Europrop International's development of the TP400-D6 turboprop derailed last year when the consortium realised it would be unable to certificate its full authority digital engine control software to European civil standards, EPI president Nick Durham has revealed.

"For a time we didn't realise that we had an issue," says Durham. "Functionally, there was not a problem with the software." He says the problem arose from having to demonstrate traceability with the European Aviation Safety Agency. A review performed in mid-2008 determined that "everything worked", he says, "but we couldn't show that line through. So we had to go back to the beginning."

Responsible for managing the Airbus Military A400M's engines, propellers and nacelles, the FADEC software is more than three-times as complicated as the systems developed for the Airbus A380 and Dassault Rafale, according to EPI.

Partner companies ITP, MTU Aero Engines, Rolls-Royce and Snecma have trebled the number of personnel dedicated to the TP400 project since last year's crisis surfaced, says Durham. "It's been a problem for us, but I believe that we're almost out of that."

EPI expects to receive EASA certification for the engine late this year, with remaining tasks including medium bird ingestion, and short-burn and extended endurance testing.

 TP400 FTB - Airbus Military
© Airbus Military

Around 90% of the total development work has been completed on the TP400, with six examples having undergone more than 2,600h of bench testing. A seventh has passed 25 flight hours in nine sorties using a modified Lockheed Martin C-130K testbed (above). The remaining half of the latter test campaign is due to conclude in mid-July.

Source: Flight International