The first four engine pylons for the A400M military transporter were revealed today at Airbusâ€™ Toulouse-St Eloi site during a ceremony attended by employees, suppliers and customer OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de CoopÃ©ration en MatiÃ¨re d'Armement).
The pylons, which will support the A400Mâ€™s TP400-D6 turboprop engines, were produced at St Eloi and are the worldâ€™s first to be made completely of titanium. Their large front frame is designed to withstand the effects of the extreme torque and prop-wash generated by the powerful engines and propellers.
All four pylons are now scheduled to be transported in two trucks from St Eloi to Tablada, Spain at the end of February. Here they will be fitted with pipes, harnesses and other equipment, and mechanical tests will also be performed to verify the interfaces between the pylons and engine cowlings. From Tablada, they will be transported to the final assembly line (FAL) in Seville, Spain in the second quarter of this year.
Meanwhile, other components and sections of the aircraft are taking shape across sites.
On 27 January the first A400M cargo door was delivered from Augsburg, Germany to Bremen, Germany. It will soon be installed on the test fuselage together with the ramp, which Sogerma will deliver. The whole sub-assembly will then be shipped to Getafe, Spain for static tests, including bending and pressure tests.
The horizontal tail plane, was delivered to the FAL in late December 2006 from Tablada to the FALâ€™s test facilities where it is undergoing a series of tests before being installed on the first aircraft.
December also saw the first rudder delivered to Stade, Germany from its assembly site in Nantes, France. The seven metre high rudder, which features composite panels, is now being assembled with the vertical tail plane at Stade ahead of delivery to the FAL.
Finally, at Saint-Nazaire, France a number of electrical harnesses and insulation materials have been installed in the first A400M nose fuselage structure.