Davies hints at A400M cancellation
08 July 2009
Divisions are growing within the MoD and government over what to do with the troubled A400M programme, after a defence minister made comments yesterday which were in sharp contrast to the ones made by Prime Minister Gordon Brown just a day earlier in regards to the A400M.
Minister for defence equipment and support Quentin Davies told reporters yesterday that Britain "may not" be part of a renegotiated contract for the A400M. Just a day earlier, Brown had told a press conference that he wanted to see the A400M produced.
Davies has become an outspoken critic of the programme in recent months in a sign that he is likely resisting proposals by other partnering nations to carry ahead with a programme four years late and already a billion euros over budget.
"I have to say that we have very little time left and it would be quite irresponsible to express undue optimism about the prospects of a successful renegotiation involving the U.K.," Davies said in an interview in Glasgow. "Other countries may take a different view, of course."
While avoiding direct criticism of the manufacturer EADS, Davies reiterated that Britain has made its requirements clear for a new contract and if they are not met, Britain will walk away.
So far according to Davies, the Britain's terms are not being met. Aerospace officials speculate that the main "terms" put forth by Britain are for EADS to shoulder most of the additional costs. Engine troubles and design flaws have caused the delays and cost overruns. EADS has claimed it could go bankrupt if it has to pay all of the cost increases.
If Britain walks away from the programme it will most likely have to buy additional C-130Js and C-17s.
HAVE YOUR SAY
08 July 2009
You don't mention the worst case, in which the UK stays with the program for political reasons, but cuts its order for financial ones. Can you imagine the cost of maintenance and of pilot training for, say, 10 of a plane which is not cockpit compatible with c-130 and c-17? This is shaping up to be a classic Whitehall cock-up.