A400M Moves Forward Towards Initial Deliveries
2012-12-12 It is anticipated that four A400Ms will be delivered in 2013.
The first delivery to the French Air Force, of MSN7, is planned for the second quarter.
Another milestone has been passed for the aircraft as it nears its first delivery.
According to a recent Airbus Military press release:
Airbus Military has successfully completed the 300 hours of Function & Reliability (F&R) flight-testing of the A400M new generation airlifter which is a key requirement prior to full certification.
Data from the F&R program, which was performed entirely using the first production-representative aircraft – MSN6 / Grizzly 5 – is now being examined by the civil and military certification authorities for the A400M – respectively EASA and a committee appointed by OCCAR.
Having received the restricted Type Certification begin May this year, this phase of the flight test program was the last major requirement prior to full Type Certification. It is expected that the aircraft will receive the full civil Type Certificate and military Initial Operating Capability in the first quarter of next year subject to the approval of the relevant authorities.
The F&R testing was completed in just 32 days, during which the aircraft made 52 flights and visited 10 different airfields. The exercise is intended to examine the aircraft´s behavior in conditions representative of normal in-service experience, including both routine and simulated abnormal operations in a wide range of weather and locations. It helps minimize the risk to operational crews, particularly on new aircraft entering service, of malfunctions and failures that increase pilot workload.
Airbus Military Head of Flight and Integration Tests Fernando Alonso said: “During this F&R campaign the A400M has really been put through its paces. It has flown an average of two flights and 15 flight hours per day over a 26 day timeframe with only 6 days devoted to routine maintenance activities.The crews have been greatly impressed with the performance of the on-board systems and engines, and we are confident that we have a sound basis for completing the civil and military certification in the next couple of months.”
This intensive testing demonstrated the excellent reliability of the A400M and its systems as well as its TP400 engines even under an exceptionally demanding schedule.
For our report on the A400M based on a recent visit to the factory see the following:
Credit Photos: Airbus Military, September 2012
- In the first two pictures, A400Ms in the final leg of their journey in Seville are pictured. Three of the aircraft to be delivered next year where in the facility: 2 for France and 1 for Turkey. The engines have been removed from the planes and set to the manufacturer who is making repairs associated with the gear box. The engines will return and be mated with the planes, which will have undergone some modifications with the newly mated engines.
- The remaining photos are of the light and medium assembly line. During the date of the visit (September 28, 2012), there were planes being built for Vietnam, France, Kazakhstan and Egypt. The Vietnamese planes were being final assembled from major sections provided by Indonesia. Indonesia is a key partner of Airbus Military and a legacy partner of CASA.