- The program faced 3 years of delays. - The program will not make a profit with only its 174 firm orders. - The first aircraft will only have initial operating clearance (= freighter use only). - A total of 4 deliveries this year. - Production of parts has been launched for aircraft up to MSN029.
Before year-end, the A400M will undergo its first upgrade to standard operational capability 1 (SOC1), allowing for initial aerial delivery and self-protection. That is to be followed by SOC1.5 in late 2014 and SOC2 a year later. According to Gautier, upgrades up to SOC1.5 are likely to be performed here because they also involve hardware changes, but later upgrades are expected to be implemented at the various main operational bases because they are limited to software adaptation. The final step to SOC3 will clear the aircraft for low-level flight.