New Engines and More Support from Turbomeca

 - March 6, 2013, 3:45 PM
Olivier Andriès, chairman and CEO of Turbomeca Safran, introduced the Arrano turboshaft engine to the Heli-Expo crowd.

Turboshaft engine manufacturer Turbomeca, a Safran company, reported at Heli-Expo yesterday that it delivered more than 1,000 engines in 2012, a 7-percent increase over the previous year. In addition it posted strong growth (12 percent) in engines under its Support By the Hour (SBH) contracts, yielding $1.5 billion revenue for the year.

“We are now recovering [from the global financial downturn] and seeing moderate but solid growth,” said Olivier Andriès, chairman and CEO of the Bordes, France-based company. “This trend will continue in 2013, when we plan to deliver around 1,100 engines.”

Turbomeca is enhancing its product line through both continuous improvement in current engines and development of future powerplants. In the former category, the Arrius 2B2 Plus, introduced at the press conference, offers 5 percent more takeoff power than the predecessor 2B2, has a new Fadec system designed to optimize reliability and availability and a 4,000-hour time between overhaul (TBO). Designed for applications in the 1,000-shp range, the 2B2 Plus will power Eurocopter’s new EC135T3/P3. The Ardiden 3G, a member of Turbomeca’s newest engine family, aimed at helicopters requiring 1,000 to 2,000 shp, is scheduled have its first flight this summer on its launch platform, Russian Helicopters’ Ka-62. Andriès also highlighted Turbomeca’s TM800, which was formally introduced as the Arrano yesterday afternoon.

Andriès also announced the company is launching a demonstrator project, the Tech 3000 program, to develop an engine for applications in the 3,000 shp range, which the company does not currently have, in anticipation of serving OEMs’ needs for the next decade’s helicopters. “By 2015 we plan to be able to demonstrate the technology,” Andriès said.

The company also introduced an integrated online service plan–Boost (bank of online services and technologies)–providing customers with real-time access to engine data and technical publications, maintenance planning and scheduling and other fleet management benefits.

Sixty percent of Turbomeca’s revenues now come from support, Andriès said, and 16 percent of its engines in operation are under SBH contracts. “Those engines are flying very intensively, so virtually all of our offshore customers are under SBH contracts, virtually all EMS customers are under SBH, and more and more military customers under SBH, so this trend is going to continue, and the percent of engines under SBH will grow over time.”

Underscoring its expanded SBH efforts, the company announced a partnership with helicopter lessor Milestone Aviation Group with a unique SBH arrangement that will allow Milestone’s lessees to better control maintenance costs and maximize the availability of covered aircraft.

The company also signed SBH agreements with Avincis Group, which operates a global fleet of about 350 helicopters, covering 180 engines representing 14 different Turbomeca engine variants, and CHC helicopters, covering 60 Makila 2 engines powering CHC EC225s used in oil and gas operations.

Despite the expansion of its SBH, Andriès said the company would never offer such arrangements for operators of engines manufactured by other OEMs. “You need to have deep knowledge of the products, so we strongly believe only the OEM can do that,” said Andriès. “I don’t see any value proposal for any customer coming from a third party [service provider].”