Safran Turbomeca and Avic Dong’an announced on March 26 an initial order for 120 WZ16/Ardiden 3C turboshaft engines that will power the Avic AC352 helicopter, the Chinese version of the Airbus Helicopters EC175. Certification of the engine by Chinese aviation authorities is expected at the end of 2015. Safran Turbomeca and Avic Dong’an launched the joint project to develop, produce and support the engine in 2008. Based on the success of this cross-border partnership, the two companies also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to launch a new project for commercial jet engines.
Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca (Booth No. 2814) is exhibiting a mockup of its Arrius 2R for the Bell SLS and has a variety of ongoing developments. The company is also considering the launch of a new family of turboshafts to power medium-heavy to heavy rotorcraft. Meanwhile, deliveries are on a downward curve.
Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca announced that the Ardiden 3C/WZ16, which was jointly developed with China’s Avic Engine, made its first run at the French firm’s test facility in Bordes in southwest France. The successful ground test confirmed the turboshaft engine’s aeromechanical behavior and performance, according to Turbomeca.
Indian light helicopter requirements remain subject to a bureaucratic procurement process. The program to acquire 197 reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters (RSH) is close to being scrapped, but Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has inked a contract for 187 light utility helicopters (LUH). HAL is also proposing the LUH for a new Indian Navy requirement. Meanwhile, HAL continues to develop its light combat helicopter (LCH), which first flew in March 2010.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has an ambitious plan to design, develop and manufacture 1,500 helicopters in next 10 years. According to a senior HAL official, "100 of those will be advanced light helicopters (ALH), 300 will be light utility helicopters (LUH) and the rest will be multi-role helicopters (MRH)." HAL will invest $4.4 billion to modernize and expand its capacity to execute current orders worth $22 billion.
HAL on March 29 made the first flight of its light combat helicopter (LCH) prototype, conducting hover tests for around 15 minutes at Bangalore, India. At the controls were group captain Unni Pillai and group captain Hari Nair. Ground runs began in early February.
French helicopter turboshaft manufacturer Turbomeca has completed a $33 million research program that opens the door to a massive collection of usage and maintenance data on helicopter engines. The idea is to have engines sending an exhaustive set of data, after each flight, to a centralized server.
India-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL, here at chalet R1) now has the military utility version of its Dhruv helicopter certified with an IAI-made glass cockpit. “We have delivered 10 to the Indian army,” chief test pilot Chandra Upadhyay told AIN. The Army’s pilots have started training and plan to be ready to operate with the new cockpit within two or three months, he added.
In the latest development of a helicopter program that could best be described as “better late than never,” Indian state-owned aerospace builder Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has delivered its first Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) to the Indian Coast Guard nearly 10 years to the date after the design’s first flight in 1992 (design started eight years before).
Turbomeca, the French helicopter turbine engine manufacturer, predicts the helicopter market overall will experience continued strong growth for the next two years before cooling somewhat. In that span, the company will be working overtime to keep up with demand.
- Page 1