PARIS — Airbus Military is on track to deliver the first A400M airlifter in the second quarter of 2013, following completion of 300 hours of flying function and reliability tests, a key part in the flight test program, the company said Dec. 10.
Technical problems in the engine gearbox forced Airbus to push the first delivery from the first to the second quarter.
“Airbus Military has successfully completed the 300 hours of function and reliability flight-testing of the A400M new generation airlifter which is a key requirement prior to full certification,” the company said.
The function and reliability phase “was the last major requirement prior to full type certification,” the company said in a statement.
Flight testing will continue on the A400M beyond the first delivery as the aircraft undergoes qualification for the different military capability levels under are scheduling of the program.
Airbus Military, an EADS subsidiary, expects full civil type certificate and military initial operating capability in the first quarter.
The aircraft, project named MSN6/Grizzly 5, completed this part of the flight program in 32 days, making 52 flights and visiting 10 airfields.
The tests are intended to show aircraft behavior in “routine and simulated abnormal operations in a wide range of weather and locations,” to cut the risk of malfunctions and failure that increase pilot workload, the company said.
A first delivery of the MSN7 production aircraft is due in the second quarter, with a total four units delivered in 2013.