The cloak of opaqueness that surrounds Euorpean defence programmes has parted slightly, with EADS acknowledging the Airbus A400M military transport is in trouble. We have all suspected it was, but as recently as June Airbus Military was insisting it would still meet the schedule despite engine development delays.
But in presenting its half-year financial results, EADS last week acknowledged:
- the heads of Airbus Military and the A400M have been replaced
- the consortium developing the TP400 engine is “critically late”
- first flight is now “summer 2008″ (vs the first quarter)
- delivery planning is “likely affected” and “under reassessment”
Final assembly of the first A400M is to begin in August, but the true extent of the delays will not be known until a programme review is completed in October. Meanwhile thanks to EADS for lifting the curtain a little.