Airbus Military has begun final assembly of the first A400M transport aircraft intended for a customer, in this case the French air force, announced the company. France is expected to receive this airframe by early 2013, the first of 50 destined for its air arm. Final assembly of the A400M occurs in Seville, Spain. The fuselage for this aircraft, which is designated MSN7, is already in Seville, along with its wings and nose, according to Airbus. Arrival of the horizontal and vertical tailplanes was pending. Eight A400Ms are already in different stages of production, according to Airbus. Overall, there are 174 A400Ms currently on order, including 170 for the seven initial launch customers (Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, and Turkey) and four for Malaysia. (See also A400M Contract Finalized.)
It’s hard to know why the F-35 Block 4 upgrade's cost—now $16.5 billion and rising—is going up because it is mixed with the rest of the program, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report.