Europe’s troop plane hits new engine glitch

Europe’s troop plane hits new engine glitch

PARIS - Reuters
Europe’s troop plane hits new engine glitch

The French Senate voices worries over the army plane A400M’s engine problems. Hürriyet photo

France’s Senate on July 5 voiced concerns over engine problems and spares shortages on the A400M as its maker Airbus said it had pulled Europe’s flagship army plane from the flying roster at next week’s Farnborough Airshow.

Airbus said it had dropped the A400M’s wheeling and steeply slanted flying display for the second year in a row after engine problems.

A Senate panel said after studying delays and overruns in Europe’s largest arms project that problems with the aircraft’s huge turboprop engines should be kept under close surveillance, but it did not expect further slippage in deliveries.

The panel also issued a warning of the risks caused by a lack of funding for spares to support the troop and cargo carrier once it enters service next year, following four years of delays.

“We must not have a situation where budget restrictions on spares throw the whole programme into doubt,” said Jean-Louis Carriere, president of the Senate’s foreign affairs commission, outlining a report on Europe’s effort to build its own airlift capacity to support military and humanitarian operations.

The A400M cost 20 billion euros ($25 billion) to develop and is designed to add airlift capacity for seven European NATO nations: Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey.

It has suffered a series of teething problems with its engines, the largest turboprops ever built in the
West, leading to billions of euros in cost overruns.