Here at the Paris Air Show, helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca announced three contracts for its support-by-the-hour (SBH) scheme.
Australian-based Jayrow Helicopters signed an agreement for an SBH Mission Offshore Prime contract for four Arriel 1S1 engines, which power two Sikorsky
S-76A++ helicopters. In Brazil, Ocean Explorer inked an SBH Mission Privilege contract for two Arriel 2C2s, which equip one Eurocopter EC 155.
In Spain, the traffic monitoring authority signed an SBH contract for its all-Turbomeca fleet of engines. These are 18 Arrius 1As (powering Eurocopter AS 355 Ecureuil twins) and eight Arrius 2Fs (powering EC 120 Colibri singles).
As Turbomeca CEO Emeric d’Arcimoles pointed out, the company has been evolving at a fast pace since the last Paris Air Show. “We now control our workload/capacity ratio,” he told Aviation International News. For example, the Bordes, southwest France factory has adopted production methods from the automotive industry. This should continue with moving to a new factory, dubbed Eole, in 2009.
Meanwhile, the production capacity of the Grand Prairie, Texas factory has been doubled. Another factory will be built in Monroe, North Carolina, which will produce engine parts for the U.S. Army’s UH145.
Implementing a new strategy, Turbomeca will have one turboshaft engine demonstrator in each power segment. “Therefore, technologies should be ready every time a helicopter maker requests a quick engine development,” d’Arcimoles explained. This might have avoided Turbomeca losing out to Pratt & Whitney Canada on the Eurocopter EC 175 competition.
This year, the Safran subsidiary is boosting its helicopter turboshaft production by 33 percent, to 1,300 engines. Support sales are expected to increase by 18 percent. Some 300 newly hired employees (including replacements and additions) should join the French sites in 2007.