NBAA Convention News

Safran Flexes Global Muscle

 - October 29, 2012, 8:10 PM

Safran USA (Booth No. 2579) is flexing some considerable muscle here at the convention, showing a diverse role in the business aircraft market that stretches from nose to tail and wingtip to wingtip. Among the aviation products available from this global conglomerate are turbofan engines, nacelles, thrust reversers, landing gear, wheels and brakes, auxiliary power units, avionics, navigation systems, flight controls and wiring.

“Safran [the French word for a ship’s rudder] is one of the few suppliers with such a wide coverage for business aircraft manufacturers, and our strategy is to remain a leader through continued innovation in such areas as electric aircraft and integrated propulsion systems,” said president and CEO Peter Lengyel.

Safran Group’s Snecma division partners with General Electric in manufacture of the CFM56 turbofan, and Snecma is also developing the Leap engine series, an entirely new baseline turbofan already selected to power the next generation of single-aisle commercial jets from which the Boeing Business Jet and the Airbus ACJ320 are derived.

Snecma’s Silvercrest, a 9,500- to 12,000-pound-thrust engine, has already been selected by Cessna for its Citation Longitude business jet.

Safran is also known for landing gear, wheels and brakes through its Messier-Bugatti-Dowty operation. The Labinal company is an electrical wiring and integrated solutions supplier. Safran’s Aircelle is engaged in producing engine nacelles and thrust reversers. According to Lengyel, the company is playing an ever greater role in the complete nacelle package, from design and production to supply and support. Aircelle is a major supplier for 10 business jets manufactured by four of the major OEMs. Aircelle is also pioneering a new generation of integrated propulsion systems through its Nexcelle joint venture with GE’s Middle River Aircraft Systems (MRAS). One of the initial customers includes Bombardier for its Global 7000 and Global 8000, both of which will be powered by the GE Passport engine.

SMA Engines, another Safran division, marked a commercial breakthrough this year when Cessna selected its SR305-230E diesel engine to power the Turbo Skylane JT-A. The engine operates on jet-A, jet-A1, TS-1 and No. 3 fuel and is rated at 230 horsepower.

Safran’s Sagem Avionics and Sagem Electronics maintain a considerable presence in flight controls, electronics, avionics, maintenance-assistance systems and electronic control units for integrated landing systems and engines. The companies are developing a fourth-generation full-authority digital engine control (Fadec) in a joint venture with BAE Systems for the GE Passport and Snecma Silvercrest engines.

Fans, valves, air filters, hoses, heat exchangers, flow sensors, pressure sensors and related products from Safran’s Technofan division are flying on aircraft by Bombardier, Cessna and Dassault, to mention a few. Further, the manufacture and repair of ram-air turbines, air-driven generators and ice detectors for business aircraft is handled by Safran’s Aerosource.

Safran USA has been particularly successful, starting with just under 3,000 employees several years ago and growing to nearly 7,000 workers fully or partially involved in aviation in 22 states in 58 locations.