Rolls-Royce vows to get ‘our share’ of helo engine market

 - September 28, 2006, 2:38 PM

“We are going to be competitive and we are going to get our share.”

That was the message from Scott Crislip, president of helicopters and small gas turbine engines for Rolls-Royce, as he announced significant new helicopter business here yesterday.

Crislip pointed to strong demand for the company’s Model 250 engine line as well as the growing number of those engines needing ongoing support, including ones installed in the 650 Bell 407s now in service.

He cited other new positive developments as well, including a recent agreement to supply engines to newly recapitalized MD Helicopters, the renewal of an extended service contract covering 300 new FADEC Model 250 engines for the Army’s updated Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior light helicopters and a support agreement for Vancouver Island Helicopter’s Model 250-powered fleet.

Overall, Crislip said Model 250 deliveries will increase to 360 this year from 321 last year. New engines will include improved compressor wheels and be available with dual-channel FADEC. More than 29,000 Model 250 engines have been produced and new opportunities for the engine are opening up in nontraditional helicopter markets including Poland and Russia, as airframers in those and other countries seek to make their aircraft more export attractive by equipping them with Western engines.

Crislip also noted the market potential for other engine designs, including the T-800, developed for the now-canceled U.S. RAH-66 Comanche program, and the AE1107 for an anticipated upgrade of 156 U.S. Marine Corps’ Sikorsky CH-53K heavy lift/troop transports.

The AE1107 powers the USMC’s V-22 Osprey tiltrotor and its engine core is compatible with powerplants for the Air Force’s venerable and ubiquitous C-130 turboprop transports.

“There is life for the T-800 beyond Comanche,” Crislip said. “Bell’s [anticipated] MAPL [modular affordable product line] medium twin has T-800 written all over it,” he said, noting that nothing currently on the market rivals the T-800’s power density and fuel specifics.

Rolls-Royce is either pursuing or has closed other sales for the T-800 and AE1107 engines in markets including Australia, Malaysia, Oman, Thailand and the UK, Crislip said.