A400M heavy lift cargo plane delayed

EADS says blame rests with delays in delivery of new turboprop engines for the military transport.


European aerospace giant European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. NV  (EADS, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) confirmed on Sept. 25 that the first flight of its A400M heavy-lift cargo plane, until now planned before the end of 2008, will be postponed because of the unavailability of the propulsion system.

The A400M is a four-engine turboprop military transport craft that has had a series of delays in its production and delivery. EADS currently faces fines over the delay of the aircraft. The engines were developed by EuroProp International, a consortium comprised of Rolls Royce PLC, Safran SA's Snecma Moteurs, MTU Aero Engines Holding AG and Industria de Turbopropulsores. EADS did not say when first flight would occur.

The company did say that first flight depends on the results of the test campaign to be done on the flying test bed, which should start in the coming weeks, and on the readiness of the propulsion system. Only after this and further discussions with customers, the financial, technical and schedule implications can be reliably assessed. The 2008 guidance of the group is not changed at this point.