Engine problems force further delay for A400M
Airbus Military now aims to deliver the first A400M in the second quarter 2012, after further changes to the TP400D-6 turboprop have been implemented.
According to Airbus Military, investigations have shown that the chip detection was provoked by a crack of a cover plate, a mechanical piece isolating elements within the Propeller Gear Box (PGB). As a responsibility of EPI, they have already made a new design available, which is currently in the validation process.
Consequently, the MSN6 engines as well as all series production engines have been sent back to EPI for replacement of this cover plate. Functional & Reliability activity will be able to restart when MSN6 is fitted with the modified engines and upon agreement with EASA of a new F&R plan, Airbus Military says.
As a consequence, the civil Type Certification and military Initial Operating Capability (IOC) will now move into the first quarter of next year, followed by first delivery to the French Air Force (MSN7) in the second quarter of 2013.
Despite this, airbus hopes to maintain the overall delivery plan of four aircraft in 2013. There is a slight impact on the delivery of the second French aircraft (MSN8) while MSN9 (the first Turkish aircraft) and MSN10 (the third for France) will remain on schedule with delivery before the end of 2013. Other deliveries in 2014 and beyond continue as planned.
Flight testing outside the F&R programme is progressing well, claims Airbus Military, focusing primarily on military capabilities and systems, and the Grizzly development aircraft fleet has now completed more than 3,700 hours in nearly 1,250 flights.
Industrially, the first three customer aircraft are now in the final assembly process in Seville and a further ten aircraft are in various stages of production with long-lead items launched up to MSN23 and advancing according to plan.