Safran Helicopter Engines (formerly Turbomeca) has been hit by the helicopter market crisis, reaching a low point in turnover and production.
Cyrille Poetsch, EVP of programs, estimates between 700 and 800 new engines will be produced this year, compared to a record number of 1,300 in 2008. More bad news comes from support activities, which are affected by the offshore decline. Yet the French company expects a market recovery within two years.
Meanwhile, the company is ramping up development, with four new engines having flown on new applications this year. The Arrano on Airbus Helicopters’ new H160 flew in January, followed in April by the Ardiden 3G on Kamov’s Ka62, the Arriel 2H on China’s AC312E in July and the Ardiden 1U on HAL’s Light Utility Helicopter.
China’s AC352/WZ16 is expected to take off later this year. The company will seek Chinese certification for the WZ16.
The first Arrius 2R engine assembled in the U.S. for the new Bell Helicopter 505 Jet Ranger X has been delivered Sept. 8. Certified in December 2015, the engine began assembly at the company’s headquarters in Bordes, France.
The engine manufacturer’s activities on high-power engines are also gaining momentum. The launch of the HPE family (2,500-3,000 shp) forms part a strategy that began with the 2013 acquisition of Rolls-Royce’s entire RTM322 program. The RTM322 is now integrated with Safran’s supply chain and production lines. The next step is testing of the technology demonstrator Tech 3000, which will help develop the new family of engines based on compressor technologies.