America’s Lockheed Martin said this week that UK subcontractors on its C-130J transport aircraft programme were not at fault for an 18-month delay in delivering the aircraft to the RAF.
In denying reports that UK firms were partly responsible for the delay, Lockheed admitted that the first C-130J would not reach the RAF until October, more than 18 months late. Lockheed also missed a revised deadline last month. The Ministry of Defence only said delivery was due in `late 1997′.
Lockheed Martin said the subcontractors involved in the delay were all non-UK companies. They are understood to include firms in the US and Canada. The costly delay has forced the RAF to update old Hercules to cover the gap.
The MoD ordered 25 C-130Js worth £1bn in preference to the pan-European Future Large Aircraft in December 1994. The MoD confirmed the delay was caused by problems with `integration of the avionics’ and Lockheed Martin will be obliged to pay a penalty.