Safran Helicopter Engines made the first ground run of its Tech TP turboprop technology demonstrator engine on June 12 at its facility in Tarnos, France. The Tech TP is based on the Ardiden 3 turboshaft and was developed as part of the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.
Tech TP aims to validate new technologies to deliver an engine that is 15 percent more fuel efficient and emits fewer CO2 emissions than current engines while producing between 1,700 shp and 2,000 shp. It builds on the design of the EASA-certified Ardiden 3C and 3G engines that have completed more than 10,000 hours of testing. The 3G powers the Russian Kamov Ka-62, while the 3C/WZ16 powers the Chinese Avicopter AC352.
More than 250 Ardiden 1 engines are already in service and have flown more than 200,000 hours in Indian airframes, including the HAL Dhruv, Light Combat Helicopter, and Light Utility Helicopter.
Testing of the demonstrator engine will include integration of the gas generator, nacelle, air intake, and propeller. It will also be used to evaluate the case for more electric technologies, including the accessory gearbox and propeller controller components.
Tech TP is slated eventually to be matured to the new “European Turboprop Engine.” The new engine will offer “increased performance, competitive operating costs, and low environmental footprint,” according to Didier Nicoud, Safran Helicopter Engines executive v-p of engineering.
More than 20 European partners are contributing to the Tech TP program. They include MT-Propeller (Germany); VKI and Cenaero (Belgium); DMP Egile (Spain); Onera, ECL, Cerfacs, Akira Mecaturbines, Akira Technologies, SKF, Hutchinson, VibraTec, Thiot Ingeniere, EXA, Altran, Power Electronics, Safran Transmission Systems, and Safran Systems Aerostructures (France); Piaggio (Italy); Jihostroj, Avia Propellers, and VZLU (Czech Republic); University of Nottingham, NEMA, HS Marston (UK); and NLR (Netherlands).