A400M gets a lift, as EPI engine secures civil certification

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Europrop International has secured civil type certification for the TP400-D6 turboprop engine powering Airbus Military's A400M transport, just days after resolving contractual issues with the aircraft's manufacturer.

Announced on 6 May, the certification milestone follows more than 8,000 flight hours and over 4,000h of additional ground testing of the TP400 achieved since the powerplant was first run in October 2005.

"Certifying the TP400 has presented a series of unique challenges due to the high power of the engine and the leading-edge technology that is incorporated within its design," said EPI technical director Martin Maltby.

"It is the first large turboprop engine to have been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency and the first military engine to have been certified by EASA to civil standards from the outset," the company added. "During development testing the engine demonstrated exceptional performance operating at sea-level and altitude conditions. It also proved its ability to cope with birdstrike, ice and water ingestion."

 © Airbus Military

 

Formed of ITP, MTU Aero Engines, Rolls-Royce and Snecma, EPI is responsible for delivering the A400M's entire propulsion system. At its heart are four three-shaft TP400s, each with 5.3m (17.4ft)-diameter, eight-bladed Ratier-Figeac/Hamilton Sundstrand propellers and capable of generating up to 11,000shp (8,200kW).

EPI on 3 May said that it had signed a contract amendment with Airbus Military, which "settles all outstanding issues between the two companies" linked to the late-running A400M programme.

The consortium has previously outlined a target of mid-2012 to also receive military certification for the engine. This clearance is required before production deliveries of the A400M can start from late the same year or early 2013.

Airbus Military is to build 170 A400Ms for its seven European launch customers: Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the UK. It has so far secured an export order for another four aircraft to enter use with the Royal Malaysian Air Force.

Four of an eventual five "Grizzly" flight-test aircraft are involved in development activities from Seville in Spain and Toulouse in France. The fifth should fly soon.

The A400M will be on display at next month's Paris air show, and at the UK's 40th anniversary Royal International Air Tattoo in mid-July.