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Germany to take fewer A400M planes

by Staff Writers
Berlin (AFP) Jan 26, 2011
Germany will take delivery of only 40 of the 53 Airbus A400M military transport planes it has ordered, the parliamentary budget committee decided Wednesday, in a further blow to the troubled project.

Deputies signed off on the revised project, which will see Germany maintain its order of 53 planes but then sell on 13 of them to another client, a parliamentary source said.

There was no mention of the potential buyer for the unwanted planes in Germany's order but Airbus Military will be charged with selling them on.

Juergen Koppelin, the parliament's defence budget rapporteur, had announced the changes Tuesday.

Seven countries have ordered 180 of the aircraft for 20 billion euros (27 billion dollars) from European plane maker Airbus but the project is three years behind schedule and billions of euros over budget.

It has been marred by setbacks, with the aircraft's first flight postponed to an undetermined date because of engine problems.

Airbus, a unit of the the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), was supposed to get the transport plane in the air in January 2008.

It is the second time in three months that Germany has sought to cut its complement of A400Ms. In November, it reduced its firm order from 60 planes to the current 53.

Last November, the seven NATO countries -- Germany, France, Spain, Britain, Turkey, Belgium and Luxembourg -- reached an agreement on financing 5.2 billion euros of cost overruns but a definitive deal has yet to be signed.

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Outside View: Think the way out of danger
Washington (UPI) Jan 26, 2011
The traditional U.S. solution to military threats has generally been to spend rather than think our way clear of danger. With the wind down of the wars in Iraq and hopefully Afghanistan and the state of the economy with debts and deficits that seem endless, U.S. defense budgets will and must decline, probably dramatically. In these circumstances, the usual plea is "to do more with less. ... read more

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