A400M gets a boost, as TP400 engine hits full power

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Airbus Military's A400M has moved a small step closer to achieving its delayed first flight, with the transport's Europrop International TP400-D6 engine having been run at maximum power for the first time on the wing of a modified Lockheed Martin C-130 flight testbed.

Performed at Marshall Aerospace's Cambridge airport site during 2h of ground runs on 10 September (below), the test "represented the first proper shakedown of both the TP400 powerplant and [Ratier-Figeac] propeller at full power", says the UK company. "No further major development issues have occurred following the first full power run," it adds.

 
© Marshall Aerospace

"Subsequent testing will further assess prop stress and powerplant stability, and expand into crosswind conditions," says Marshall. The company expects to conduct a further three or four such tests before starting taxi trials using the Hercules testbed.

Originally scheduled to make its flight debut early last year, the C-130 testbed will conduct vital risk reduction work ahead of the A400M's debut sortie using four of the 11,000shp (8,200kW) TP400 engines. The latter milestone is expected to happen around late October or early November, according to industry sources.