French rotorcraft engine manufacturer Turbomeca believes its Arrius 2B2+ powerplant is poised to aggressively take market share from rival Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW206B2 turboshaft on the Airbus Helicopters H135.
Historically the two have split the market fairly evenly on the light-twin platform. However, last year Turbomeca claimed around 56% of deliveries and it believes it can far exceed that level in future.
“With the efforts we are putting in we are clearly targeting something like 70% within a two-year timeframe,” says Jean-François Sauer, vice-president Arrius and Arriel programmes at the Bordes-based company.
He points to the recent defection of Norwegian emergency medical services operator Norsk Luftambulanse away from P&WC for an initial three examples of the H135.
Its existing fleet of 12 H135s are all equipped with P&WC engines, and Sauer hopes that the switch will see it win the engine selection on Norsk Luftambulanse’s remaining 11 optioned H135s.
Sauer believes that three factors are in its favour. First, as was the case with Norsk Luftambulanse, it is able to offer a combined support package for the Arriel 2E engines that power the larger H145.
Turbomeca has also been conducting a complete overhaul of its maintenance offering as a response to poor customer feedback.
“Turbomeca was not really famous for its support,” says Sauer. “But we have put huge efforts into improving this and people are considering us again.”
In addition, the 2B2+ provides a 6% power improvement over the previous iteration of the Arrius, says Sauer.
Meanwhile, Turbomeca is poised to begin delivering the first serial Arrius 2R engines to Bell Helicopter for its 505 Jet Ranger X.
That milestone is scheduled to take place in the second half of August, says Sauer, with 15 units of the 504shp (376kW) turboshaft to arrive at Bell’s new Lafayette, Louisiana assembly line this year.
Ramp-up on the programme is aggressive: by 2018 Turbomeca will be producing around 200 Arrius 2Rs per year, says Sauer.
In fact, combined with variants of the same model supplied for other rotorcraft – around 50-70 per year will be accounted for by the 2B2+ – by the end of the decade Turbomeca will be building as many as 300 Arrius engines per year, he says.