UK engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce has sold its 50% interest in the RTM322 helicopter engine to its partner in the programme, Safran subsidiary Turbomeca, for a consideration of around €293 million ($381 million).
R-R says the move will enable it to concentrate "on the core defence programmes" that will offer "the best future potential".
The 2,680shp- (2,000kW-) class turboshaft engine is an option on the NH Industries NH90, alongside the GE CT7-8F5, and, in UK service, powers the Boeing AH-64 Apache and AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin. The programme's backlog stands at around 260 engines, says R-R.
For its part, Turbomeca says it is looking to develop new engines in the more powerful 3,000shp-plus segment in which it is not present at the moment. The deal allows it greater freedom to pursue this goal, it says.
"Several new heavy helicopter programmes are currently being planned or developed by various aircraft manufacturers worldwide for which Turbomeca will be able to provide future state-of-the-art and efficient propulsion solutions, in particular in the high-power segment," it says.
It has identified a requirement for around 3,500 engines on helicopters in the 8-13t range over the next 15 years "with continuous requirement for higher engine power".
Co-operation between the two companies on the Adour engine, which powers the BAE Systems Hawk and Sepecat Jaguar aircraft, "is unaffected by this agreement", says R-R and it will additionally continue production of its other helicopter engines.
Work is expected to be transferred to Turbomeca over a three-year period, with the deal likely to close later in 2013.