The delivery of the new A400M military transport to the French air force was celebrated during official ceremonies organized by Airbus this morning in Seville, then at the French air force base in Orléans-Bricy this afternoon. These ceremonies offered an excellent opportunity for Safran to spotlight the many cutting-edge technologies it developed for this new-generation airlifter.
The A400M is powered by four TP400 turboprop engines, each developing 11,600 shaft horsepower. The engine is designed and produced by Europrop International GmbH (EPI), a consortium of the four leading European engine manufacturers: Safran (France), Rolls-Royce (U.K.), Industria de Turbo Propulsores (ITP) (Spain) and MTU Aero Engines (Germany). Safran also supplied the air starter, cooling and lubrication equipment for the engine, along with the electronic control unit and the power transmission.
The 12-wheel landing gear ensures that the airplane’s weight is equally distributed on the ground, while the shock absorbers guarantee minimum ground clearance at any cargo weight to ensure the aircraft’s integrity under all conditions. Safran also supplies the electromechanical systems ensuring the backup opening and closing of the landing gear doors.
Safran designs and manufactures the wiring harnesses for the A400Ms nose section. The harnesses, representing nearly one hundred cable bundles and some 17,000 connections, primarily call on aluminum cable technology to meet the A400M’s weight target. In addition, Safran supplies the aircraft’s electrical generation system in partnership with Thales.
The hybrid inertial/GPS navigation system developed by Safran supports the A400M’s broad mission capability, from in-flight refueling to humanitarian rescue, including under very harsh conditions (very-low-altitude flights with no visibility, approaches to unprepared airfields without landing aids, etc.).
The maintenance-aid systems supplied by Safran record all key operating parameters (airspeed, engine temperature, etc.), enabling the detection and prevention of failures in the power supply system, pneumatic system, engines, etc. These systems are the backbone of highly effective preventive maintenance for the A400M.
Speaking at the delivery ceremony, Safran Chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Herteman said: "Safran is very proud of our contribution to the success of the A400M, which is the culmination of an unprecedented joint European effort that started back in 2001. The plane’s TP400 engine is the most powerful turboprop ever developed in the West."
A total of 174 A400M transports have been ordered to date by eight countries (Germany, Belgium Spain, France, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Turkey). One of the A400M’s outstanding qualities is that it is certified to both civil and military standards. Depending on its assigned mission, the aircraft can carry up to 37 metric tons of cargo or 116 passengers, or it can be configured in a mixed passenger/cargo layout.
Source: Safran S.A. (Paris: SAF.PA)
Date: Oct 1, 2013