BAE Systems’ initial set of deliveries of multipurpose combat vehicles for the US Army worth $15bn has reportedly been delayed by at least five months due to startup issues that have been exacerbated by the impact of Covid-19 pandemic both on the company and its subcontractors.

Of the planned 2,936-vehicle programme, three were expected to be delivered in March. However,  the delivery has now been deferred until mid-August, Bloomberg reported.

The delay has been due to production challenges that included welding issues, availability of parts, the readiness of assembly line and deployment of advanced manufacturing facilities. These issues were furthered compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the army.

Earlier, the Pentagon’s undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment Ellen Lord had stated that a few major programmes of the defence were witnessing delays of three to five months.

However, Lord did not disclose the projects or firms.

Recently, Lockheed Martin revealed delays in the delivery of F-35 due to Covid-19.

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In this month, BAE had informed the Army that the deliveries in August and September will be ‘challenged’ due to Covid-19 especially as over 20 of its suppliers were impacted.

Furthermore, BAE’s Pennsylvania facility ‘has experienced shutdowns’.

Given that the pandemic is continuing, army spokeswoman Ashley John said that the programme ‘will continue to experience volatility in both supplier part delivery and production line progress’.

She added that deliveries are expected in mid-August.

BAE spokeswoman Alicia Gray also added: “While we have seen a strong mitigation response from our suppliers, they have also faced Covid-19 disruptions.”