A final fix for the problematic propeller gearbox fitted to the Europrop International (EPI) TP400 engines powering the Airbus Defence & Space A400M will not be delivered until the middle of next year.
Currently operators of the strategic transport have to perform an engine overhaul every 650 flight hours under a recently certificated interim solution developed by the GE Aviation-owned supplier Avio Aero.
This followed an issue discovered with the propeller gearbox earlier in the year related to the shorter-than-expected lifespan of an unspecified component. Operators had initially been limited to 100h of flight time before each engine inspection.
Philippe Petitcolin, the chief executive of Safran, one of the members of the EPI consortium, says Avio is working on a “definitive solution” for the part “which is scheduled now for mid-2017”.
That timeline is confirmed by Michael Schreyögg, chief programme officer at the German company MTU Aero Engines, another member of EPI.
“A final fix is due by mid next year,” he says, noting that the interim solution is “paving the way for countries to resume normal operations of the A400M aircraft”.
Recent engine deliveries have “fully fulfilled Airbus’s industrial requirement”, he says, with the consortium now “fully committed to the Airbus production schedule for 2016”.