The first flight test example of the Europrop International TP400-D6 engine for Airbus Military’s A400M transport will commence ground vibration testing in late February or early March using a modified Lockheed Martin C-130H transport, with the UK’s Marshall Aerospace having recently installed the power plant’s Ratier-Figeac eight-blade propeller at its Cambridge airport site in the UK.
“Engineering the installation of the engine onto the Marshall-owned C-130 has been a very demanding exercise,” says Mick Milne, the company’s marketing and business development director. A new engine display and throttle box have been installed in the aircraft’s cockpit and three test consoles added in its rear fuselage to monitor the performance of the approximately 11,000shp design.
Ground runs totalling more than 30h are required before the modified transport can make its first flight carrying the new engine, says Marshall Aerospace, while Airbus recently confirmed that the testbed will be required to log at least 50 flight hours before the A400M can fly.
EPI has meanwhile delivered its first two TP400s to the A400M final assembly line in Seville, Spain, with the other two to follow in the near future. Lead A400M stakeholder EADS expects the transport to conduct its delayed debut flight around late July.