Paris Air Show

Paris 2011: Turbomeca Hones Its Helicopter Turboshaft Engines

 - June 23, 2011, 1:00 AM

Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca (Hall 2A A232) is busy developing improved models for new Eurocopter variants in the light-single and medium-twin helicopter categories, as well as an engine family that will power China’s and Russia’s forays in medium twins.

The new Arriel 2+ family has three versions–2E, 2D and 2N–Philippe Couteaux, vice president and general manager, airframers, explained. The newer engines feature an improved axial compressor and single-crystal, high-pressure turbine blades. On the digital side, a dual-channel Fadec is accompanied by a data recorder that provides for preventive maintenance.

On the Eurocopter EC145 T2 light twin, the Arriel 2E is replacing the EC145’s Arriel 1E2. The newer engine provides 26 percent more takeoff power, at 890 shp. Couteaux said the time between overhaul (TBO)–currently 3,000 hours–would increase to 4,000 flight hours and to 6,000 hours “when mature.” Turbomeca intends to cut direct maintenance cost (DMC) byb10 percent. The Fadec will make a major difference, as the 1E2 was lacking such a sophisticated engine control. Certification is slated for next year.

For the AS350 B3e Ecureuil light single, the Arriel 2D (replacing the Ecureuil B3’s Arriel 2B1) was certified in May. This time, power is increased by 12 percent, to 950 shp. Again, DMC is reduced by 10 percent and TBO increased to 4,000 hours and 6,000 hours, eventually.

The company also said the Arriel 2N for the AS365 N3e Dauphin (which supersedes the Dauphin N3’s 2C) is to be certified in 2013. DMC is targeted to improve by 10 percent. TBO should increase to 3,500 flight hours. However, Turbomeca and Eurocopter have not settled on a precise power level yet, although it is clear it will be greater than the 2C’s 961 shp.

In the Ardiden 3 family–1,800-shp class–Turbomeca has received a firm order for 40 Ardiden 3Gs to power Kamov Ka-62 twins. The order is part of a broader contract for 308 engines. Deliveries will spread over two years, starting late in 2012. Engine certification is scheduled for 2014.

For the Avicopter AC352 medium twin–the Chinese version of the jointly developed Eurocopter EC175–the Ardiden 3C version will also have a local designation, the WZ-16. The AC352 is being developed jointly by Avic Engine’s Dongan (compressor) and Turbomeca (combustor and high-pressure turbine). The Chinese civil aviation authority is expected to certify the engine in 2013.

The main differences between the in-service Ardiden 1 and the in-development Ardiden 3 lies in the larger size of the latter and the aerodynamics of the compressor and turbine. As a result, fuel consumption is promised to be 10 to15 percent below that of current engines in the same category (namely, Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6C-67). Turbomeca also anticipates lower pollutant emissions and “a very high level” of reliability.