8 war planes 'still wanted'

SOUTH Africa is still negotiating to buy eight Airbus A400M military transport planes - despite delays and a cost increase that have raised doubts over the purchase, defence officials said yesterday.

SOUTH Africa is still negotiating to buy eight Airbus A400M military transport planes - despite delays and a cost increase that have raised doubts over the purchase, defence officials said yesterday.

South Africa was the first country to order the aircraft in 2004 and a decision to walk away would damage the credibility of Airbus as a military supplier - at a time some European buyers have threatened to trim or cancel orders.

The A400M is Europe's largest military project, designed to give capacity to fly troops and equipment to combat zones or deliver aid.

The plane has been dogged by technical delays and financial losses.

It is now due to fly by the end of the year, four years late. - Reuters

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