Andrzej Jeziorski/MUNICH

GERMAN RESEARCH and technology minister Jurgen Ruttgers has recommended that the Grob Strato 2C high-altitude research-aircraft programme be cancelled. The minister is believed to have handed a report to the country's parliamentary budget committee advising that the Government refuse further support for the aircraft.

Manufacturer Burkhart Grob says that Ruttgers handed over a report on 17 January which also demanded the return of DM72 million ($50 million) in state funding. Grob has put DM30 million into the programme.

"Of course, we cannot pay that much," says Grob, which has already had to sack 131 employees - half its workforce - because of delays in Government approval for the remaining DM47 million funding to complete the second phase of the aircraft's development (Flight International, 17-23 January). The manufacturer says that it will fight any Government claim in court.

The research-and-technology ministry says that it is waiting for a response to its recommendations from the budget committee before commenting.

A response is not expected before the end of the month.

Grob insists that support from the German Aerospace Research Establishment, remains strong.

Source: Flight International