Europrop pushes back ground test by two months as suppliers struggle to meet TP400’s development schedule

The first ground run of the Airbus Military A400M transport’s TP400-D6 engine has been delayed by two months because of supplier problems and a change in the location for final assembly of the first prototype powerplant. The 8,200kW (11,000shp) turboprop had been due to run for the first time at MTU’s Ludwigsfelde plant near Berlin on 31 August, but testing has now been put back to 28 October.

Europrop International (EPI) says the delay will “not in any way affect the aircraft programme” and the 52-month engine development will catch up with its planned schedule as the remaining nine test engines are completed.

“The delay results from the fact that the TP400-D6 has a very challenging development programme, because its timescale is close to that required for a civil programme,” says EPI managing director Guenter Kappler.

Late definition of the engine’s integration with the A400M and a delayed design freeze have also affected the programme, he says, while “due to the boom in civil orders, some subsuppliers have not been able to meet the very tight production schedule”.

Final assembly and testing of the first engine have now been transferred to MTU’s Munich factory, which Kappler says has “more prototype assembly experience, a broader infrastructure and a 24h shift potential”.

The second powerplant will be assembled by Snecma and run at the company’s altitude test facility in Saclet early next year, while the third will arrive at France’s Istres flight test centre by late 2006.

“By then we should be back on track,” says Kappler.

The fourth engine will be assembled at MTU Munich, with the remaining test examples to be completed by ITP, MTU and Snecma according to the status of the programme and the capacity and specialisation of the partner companies. Ludwigsfelde will remain the centre for assembly of all production TP400s.

  • José Massol is to replace Kappler as managing director of EPI, moving from his current role as senior vice-president international operations at Thales.


Source: Flight International