Ratier-Figeac, a business unit of Hamilton Sundstrand, has been awarded a contract worth up to $830 million to develop and produce the propeller system for the Airbus Military A400M airlifter.
Airbus Military anticipates sales of more than 300 of the four- engine transport aircraft.
The A400M is a large military transport being developed for seven European countries. Airbus Military, a subsidiary of European Aeronautic Defence & Space (EADS), is leading the development effort and has orders for 180 aircraft.
‘This is a significant win for our propeller business following several years of work with Airbus Military on this propeller system,’ said Alain Guinaudeau, president of Ratier-Figeac.
According to Michel Ferey, Ratier-Figeac vice president, sales and marketing, ‘The FH386 propellers on this aircraft will operate at a high power rating and will allow the aircraft to fly up to a cruise speed of Mach 0.72. The propellers will be 17.5 feet in diameter and use eight composite blades each, with individual blade replacement capability.’
Ferey added: ‘The close teamwork between Ratier-Figeac and Hamilton Sundstrand over the last 12 years on five propeller programs has demonstrated the capability of this team to develop and produce large propeller systems.’
The A400M is expected to enter service by 2010. It will be powered by four turboprop engines of more than 10,000 horsepower each and is designed to replace ageing military transport planes such as the US-made Hercules C-130 and the Franco-German Transall.