from the first article: The Year Of The Atlas A400M AIN online by DAVID DONALS
“It’s clear for us that this is the year of the A400M. The aircraft is ready, and it will be the reference for the next 30 years.” These were the words of Airbus Military’s Domingo Ureña-Raso, speaking just prior to the Paris Air Show. The company’s irrepressible CEO had good reasons to be ebullient; with engine problems now (he hopes) consigned to history, series aircraft now flowing down the final assembly line, and the first production aircraft on the verge of being handed over to the initial customer, the A400M Atlas has reached an important milestone in what has been a long and, at times, painful journey.
This year has already been a busy one for the A400M program and the pace of developments is increasing. At the end of last year the functionality and reliability tests were finally completed, with 300 flight hours achieved in five weeks. F&R tests had been interrupted by engine problems, but they have been solved and the engines are ready for entry into service (EIS), the company reports. On March 13 the A400M received its EASA type certificate, and on April 30 Airbus Military released the certificate of design.
France’s First Aircraft
Having built and flown five trials aircraft (MSN1 to 4, and MSN6), Airbus Military achieved a major milestone on March 6 with the first flight of the first production machine, MSN7, which is destined for the French Armée de l’Air. Upon the completion of production acceptance tests it was handed over to the delivery center on April 22. Since then the DGA customer acceptance process has been ongoing, with a mass of documentation to be processed. When AIN spoke to Airbus Military earlier this month, it was unsure of when the aircraft would be delivered but was expecting it to be “within a matter of days or weeks.” The target was at least to get the aircraft formally accepted in time for Bastille Day on July 14.
At the same time, the second French aircraft, MSN8, was preparing for its first flight and handover to the delivery center in early July, for an expected delivery to the French air force in August. MSN9, the first A400M for Turkey, is currently in the flight clearance test phase, with an expected first flight around the end of June. The Turkish air force hopes to take over this aircraft in September.
At the beginning of June, MSN10 and 11 (for France) were both in the flight clearance phase, with MSN10 scheduled to be the fourth and last aircraft to be delivered this year. It will be the first machine delivered to SOC1 standard and is expected to fly around the end of September. MSN12 (France) was in the FAL (final assembly line), its fuselage, empennage and wings essentially complete and ready for mate-up. The wing-set for MSN13 (Turkey) was in the FAL building, having various tests applied. A further 14 machines were at various stages of production, and long-lead items were being procured for MSNs 28 to 32.
With France and Turkey scheduled to have received aircraft by the end of 2013, next year should see the UK and Germany receive their first aircraft (respectively MSN16, in September and MSN18, in November), with Malaysia following in January 2015 (MSN22). A year later Spain is scheduled to receive its first aircraft (MSN46), while Luxembourg (MSN133) and Belgium (MSN136) are due to get their first aircraft in 2019.
Last Edit: Jun 17, 2013 15:45:20 GMT 1 by FabienA380