ZHUHAI, China, Nov 18 (Reuters) - The Airbus A400M military plane could receive safety certification for its vast turbo-prop engines within weeks after coping successfully with simulated bird strikes, a source familiar with the project said.
An ingestion test involved shooting medium-sized dead birds at the plane’s TP400 propeller engines to ensure they could deal with the hazard in flight. The test was passed this week.
“It was the last physical test we had left to do,” the source said, asking not to be named. “Now there are no more technical tests left before certification. It is just a matter of paperwork.”
The test was carried out by Belgian company, Techspace Aero.
The A400M has been plagued by problems in developing the largest turbo-prop engines ever designed in the West.
Certification is an important milestone before the new European troop plane can enter service. European nations last week finalised a funding deal pointing to first delivery in 2013. The aircraft itself has not yet been certified.
The source said the certification process for the engines would be completed in a matter of weeks, “hopefuly this year”.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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