Airbus Military's A400M will miss EADS's targeted "summer" first flight objective, with industry and military sources now indicating that vital sorties using a modified Lockheed Martin C-130 transport in the UK are unlikely to take place before next month.
Europrop International and flight testbed operator Marshall Aerospace were unable to provide formal information on the current status of activities using the TP400-D6-equipped aircraft, despite repeated requests. However, one industry source says several ground runs have taken place recently (June test debut pictured below), during which the engine is believed to have been taken to roughly 75% of its maximum power rating.
© Marshall Aerospace
Further ground runs and taxi trials must now take place before the heavily modified aircraft can make its first flight, which a UK Royal Air Force source says is now scheduled to take place in October.
But persistent poor weather conditions in the UK could still affect this objective, and potentially mean that the A400M will remain on the ground until late next month or early November, says another industry source.