FARNBOROUGH — EuroProp International (EPI), the consortium that builds the turboprop engine for the airlifter, says it is preparing for the ramp up in production of the aircraft in 2015 and the arrival of new customers.
The company — a syndicate of Germany’s MTU, France’s, Spain’s ITP and — has delivered all the engines needed for Airbus Defense and Space’s production schedule of 11 aircraft this year, and is currently testing the engines destined for use on aircraft MSN22.
The engines fitted to the operational fleet of three A400Ms in service with the French and Turkish Air Forces have completed around 2,000 flight hours so far.
"We are very pleased with the performance of the engines…and our partner companies, and we are continuing to ramp up during the second half of this year," said Ian Crawford, president of EPI, speaking at the Farnborough air show. Crawford said he was looking forward to welcoming three new A400M customers into the fold over the next 12 months, including the U.K., Germany and the first export customer, Malaysia.
Crawford said so far there had been no engine or module changes on any of the aircraft in service, and that customer feedback suggested high satisfaction for the engine.
The company has receivedcertification for two changes to engine modules, which will need to be retrofitted to the existing fleet. The low-pressure turbine casing, previously made from steel, has been re-manufactured with a new, nickel-based alloy to deal with higher-than-expected temperatures experienced during flight-testing. This was certified by EASA earlier this year and MSN18, the first aircraft for Germany, would be the first to receive the upgrade. EASA certification also has been received for modifications made to the power gearbox, which improves that module’s life. The first British A400M, MSN15, will be the first to benefit from this modification when it is delivered in September.
The company is now working towards the development of support contracts to each country, developing the various support layers, Maintenance Layer 1 (ML1) covers line maintenance of the engine, while ML2 covers the removal and testing of engine modules, which is likely to be done internally by the air arms themselves. ML3 covers the disassembly and MRO of the components in the modules by the engine partners themselves. France is already developing an ML2 capability in Bordeaux, other countries are likely to follow France’s example.