Airbus Military's first flight-test example of the A400M transport has entered ground system and load testing, after being towed from its jigs (pictured below) on EADS Casa's Seville final assembly line in southern Spain on 2 January.

Aircraft MSN001's wing and tail structures were added last month, but EADS is still awaiting the availability of Europrop International's TP400-D6 turboprop engine, which should make its flight debut on a modified Lockheed Martin C-130K in the first quarter of this year.

A400M-ground-system-load testing 

 A400M MSN001 tow

 A400M MSN001 push

All images © EADS Casa

Refuting a German media report of a possible further delay to the A400M's planned first flight in July, EADS chief executive Louis Gallois said on 10 January: "We will have the first flight during summer 2008." But he cautioned: "We have to stabilise the programme for good, especially with our engine manufacturing partners."

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