May 13, 2009 / 10:42 AM / 11 years ago

Britain committed to A400M

In this file photo Spanish King Juan Carlos climbs down from a A400M military aircraft after its presentation in Seville, southern Spain June 26, 2008. Britain remains committed to the much-delayed A400M military aircraft project but "not at any cost," a UK government report said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain remains committed to the much-delayed A400M military transport aircraft project but “not at any cost,” a government report said on Wednesday.

“We are currently considering all potential outcomes,” the government said in response to a parliamentary committee report urging it to abandon the Airbus EAD.PA plane.

The government said it did not expect the A400M to enter service before 2014. Airbus military has indicated the first flight will occur no later than February 2010, the report said.

It said British expenditure on defence equipment was expected to rise to 6.9 billion pounds for 2008-09, compared with 6.7 billion in the previous year.

In February, a parliamentary panel report said Britain should abandon the A400M because of lengthy delays.

The A400M, Europe’s biggest military project, is already three to four years late. Its future depends on talks between the seven European governments that ordered the plane. They have agreed a moratorium until July.

“We are considering a number of options as a contingency to mitigate any capability gap as a result of delays to or termination of the A400M programme,” the government report said.

“These include an extension to the life of the C-130K (LMT.N) fleet and leasing or procuring additional C-17 (B.N) and C-130J capacity,” it said, referring to other planes.

“The costs, benefits and timescales of each of the potential options form part of wider analysis work.”

Reporting by John Bowker, Luke Baker and Tim Hepher; Editing by Dan Lalor

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