Airbus Military selects engine for A400M
1 December 2000
It seems the Airbus Military Company (AMC) has bowed to political pressure, rather than commercial wisdom, in selecting the engine for the A400M military transport aircraft. Yesterday it announced that "Following a full and thorough evaluation of the engines on offer, ... the engine selected for the A400M will be the TP400, to be jointly developed and manufactured by a European consortium."http://defence-data.com/storypic/a400ma1.jpg [not image]
At the Farnborough Air Show, following the launch of the A400M. AMC said they were aware of the possibility of a joint bid being made for the lucrative engine portion of the contract. However, AMC were adamant that since the whole concept of the A400M was based on commercial best practice, AMC would reserve the right to select the engine competitively. At that stage there were already two proposals, one from Rolls-Royce and one from Turbo prop International. The development of a joint venture for the A400M engine was thought likely only if there was considerable political pressure to spread workshare.
This was followed by the announcement at the end of August of the formation of a Joint Venture to offer the TP400, a ten thousand shaft-horsepower turbo-prop based on proven technology. It combines the military M88 core with three-shaft civil aero engine architecture.
This engine is the result of a combined effort by Rolls-Royce, Snecma Moteurs, MTU Aero Engines, FiatAvio, Industria de Turbopropulsores and Techspace Aero. The Turkish aero engine industry will also be invited to participate in the partnership.
"We are very satisfied with the outcome of what has been a complex and demanding evaluation," said Alain Flourens, President of Airbus Military. "The most thorough investigation of the three possible alternatives has been concluded and the result provides the A400M with the best possible engine both technically and commercially."
AMC said the TP400 would be the most powerful turbo-prop engine so-far produced in the western world and, combined with the aircraft's aerodynamic qualities, would make the A400M the world's fastest new-generation turbo-prop aircraft.
Commitments for 225 A400M military transport aircraft have been received from the eight launch customer nations: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Contract signature is expected within the first half of 2001 leading to first deliveries in 2007.
Rolls-Royce was offering the BR700-TP, based on the BR 700 engine core and drawing on Allison gearbox experience, using two shafts and a free turbine concept. Turboprop International was offering the M138 based on a SNECMA M88 core and drawing on Fiat Avio experience, using two shafts with an LP compressor.
REF XQQEE XQQAR