PARIS — Europrop International (EPI) and Airbus Military will reach agreement over compensation on engine-related delays with the A400M airlifter “within weeks” following progress between partner nations and management agency Occar toward a finalized, redefined program, a senior official says.

Although financial terms of the agreement have yet to be officially disclosed, the two parties are thought to be negotiating a deal that offers a compromise between the €500 million ($698 million) reportedly sought by Airbus Military from EPI, and €425 million apparently wanted from Airbus by the engine maker. Settlement over the dispute, centered on development delays and blunders related to TP400-D6 engine control software certification, has been affected by delays in redefining the overarching program, says former EPI Executive Vice President Jacques Desclaux.

“Negotiations were a little bit slowed down by the fact there was no agreement at the top level,” says Desclaux, who was appointed in January as chairman and chief executive of PowerJet, the Snecma and NPO Saturn commercial engine joint venture. Broad terms of the revised A400M program were agreed to in January between the nations and Occar (the European Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation), and “that process is close to the end,” Desclaux says, adding that “we are already working to the revised agreement.” Finalization of the financial deal with Airbus will come “within a few weeks,” he adds.

Full-authority digital engine control (Fadec) software with full functionality is now flying on two of the four development aircraft, with software and A400M civil certification planned for the end of 2011. Formal approval of the civil certification of the engine is also due “within weeks” after the submission of around 200 reports to the European Aviation Safety Agency, Desclaux says. Although originally expected as early as last September, the final path to certification has been complicated by the need to show means of compliance for a large turboprop. The process, as developed for commercial turbofans, needed adapting and was “not well tuned for turboprops.” Despite this, Desclaux says the revised process does not “change anything to the engine or its operation.”

The 11,000-shp TP400-D6 is performing well in flight tests and helping Airbus achieve a “high rate” of testing, Desclaux says. “At the aircraft level, Airbus is still confident of certification by the end of the year,” he adds. “From a fleet support perspective, we’re having very few events in terms of engine incidents.” However, Desclaux reveals that two engines have had to be removed owing to foreign object damage sustained during flight testing — one due to debris ingestion while operating on a non-prepared runway and the other due to a probable bird strike. “Nothing failed in the engine, and each time they were able to safely shut down the engine in a controlled way,” he says.

EPI, which consists of partners ITP Group, MTU Aero Engines, Rolls-Royce and Snecma, expects to begin deliveries of initial production TP400s in April 2012, with two shipsets due for delivery by the end of the year. The number will double in 2013 as Airbus slowly ramps up A400M production. Taking lessons learned from the A380, the initial rate increase will be deliberately modest to enable any changes discovered during flight tests to be incorporated early. The rate increase will be more dramatic from 2014 onward, Desclaux adds.