The Airbus A400M military airlifter will be ceremonially rolled out on June 26, but the plan to make a first flight by “the end of the summer” seems overly optimistic, unless rapid progress can be made with the TP400 engine testbed, which has not yet flown. About 50 hours are scheduled for this modified C-130, carrying one of the four big turboprops that will power the A400M.
French engine manufacturer Snecma is developing a new high-pressure core for regional jet applications, dubbed DEM 21 for “21st century demonstrator,” in the 12,000- to 17,000-lb-thrust range. The program may provide the basis for variants capable of powering regional airplanes of up to 70 seats.
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.
Airbus Military will receive the first four flight test engines for the delayed A400M medium-lift transport by the end of the year, ending speculation that the TP400 engine program has run into serious difficulties.
Four European engine exhibitors at Dubai–Rolls-Royce, Safran, MTU and ITP–are fighting to recover an engine program that has run into serious problems during testing, forcing major delays to the Airbus Military A400M transport currently being campaigned as the answer to medium uplift requirements in the UAE and other Gulf states.
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.
It seems there is no slack left in the Europrop TP400-D6 turboprop engine program for the Airbus A400M military transport.
It has been a busy year for the Airbus Military A400M program, which has seen the first major components of the European airlifter reach the final assembly site at Seville, Spain, the first run of the TP400-D6 turboprop at Istres, France and–until the beginning of March–the successful achievement of all critical milestones.
Parker Aerospace companies are supplying a wide range of systems and components to airframes that range from the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 airliners to the unmanned combat aircraft, including the first inert gas generating system (IGGS) for an Airbus aircraft.
Europrop International (EPI) performed the first TP400-D6 engine control and monitoring system (CMS) test in Villaroche late in May, the consortium announced just before the show. The TP400 is the turboprop engine designed for the Airbus A400M military transport aircraft.