The Airbus Military A400M has cleared its first certification hurdle, with the European Aviation Safety Agency issuing a restricted type certificate for the military airlifter.

Airbus is pursuing both civil and military certification of the four-engine turboprop, which is due to be delivered to the French air force next year.

Full type certification is due by midyear, Airbus Military says, and the aircraft still requires completion of 300 hr. of function and reliability flight tests. The next milestone is for Initial Operating Clearance before year’s end.

Meanwhile, even as flight hours increase, Airbus Military has signaled continuing frustration with the TP400D turboprop, noting that the five-aircraft fleet has now logged more than 3,100 hr. “despite continued engine challenges.”