PARIS — A400M engine-maker Europrop International has delivered 16 engines to the Airbus airlifter program and is on track to push that figure up to 40 by the end of the year as the turboprop consortium cranks up production.
With the first of the four-engined A400Ms scheduled to be handed over to the French Air Force in the next few weeks, Europrop President Simon Henley told reporters at a briefing June 19 that the company’s focus is switching from development to production and support.
“The story is our French customer — that’s our focus now,” he said.
Engines for the four aircraft scheduled to be delivered this year are at Airbus Military’s Seville plant, where the A400M is assembled.
France is scheduled to get the first two aircraft with the first Turkish machine due for delivery in September.
Henley said Europrop is well on the way to achieving its target of assembling two engines a week at the Munich production site.
“We have reduced production from 50 days to 35 days and we are routinely producing one engine a week and we are confident of ramping up to two engines a week,” Henley said.
The TP400-D6 Europrop, produced by a consortium of Rolls-Royce, MTU, Snecma and ITP, is the world’s most powerful turboprop engine, producing 11,000 shaft horsepower.
Henley said problems with the gearbox are now behind Europrop. Engine hours stand at 27,000, with 17,000 of those in flight.
“Apart from retrofitting gearbox [redesigns] we have not had to pull a single engine [off the wing],” Henley said.
The Europrop boss said negotiations are underway with British and French governments for a joint support deal, initially involving spares pooling, but eventually moving on to something more ambitious.
Airbus has orders for 174 aircraft from the program’s seven partner nations, plus export customer Malaysia. But those numbers are threatened by potential requirement cuts in Germany, France and Spain. ■
For more Paris Air Show coverage, go to www.defensenews.com/paris.