on costs which the defence minister would want is not there.”
$1 = 0.7237 Euros Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Stephen Brown, Mark Potter and Dale Hudson