September 12, 2012
Credit: Credit: Airbus Military
Airbus Military expects to conduct the first flight of its first production A400M transport in the first quarter of next year, later than the most recent plan for the struggling program.
MSN 7, the first production aircraft, was slated for first flight in August with MSN 8 to follow in November. That has now slipped owing to implementation of a fix by the manufacturer of the TP400 engine, which has suffered repeated gear box problems. The engine issues have kept the A400M off the flying display for air shows repeatedly, but the aircraft is slated to fly today at the ILA Berlin Air Show.
Airbus Military officials hope to resume functional and reliability testing as soon as November based on the schedule laid out by Europrop International (EPI) to repair the engines, according to Domingo Urena-Raso, CEO of Airbus Military, who briefed reporters at the show.
In the latest TP400 problem, company officials found metal chips in an engine on MSN 6, forcing officials to pull the aircraft from the flying display at the Farnborough Air Show. The metallic chips stemmed from deterioration of a roller bearing.
Deliveries of these two aircraft to the French air force has also been slipped from the end of the first quarter of next year into the second quarter, he says.
The type certification has also slipped into next year.