First A400M delivery suffers fresh slip
Airbus Military has slipped its delivery schedule for Europe's first A400M transport, with the French air force now expected to receive aircraft MSN7 during the second quarter of 2013. It had been contractually due to hand over the aircraft by 31 March 2013.
Looks like the champagne will need to be kept on ice till some time in Apr-Jun 2013.
The functionality and reliability tests were halted when metal chips were found in the engine, and the root cause was determined to be a crack in a cover plate, which is "a mechanical piece isolating elements within the propeller gear box", ergo the slip in the schedule as the fault was found and the cover plates were replaced on all engines.
As for the near future:
While the French air force's first aircraft will be delayed, its manufacturer says it remains on track to hand over a total of four A400Ms next year: three for France and a first example for Turkey. This will follow the type's expected receipt of full civil type certification and initial operating capability status in the first quarter of 2013.
Airbus Military says its fleet of "Grizzly" development aircraft has so far amassed more than 3,700h during almost 1,250 flights. This marks a roughly 300h increase since its most recent figures, released in mid-June.
The company has, meanwhile, yet to disclose when it expects to perform the first flight of aircraft MSN7 from Seville, Spain. A previously-planned target date of 23 August was dropped as a result of the TP400 engine issue.