Airbus Military has today achieved its fifth contractual milestone on schedule with the successful demonstration run of the First Engine with Propeller for the A400M military airlifter.
The demonstration to the customer, which took place at the Snecma engine test facility at Istres in southern France under the technical responsibility of the engine and propeller suppliers, Europrop International (EPI) and Ratier-Figeac respectively, was the most spectacular event yet in the on-going A400M aircraft development programme.
The powerplant consists of EPI’s TP400-D6 engine fitted with Ratier-Figeac’s FH386 propeller. The three-shaft, high-performance gas turbine engine and the 5.3 metre diameter, eight-bladed, composite propeller, give a combined power output of some 11,000 shaft-horsepower. The TP400-D6 / FH386 combination constitutes the most powerful turboprop power plant in the western world and will enable the A400M to attain cruising speeds and altitudes equivalent to today’s jet powered aircraft.
The choice of a turboprop engine design to power the A400M was made on the basis of providing optimum performance and fuel economy across the wide spectrum of operational tasks that the aircraft will be required to carry out. These range from low speed, low altitude aerial delivery to high speed, high altitude refuelling of fast jets whilst retaining the capability for autonomous ground manoeuvres as well as fast, intercontinental logistic deployment.
The A400M programme was launched in May 2003 with a single order for 180 aircraft for seven European NATO nations. South Africa joined the programme in April 2005 with an order for eight aircraft and Malaysia followed in December 2005 by ordering four aircraft, bringing the total order book to date to 192. The A400M will first fly in early 2008 with deliveries beginning in 2009.
Europrop International GmbH is a consortium of European engine manufacturers comprising ITP, MTU Aero Engines, Rolls-Royce and Snecma, who are jointly developing the TP400-D6 engine for the A400M. (ends)
A400M Programme Reaches Most Important Milestone Yet