Testbed Problems Add To A400M Delay
The Europrop TP400 engine that has been fitted to a C-130 testbed at Cambridge, UK, by Marshall Aerospace ran at full power for the first time last week. But unanticipated problems integrating the 11,000-shp powerplant on the C-130 have further delayed the A400M program. AIN understands that the problems have included vibration in the fuselage from the eight-blade propellers, and the need to protect the C-130’s rear wing and flap from the much greater heat produced by the TP400. The testbed engine replaces the aircraft’s port inboard 5,000-shp T56 turboprop. In the 14 weeks since the TP400 was first ground-run on the C-130, only six hours have been logged. Program officials previously said that 30 hours of ground running would be required before the testbed could fly, and 50 hours of flight time would be required before the A400M could make its first flight. The testbed is unlikely to fly before mid-November, a source told AIN. EADS CEO Louis Gallois said last week that the first flight of Europe’s new military transport could still take place by year-end.