Airbus reports progress on A400M

Airbus Military has announced significant progress in the construction and static testing of the first A400M military cargo carriers.

Airbus Military SL (Blagnac, France) has announced progress and a series of static tests on the first A400M military cargo carriers.

At the beginning of 2008, while structural testing of the design is progressing on the static test specimen MSN 5000, located at EADS Casa Getafe’s site near Madrid, Spain, ground system and load testing began on flight test aircraft MSN 001 at the final assembly line (FAL) in Seville, Spain.

Crucial to first flight, Airbus says the test program is well underway and steady progress is being made on all fronts to achieve targets for the A400M program in 2008. The first set of production engines, delivered to the FAL at the end of February, are now being installed on MSN 001, and production is ramping up with the delivery to Seville of the major subassemblies of the second development aircraft, MSN 002. During 2008, all elements for the other development aircraft will be shipped to Seville. Production is in full swing in all A400M facilities across Europe, Turkey, Malaysia and South Africa to complete the production of these five development aircraft.

The engine test program is progressing and a number of TP400 engines are undergoing extensive performance and operability tests at the EPI partners’ indoor and outdoor test facilities throughout Europe. More than 1000 test hours had been logged on the TP400-D6 engine by the beginning of March. Work on the engine flying test bed (FTB) is also nearing completion. The FTB is part of the initial flight-test program involving the 11,000-hp turboprop recently installed together with its 5.5m-diameter propeller on a C-130 Hercules test bed at Marshall Aerospace UK. The first flight of the modified Hercules, due to take place during the spring of this year, is a key precursor to MSN 001’s own first flight, scheduled for the summer. As flight testing of the A400M ramps up from this year on, the five development aircraft, two based in Seville and three in Toulouse, France, will be flown in a rigorous test program leading to certification.

Information: For more details on A400M progress, click here.