It's Official: A400M First Flight is Delayed
To no one's great surprise, EADS finally admitted that the A400M airlifter will be late taking off. "The consequence on deliveries and cost is under assessment," the company added. During the Paris Air Show, Airbus Military said that even if the first flight was not early next year as planned, the target date for handing over the first aircraft in October 2009 could still be met. That now seems unlikely, with the first flight delayed until the summer of 2008. Since the aircraft is being procured by eight European air forces under semi-commercial terms, EADS will suffer financial penalties if deliveries are late. As expected, it's those huge TP400 turboprop engines that are causing the delay. The ground running tests are way behind schedule, and the first flight of an engine on a C-130 testbed has been put off until November. There's no fundamental problem, according to Airbus Military and Europrop. But some rotating parts are having to be redesigned to make them more robust, and the gearbox is overweight.