HAI Convention News

Who is Safran, Anyway?

 - February 13, 2012, 7:40 PM

Peter Lengyel, president and CEO of Safran USA, understands why most Americans aren’t familiar with his company. After all, it is only six years old. But Safran is a huge global company with 57,000 employees worldwide and a global presence, with products aviation-industry people and air travelers probably use, one way or another, almost every day.

“We are the merger of Snecma and Sagem, which occurred in 2005. Sagem is avionics and optronics and Snecma is the largest propulsion company in the world,” said Lengyel, at the Safran display (Booth No. 7517).

The merger that is Safran produced a potent aerospace company, which in the U.S. alone, participates in joint ventures with 31 different companies and employs 7,000 workers. “The number of people we employ in the U.S. has doubled in just three years, and we are actively hiring engineers right now to continue growing,” said Lengyel.

With subsidiaries in aerospace, defense and security, you would think that Safran was extremely diverse in its products, and it is. However, there is one strong commonality that ties every subsidiary together, Lengyel told AIN.

“We are an engineering company,” he said. “We spend 11 percent of our annual revenues on research and development. This is because we are a tier-one supplier our customers depend on to supply them with the best technology available.”

So, where can you find Safran products in the U.S.?

“If you flew to the conference, you probably flew here on [an aircraft powered by] our engines,” said Lengyel. “Every 2.5 seconds an aircraft with our CFM engines, Labinal wiring or Messier-Buggati-Dowty landing gear takes off or lands somewhere.”

Safran is in 22 states in 58 locations. In Seattle it provides services and equipment to Boeing. In the Dallas/Ft. Worth area it includes Turbomeca and Sagem for civil and military aviation, Labinal aerospace for wiring harnesses and designs. Microturbo builds small propulsion units, APUs (such as the newly introduced e-APU60 on the AgustaWestland AW189), targets and drones. Messier-Buggati-Dowty is located near Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

And in the northeastern U.S. the company’s security holdings include MorphoTrak biometrics and fingerprint analysis; Morpho Detection, Inc., provides TSA baggage screening; while Morpho Trust USA creates secure biometric-protected identification used by 45 of 50 states to create biometric protected drivers’ licenses.

At Heli-Expo 2012, Safran is touting Turbomeca, which Lengyel calls the most prolific helicopter engine in the world today. He is also particularly proud of Safran’s contribution to the U.S. Army’s light, utility helicopter. Sagem Avionics is involved in the avionics, while Labinal is doing the wiring on it (and the V-22).

Safran expects to break ground on a new factory in New Hampshire this spring, which will be providing the fan blades for the LEAP engine. The new plant will have 400 new employees to produce these blades.

“We are already in production in a temporary facility there,” Lengyel said. “I’m particularly proud of the partnership we’ve developed with the community colleges in the region. We are providing them with training modules to help educate their students, with whom we hope to staff the factory.”

“Our long-term vision here in the U.S. is to grow. Our growth is a strong commitment to the U.S. market,” Lengyel concluded.