Airbus Military's A400M military airlifter programme marked a major development milestone with the start-up of flight testing for the aircraft's TP400 engine - the most powerful turboprop powerplant ever built in the Western world.
Going airborne on a C-130K test-bed today, the TP400 was put through its initial paces in several aircraft configurations up to speeds of 165 kts. and an altitude of 8,000 ft.
This marked a first step in opening the test-bed's flight envelope, allowing progress towards the completion of the approximately 50 flight test hours planned to reach sufficient maturity for the engine itself. Once achieved, the TP400 will be cleared for flight on the no. 1 A400M, which is being readied for its maiden takeoff.
The A400M is a new-generation airlifter with more than twice the payload and volume of the older transport aircraft it will replace, and is designed for strategic operations, tactical applications and in-theatre aerial tanker missions.