Mixed results for Safran’s subsidiaries last year and an internal investigation into accounting irregularities last December that resulted in top executive changes have again raised the question of the wisdom of the controversial merger of leading French aerospace and engine and equipment manufacturing group Snecma and telephone and defense communications group Sagem.
The merger of two small avionics firms, Sfim and Arnav, has led to the creation of Sagem Avionics, a Grand Prairie, Texas-based company with about 50 employees and a line of specialty equipment ranging from autopilots and flight-data acquisition units to satcom systems and glass displays for experimental-category aircraft.
Snecma, the leading French aerospace engine and equipment-manufacturing group is no more. A series of moves has transformed it from the government-controlled producer of the successful CFM aircraft engines with General Electric of the U.S. into a private undertaking that last month merged with telecommunications group Sagem to form Safran.
France’s beleaguered President Jacques Chirac opened the 46th Paris Air Show here at Le Bourget yesterday. While his visit is intended primarily to cheerlead the country’s own aerospace and defense industry, he has lately proved to be a best friend to foreign exhibitors, too.
The Stemme S10 motor glider in the Dubai 2005 static park was delivered to its owner in Saudi Arabia only recently but he readily agreed to bring it to the show to allow visitors to see an aircraft with a remarkable performance. Although powered by a single Rotax engine driving a retractable two-blade propeller, the S10 can climb to high altitudes and glide for long distances.
France’s Safran is here at the Dubai airshow for the first time since engine maker Snecma and electronics specialist Sagem merged. The group also includes Snecma’s landing gear and brake division.
Sichuan Snecma Aero-engine Maintenance Co. (SSAMC), a joint venture between Snecma Services, Air China and Willis Lease Finance Corp., has signed an exclusive 20-year maintenance, repair and overhaul agreement to service CFM56-5B and -7B engines powering Air China’s growing fleet of 160 aircraft.
Sagem Défense Sécurité will supply avionics for the 322 UH-145 helicopters (plus 30 options) selected by the U.S. Army on June 30. Subsidiary Sagem Avionics will handle equipment integration, final assembly and product support from its facility in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Safran (Hall 4 Stand B12), the offspring of last year’s somewhat surprising merger of French engine giant Snecma and communications group Sagem, claims to have found its feet quickly and to be having a boom year. Sales in 2005 showed increases for all business areas of the new group, except communications.
Sagem Avionics and General Dynamics Aviation Services are partnering on a glass-panel cockpit upgrade for Part 25 jets including the Challenger 600 and 601, Falcon 20 and 50, Gulfstream II and III, and Hawker 700 and 800. The upgrade comprises five 10.4-inch-diagonal displays, which include a PFD and MFD in front of each pilot with an EICAS display in the center.