Luftwaffe-A400M
An Airbus A400M of the Lufwaffe’s 62nd Air Transport Squadron. (David Oliver)

“The German armed forces have decided not to accept two Airbus A400Ms due for delivery,” the Luftwaffe said in a statement on 13 November, adding that “our soldiers’ safety in their daily use of the A400M aircraft is top priority for us.”

The reason given was an example of recurrent technical problems that routine inspections of the propeller assembly of the Luftwaffe’s 31 A400Ms already flying discovered that not all the 24 nuts per propeller have the intended torque load. Failure to detect and correct this could result in severe structural damage to the propeller and shaft of the propeller.

The Luftwaffe stated that additional inspections were recently introduced to check the torque load of the nuts. The time required depended on the results of the checks but as an inspection takes about 30 man-hours, it means that the discovery poses “significant challenges” to 62nd Air Transport Squadron, which operates the A400M.

If these problems are not identified and corrected, they can cause severe structural damage to the propeller and shaft. The Luftwaffe added that inspections are also required of the engine mounts, combustion chambers, and engine flaps, as well as to check for cracks.

by David Oliver