Airbus Military (AMC) plans to announce its A400M engine selection this week after Europrop International (EPI) was given a final chance to improve the financial terms of its proposal by the manufacturer's 25 April deadline.

"The decision will be made in the very near future," says AMC.

Although AMC insists its pending decision between the European powerplant and a rival PW800-based offer from Pratt &Whitney Canada will be made purely on commercial grounds, picking the North American bid could prove politically unpalatable to some of the A400M's customer nations. P&WC is believed to have made a highly attractive offer to AMC.

The long-awaited engine selection should clear the way for defence ministers to sign a definitive memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the project and enable AMC to announce the industrial launch of the much-delayed project by June. Germany's acquisition of 60 aircraft still needs approval from the country's parliamentary budget committee.

EPI, a joint venture between MTU, Rolls-Royce and Snecma, with 28% each, with ITP holding the remaining 16%, is proposing the 8,200kW (11,000shp) TP400-D6 three-shaft turboprop.

P&WC is proposing an 8,950kW-class turboprop based on the PW800 gas generator. The PW800 is being developed as a geared fan turbofan for regional jets. The company has said it will bring European partners on board if it wins the A400Mcompetition.

AMC reopened the engine contest last year after the original TP400 proposal failed to meet its performance requirements.

The MoU is expected to cover the acquisition of 180 A400Ms by Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain Turkey and the UK. First deliveries are due six-and-half years after launch.

Source: Flight International