Driven by the ambition to become world’s third largest turboshaft engine manufacturer after General Electric and Pratt & Whitney, France’s Turbomeca is pressing to establish a Russian partnership to develop and coproduce a new 3,000-shp engine based on the existing RTM322 powerplant and using the new Tech3000 core.
Bell Helicopter executives told AIN that the company will be pursuing initial type certification of its new 505 Jet Ranger X light single from Transport Canada and will conduct prototype assembly and flight-testing of the aircraft from its plant in Mirabel, Quebec. First flight is expected later this year.
Turbomeca is negotiating with Russia’s United Engine Corp (Russian acronym ODK) to co-develop a new 3,000-shp engine based on the RTM322, but using the new Tech3000 core. The Safran subsidiary has already established a strong presence in Russia, with 200 engines in service and new ones selected to power the Ka-62 and Ka-226 helicopters.
Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services North America (HS-NA) has signed a three-year MRO support contract with Quebec, Calif.-headquartered Optima Aero to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul for the latter’s PT6T-series engines.
Optima Aero offers a package for the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T, PT6B and PW200 and Turbomeca Arriel 2 consisting of parts, technical expertise and component and engine exchanges.
The Turbomeca Arrius 2R turboshaft made its first ground run on April 29 at the company’s test facility in Bordes, France. The derivative engine, which is in the 500-shp class, will power the in-development Bell 505 Jet Ranger X light single. The Arrius 2R features Fadec and a 3,000-hour time between overhaul. Certification is expected late next year.
With improved customer service finding new emphasis in many boardrooms–and aftermarket support becoming a growing revenue source–Safran subsidiaries Turbomeca and Sagem Avionics recently unveiled plans that highlight the roles technology can and will play in delivering support services.
The EASA certified the Airbus Helicopters EC145T2, an upgraded version of the light twin with new engines and a shrouded tail rotor, late last week. The approval covers the helicopter’s full range of capabilities, the company said, including single-pilot, IFR, Category A takeoff and night-vision-goggles operations.
The certification comes a few months later than expected, delayed by the need to solve an aerodynamic issue in sideways flight. The Helionix avionics suite, developed in-house and featuring a four-axis autopilot, also contributed to the delay.
Safran Turbomeca and Avic Dong’an announced on March 26 an initial order for 120 WZ16/Ardiden 3C turboshaft engines that will power the Avic AC352 helicopter, the Chinese version of the Airbus Helicopters EC175. Certification of the engine by Chinese aviation authorities is expected at the end of 2015. Safran Turbomeca and Avic Dong’an launched the joint project to develop, produce and support the engine in 2008. Based on the success of this cross-border partnership, the two companies also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to launch a new project for commercial jet engines.
Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca, a Safran company, delivered 984 engines last year and repaired an additional 1,499, resulting in an 8-percent increase in revenues over 2012, chairman and CEO Olivier Andriès reported yesterday at Heli-Expo. He singled out the agreement to supply Arrius 2R engines for Bell Helicopter’s 505 Jet Ranger X, announced at last year’s Paris Air Show, as a milestone for both companies, and an indication of growth to come. “In 75 years of history, the two leading companies the helicopter world had never, ever partnered before.”
Vector Aerospace has announced several new maintenance agreements for its Helicopter Services-North America (HS-NA) subsidiary. The rotorcraft MRO services company has signed a two-year agreement with Brazilian MRO provider Helipark to provide repair and overhaul support for the Turbomeca Arriel 1 and Rolls-Royce M250 engines. Vector plans to open a new 29,000-sq-ft MRO facility in Jacarei, Brazil this year, as part of an initiative to grow its South American customer base.
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