Turbomeca’s high-altitude Ardiden gas turbine has made its first run in southwestern France. The company configured the prototype as a pure jet engine but was installing a drive shaft with a view to further tests at press time. First flight is planned for July next year, with EASA certification due in December.
Ardiden was designed to provide the hot-and-high performance qualities required by new-generation medium twins such as the AB139, Ka-62 and EC 175. However, it will be installed first on the twin-engine Dhruv, developed by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) in India (where it is known as Shakti), and in this application it is expected to improve power margins by 10 percent over the current TM333-2B2s.
The company expects Indian civil and military clearance by January 2007, with entry into service with the Indian armed forces planned for two months later. Several hundred Ardiden/Shakti engines will be produced over the next 10 years.