The first Airbus A400M airlifter is set to be rolled out from the final assembly line at Seville, Spain, in June, but it won’t make its first flight until at least September. The program is now running more than six months late due to developmental delays with the large TP400 turboprop engines. The first flight of a TP400 on a C-130 testbed at Marshall Aerospace’s Cambridge, UK airfield has been delayed again until next month. The testbed is supposed to fly 50 hours before the four-engine A400M can be cleared for its maiden flight.
Meanwhile, the static tests of a complete airframe began last month at EADS’ Getafe, Spain facility. These are of particular significance, since the A400M is the first military airlifter to have an all-composite wing.