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German Defense Ministry Denies Report on A400M Delivery Threat

The German Defense Ministry denied a report in Der Spiegel magazine that delivery of the Airbus Military A400M transport plane could be delayed because of a mistake in the ministry’s certification procedures.

“The timely delivery of the German A400M, according to the contract changes from 2010, is secure at this time,” the Berlin-based ministry said in an e-mailed statement. The news magazine reported earlier today that a certification body responsible for approving the aircraft wouldn’t be ready for the planned November 2014 delivery of Germany’s quota of planes.

Engine faults and cost overruns have affected development of the transport aircraft, which represents Europe’s largest defense program at about 25 billion euros ($33 billion). Der Spiegel said documents from 2003 show that mistakes in the original sales contract mean certification procedures don’t meet German military standards.

The discrepancy has led Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere, already facing criticism for a scandal over the failed project for the Euro Hawk military drone, to plan a new body to oversee domestic certification of the A400M, the magazine reported. The Defense Ministry said the process for certifying the aircraft has “already been determined as far as possible.”

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