French engine manufacturer Turbomeca is on a mission to increase its worldwide production capacity by 25 percent this year and is shopping for a location on the East Coast to build a U.S. plant, according to a company spokeswoman.
The new plant, of an undisclosed size, is expected to be operational sometime next year. It will be used to support production of the Arriel 1E2 engines that power the U.S. Army’s UH-72A light twin-engine helicopter.
Turbomeca USA currently assembles the Arriel 1E2 engines at its Grand Prairie, Texas factory. It will need to make more than 600 of the engines to support this contract, and according to the company spokeswoman, Turbomeca has doubled its output and number of employees in recent years. That factory will produce more than 500 engines by year’s end, she said.
Turbomeca produced 979 helicopter engines last year, representing a 25-percent increase over its 2005 production numbers.
Turbomeca also announced yesterday that Turbomeca Canada would invest C$1 million to add 3,200 sq ft to its existing tooling facility in Quebec. The facility provides maintenance, repair and overhaul services for the Arriel 1 and Arriel 2 engines and accessories as well as customer support for North American operators.
As part of the company’s growth strategy, CEO Emeric d’Arcimoles is actively trying to engage customers as Turbomeca expands its worldwide operations. In what the spokeswoman called a rather unusual move, he hosted a roundtable discussion here at Heli-Expo that included representatives from Maverick Helicopters of Las Vegas, Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock and the Austrian Motor Touring Club. You can watch part of the discussion and an interview with d’Arcimoles at www.aintv.com.