The first Airbus A400M, numbered MSN1 has left the Final Assembly Line (FAL) at the global planemaker’s Seville facility in Spain.
Airbus says the transport, of which South Africa has ordered eight, was Wednesday moved to an outdoors ground test station.
“This follows satisfactory completion of all indoor ground testing on station 35,” the company says in an overnight media release.
“Those included verification and checks of all the systems and of the modifications and improvements that were embodied into MSN1 over the past months to make it a more mature aircraft at first flight.s
The €20 billion programme is Europe`s most expensive defence project to date.
A consortium of European states, South Africa and Malaysia have ordered 92 of the aircrafts. The South African Defence Department has previously said the country will pay about R7.5 billion for eight aircrafts.
“Trials to be performed on the first outdoor station (station 30) include fuel tests, pressurisation tests, as well as navigation and communication checks, and will last approximately two weeks.
“Subsequently, the aircraft will receive its engines and the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). Actually, all four engines have already been assembled, and are fitted with their propellers, awaiting installation of the final FADEC engine software. They are to be mounted onto the aircraft in CW 38,” Airbus adds.
“Pending installation of the engines, the aircraft is fitted with dummy engines to simulate the weight in the wings and to allow for proper fuel calibration tests (on station 30).”
Airbus says first flight “is to take place around the turn of the year.”
Pic: Airbus A400m