Europe’s OCCAR defence procurement body has signed a contract with Europrop International (EPI) covering the continued in-service support of TP400 engines powering Airbus Defence & Space A400M tactical transports for the programme’s six launch nations.

Announced on 24 April, the Engine Support Step 2 (ESS2) agreement was made on behalf of A400M operators Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey and the UK. It was signed by OCCAR-EA director Joachim Sucker and EPI executive president Catherine Poincheval.

German air force A400Ms

Source: Bundeswehr

TP400 engines power an in-service fleet of 124 A400M tactical transports

EPI is a propulsion consortium involving ITP, MTU Aero Engines, Rolls-Royce Deutschland and Safran Aircraft Engines.

“This agreement represents a significant step forward for both the industry and the participating states, as it resolves the past, addresses the current and prepares for the future,” OCCAR says. “This five-year service-based and performance focused contract is considered by all parties as a game changer,” it adds.

“This achievement marks a major milestone in the A400M programme and its TP400 engine, since it enables industry to secure its investments to the benefit of the TP400, while it addresses OCCAR and nations’ desire to implement new services, and to focus on reducing the operating cost of ownership,” it says.

The procurement agency describes the process of reaching consensus on the ESS2 deal as having involved “several years of challenging and intensive negotiation between all stakeholders”.

OCCAR says the terms of the new deal include boosting the efficiency of previous support arrangements covering repairs and spare parts.

“New added-value services” also have been introduced in a bid to improve operational availability, among them “analysis/storage of removed parts for potential future use, working parties at lower maintenance levels, strategic fleet management, and a service to provide stock recommendation based on OEM fleet-wide modelling”.

Additionally, “a roadmap with an exhaustive scope has been contracted to reduce the engine cost of ownership”, OCCAR says.

Airbus has so far delivered 124 A400M Atlas airlifters from a total order book for 178. In addition to the programme’s six European partner nations, that total also includes in-service aircraft for Luxembourg (1) and Malaysia (4), and on-order examples for Indonesia (2) and Kazakhstan (2).