GE Aviation and Russia's United Engine (UEC) have agreed a tentative partnership to co-operate in the turboprop market for Russian operators.

The US manufacturer says the partners have signed a memorandum to "explore turboprop engine business opportunities" and to "identify areas for synergy for growing a turboprop portfolio in the Russian market".

The deal represents "a unique opportunity for both companies to work together" as the two sides have each a "rich history developing engines", says GE.

GE produces its turboprop H-series engine family – comprising three models spanning the 550-850hp (410-633kW) range – in the Czech capital Prague. The powerplants are updated versions of Czech manufacturer Walter Engines' designs, which GE acquired in 2008.

Prague is also the base for GE's turboprop centre of excellence which is developing the company's new Advanced Turboprop engine.

"With its large, remote areas and high demand for domestic connectivity, the Russian territory is a good environment for turboprop aircraft," GE says.

Describing UEC as a "corporation consolidating engine-building industry in Russia", Vladimir Remek, the Czech Republic's ambassador to Moscow, says the deal is an "important step in the process of enhancing Czech-Russian aviation co-operation".