A400M nears delivery, but what about those engines?

The coming issue of Flight International includes a two-page news focus on Airbus Military’s A400M programme, which looks at the company’s delivery and production schedules, expected transport performance and near-term export prospects.

The first flight of French air force “Atlas” MSN7 is expected in the first week of March, and the aircraft should be handed over in time to make a star appearance at the Paris air show in mid-June.

There are details in my story about the entry into service standard for this aircraft, which will require its Europrop International TP400-D6 engines to be replaced after just two years of operation. While the bottom line is that it will be able to perform the required logistic transport role from delivery with a maximum mission payload of 32t, that must be costing someone somewhere a fair few Euros.

Here’s an Airbus Military shot showing MSN7′s cargo hold, which was completed after problems with some key load handling equipment were resolved last year. Details on that are also contained in the article.

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Asia and the Gulf states offer the best near-term export opportunities, Airbus Military says, with their A400M programme head claiming that the type faces no direct competition. This part’s not in the story, but he notes that Boeing’s C-17 is set to leave production, Embraer’s KC-390 won’t have tactical performance due to its turbofan engines and Lockheed Martin’s C-130J is smaller and older. They’ve set an ambitious target of producing an eventual 400 of the Atlas (they have orders for 174 so far), so let’s wait and see whether he’s right.


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