Airbus Military have just announced that it will deliver the first four new generation A400M to customers in 2013 as planned, following the development of solutions to the recent engine issue. Flight tests had to be suspended after 160 hours of F&R flying because of the repeated detection of metallic chips in the oil system of one of the engines. Airbus Military supported the engine manufacturer Europrop International (EPI) in its investigations of the root cause and fixes. EPI’s investigation showed that the failure does not impact an engines’ full capabilities and that the chip detection was provoked by a crack of a cover plate, a mechanical piece isolating elements within the Propeller Gear Box (PGB).
Consequently the civil Type Certification and military Initial Operating Capability (IOC) will now move into 1Q13, followed by first delivery to the French Air Force (MSN7) in the 2Q13. Despite this Airbus Military maintains the overall delivery plan of four aircraft in 2013. There is a slight impact on the delivery of the second French aircraft (MSN8) while MSN9 (the first Turkish aircraft) and MSN10 (the third for France) will remain on schedule with delivery before the end of 2013. Other deliveries in 2014 and beyond continue as planned.
Its good to see another program find its feet and move into steady deliveries.