FARNBOROUGH: A400M engine beating performance requirements

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"Job satisfaction". That phrase was not in widespread use among the men at the helm of Europrop International 12 months ago. But with the European consortium having delivered TP400-D6 engines for Airbus Military's first four A400Ms and seen the turboprop design log more than 1,500 flight hours, the mood has changed.

"It's been a very good year," says EPI president Nick Durham, who points to the aircraft performance being demonstrated at the show using "Grizzly" MSN002. "It couldn't fly like that unless the engines were right, and the crew were satisfied," he says. "That's job satisfaction."

During the flight-test programme conducted so far, the TP400 "is already beating the production-standard requirement significantly," says technical director Martin Maltby. "We are where we need to be, which is great news."

 © Airbus Military

A400M  - It's engine performance is no longer "Grizzly"

EPI expects to receive civil certification for the 11,000shp (8,200kW) TP400 from mid-September, after performing one remaining test activity on single medium bird ingestion.

The consortium is required to deliver around 200 requests to the European Aviation Safety Agency in support of the certification process, and all but five have now been submitted. It has already approved "the vast number" of these.

"We have achieved the certification standard for the software," says Maltby, who describes the event as "a huge milestone". The propulsion system software required for the A400M is three times more complex than for the Airbus A380, he notes. Military certification activities for the TP400 should conclude around mid-2012, EPI says.

Meanwhile, the company has revealed first details of its proposed "EPI Protect" in-service support model for the TP400.

Vice-president Jacques Desclaux says a response will be submitted in September or October to a bilateral request for quotations issued by France and the UK for an availability-based service. It is also talking with Germany and Turkey about supporting their national requirements.

"The scope of the [TP400] programme is now going towards production and support," Desclaux says.