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28 juillet 2011 4 28 /07 /juillet /2011 17:35



Jul 28, 2011 By Robert Wall AviationWeek.com


LONDON — Six weeks after a TP400D turboprop gearbox failure, the A400M military airlifter program is still grappling with the setback, which is starting to erode the schedule margin that had been gradually built up.


Europrop International (EPI) — the joint venture of Rolls-Royce, Snecma, MTU and ITP — has not yet identified the root case of an inflight pinion failure. The component is made by Avio.


Airbus Military has been forced to cannibalize engines intended for aircraft yet to join the test program to keep the four A400Ms now in trials flying.


An industry official says several sorties had to be scrapped as a result of the engine bottleneck and the schedule margin for the flight-test program has been erased.


In an statement about the situation, Airbus Military says that “the A400M is a high-tech, complex program and the flight test is designed to find and resolve any issue before entry into service. In this, the engines are a critical part. We are working with our colleagues at EPI to secure a smooth entry into service of the engine, according to the agreed schedule.”


A major indicator of the effect the engine problem will have on the program is whether MSN6 — the fifth flight-test aircraft — begins trials as planned in October.

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