South Africa has become the first customer nation to cancel its order for the troubled Airbus Military A400M airlifter.
The decision to cancel the order for eight aircraft was taken by the South African government on November 5 due to the more than three year delays with the project and rising costs, and the state owned Armscor procurement agency has been instructed to negotiate a termination of the contract and for compensation.
South Africa currently operates eight ageing C-130B Hercules which it had hoped to have replaced with A400Ms by the end of next year.
Meanwhile, Malaysia has agreed to proceed with its order for four A400Ms, but has accepted a three year delay of its deliveries to 2016, according to a senior defence ministry official quoted by AFP on November 7.
The A400M has been hit by delays in the development of its TP400 turboprops and in a lack of engineering resources at Airbus, but is due to make its first flight before the end of this year. Deliveries are expected to commence in late 2012.