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Handover of service-bound A400M engine kick-starts ramp-up

Europrop International is working to halve the time needed to assemble and test the TP400-D6, having delivered the first production-standard example of the A400M transport's turboprop engine to Airbus Military.

At an event marking the programme milestone at MTU Aero Engines' Munich facility, EPI president Simon Henley said the engine consortium was "well on track" to bring the assembly and test programme down to 30 days, from 60 days.


© Europrop International

The production engine will power the first A400M entering service early next year with launch customer the French air force. All four of this aircraft's engines are to be delivered by 7 May.

In total, 12 engines for French A400Ms will be delivered in 2012, plus two spares. Production will ramp up to 50 engines next year, with maximum annual capacity of 120 to be reached in 2015.

Airbus Military-led negotiations on in-service support of French A400Ms are under way with the nation's air force. The engine maker has proposed that the service perform repairs down to module level, with more detailed repairs going back to the consortium, which comprises ITP, MTU, Rolls-Royce and Snecma.

To maximise efficiency, a single production line is operated for the TP400-D6, at Munich. The engines undergo pass-off testing at another MTU facility, at Ludwigsfelde, near Berlin. Series production follows delivery of 28 flight-test engines. Earlier this month, engine flight-test hours surpassed 10,000. Engine running hours exceed 20,000.


© MTU Aero Engines

The TP400-D6 gained civil certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency last May. In January, EPI delivered the engine reports required for aircraft certification to Airbus Military. Work continues on a "qualification piece" for military certification of the engine.

The final release of the engine software, incorporating maintenance capabilities, is due later this year. Further hot-weather testing is also scheduled for later in 2012.

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