The first Airbus A400M aircraft has begun ground tests before it takes first flight, due before the end of 2009.

The A400M will be used as a military transport aircraft by seven partner nations including the UK, France and Germany.

Ground tests will verify all aircraft systems, powerplant and flight test instrumentation to ensure a safe first flight and an efficient flight test campaign.

The tests will include static tests and engine run-ups during which the interaction between all systems, the powerplant and the aircraft is controlled and validated.

The correct operation of the telemetry system will be checked during the ground test campaign.

Following the static tests, the first taxi runs will begin with low-speed taxis of up to 60kt and brakings.

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High-speed trials will follow the low-speed taxi with a rejected take-off at about 120kt.

Behaviour of all systems including the turboprop engines, the reaction of the aircraft to braking and lateral control will also be checked during the trials.