Eurocopter’s in-development successor to the AS365/EC155 Dauphin—the X4—took another step toward entering service in 2017, with the selection of Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) as a powerplant option, along with Turbomeca's TM800. The PW210E will power the next-generation airframe, which Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling has said would “completely change the way of flying.”
At the Paris Air Show in June 2011, Bertling announced that the launch of the X4 program, but did not reveal many details about the helicopter, although an artist’s rendering of the cockpit was released by equipment and engine manufacturer, Safran. Another piece of the X4 puzzle has come into place with the announcement of the 1,000-shp class PW210E. FAA certified the PW210S at the end of last year for the Sikorsky S-76D and the PW210A is currently the engine of choice for the AgustaWestland AW169. The X4 is expected to compete with the AW169 and S-76D.
According to Richard Dussault, vice president of marketing for Pratt & Whitney Canada, the PW210E “will retain the heritage of the PW210 family” while allowing for some “physical changes to the engines” to meet X4 specifications. The PW210 is “a highly integrated engine with its FADEC control system, so many of the requirements are about engine/aircraft integration,” Dussault said. In addition to the mechanical integration of the engine, P&WC will adjust for control system requirements and engine control avionics.
As part of this new installation, P&WC will pursue a complete re-certification program for the PW210E, along with block tests. Some information will come from the results of earlier PW210A and S testing, Dussault added. There will be “three significant tests” the PW210E will face: a block test, initial maintenance interval testing and integration testing of the control systems. Due to the high-tech nature of the engine, integration testing of the control systems will feature heavily during this period.
P&WC will do some testing in-house at its Longueuil, Quebec facility, which contains an engine test cell. “We will also support the program in being able to do some altitude testing of the engine in a facility we operate in Ottawa at the National Research Council,” Dussault explained. Ground testing that simulates the altitude conditions that engines could encounter during flight and verifying engine response for various phases of flight, is a pre-requisite for flight-testing, he added.
The PW210E will undergo altitude testing first, followed by helicopter testing. At that point, the test program shifts over to Eurocopter. “We will assemble the first prototype engine of the 210E, built to Eurocopter specifications, and we will test it in our test cell.” While there is no determined production volume for the PW210E, Dussault points to the PW200 line of engines as a guideline. “We produce upwards of 300 engines per year. A successful program, as we launch more and more variants, will be capable of ramping up and meeting those sort of production volumes.”
During Heli-Expo in February, Turbomeca CEO Olivier Andries said that the 1,100-hp TM800—a development engine the company launched in 2011—will power the X4. He didn’t offer much more details about the TM800 other than to say the 800-kW engine “will bring lower operating costs” versus current-generation engines. Turbomeca is a subsidiary of Safran Group.
“Like for all new developments we are doing,” Bertling said on Tuesday, “there will be a two-engine strategy. In the end, a competitive situation is good for the customer. Most of our customers would like to have the choice.”
Related: Engine News