April 16, 2008 (by Jonathan Somerville) - Well known C-130 W2 XV-208 has a long history at Boscombe Down as a weather research aircraft. Over the years it was heavily modified to carry such equipment. It has now been unmodified and become an engine test bed for the A400M TP400-D6 engine.
Beginning in December 2004, when Marshall Aerospace won the contract to modify the test bed for the new A400M engine, it led to a lengthy process to mount it on a C-130. Starting with an already heavily modified aircraft, it was returned back to, for the most part a normal C-130 Hercules. In late 2007 the engine was installed on C-130 XV208 in the number two location. Much work was done to strengthen the airframe as the new TP400 engine produces higher torque than a standard engine. The TP400 is rated at 10,690 shaft horsepower per engine. Added to this is a much larger propeller at 5.3 meter diameter propeller with eight blades.
The engine is made by Europrop, a joint company involving four other engine manufacturers. They include Rolls Royce of the Britian, MTU Aero Engines of Germany, Snecma of France and Industria de Turbo Propulsores of Spain. The engine was first run on October 28, 2005 and then run for the first time with the propeller on February 28, 2006.
At this time the aircraft is almost ready for taxi and early test flights with the new engine.