LHTEC's T800-801 turboshaft is being proposed to Eurocopter as an alternative powerplant for export versions of the Tiger attack helicopter.
"We're in the process of responding to a request for proposals," says Fred Dickens, T800 business development manager for the AlliedSignal/Allison joint venture. "We are not being considered for the Tiger in Europe, but only for export. It's big news from our point of view," adds Dickens.
The move throws the T800 into competition with the indigenous MTU/Rolls-Royce/Turboméca MTR 390 powerplant, for at least four attack helicopter contests. These are thought to include Australia which is seeking bids on up to 24 helicopters, Singapore which wants between 12 and 20 machines, an unspecified number from Japan and a competition in Turkey. The LHTEC engine is also being offered as part of Agusta's competing bids for these contracts with the A129.
Eurocopter confirms that talks are under way, saying that the US engine would be aimed at export markets. It adds that it has no plans to install the engine on a test helicopter until an order is in prospect.
An agreement with Eurocopter would be a significant breakthrough for LHTEC, which has been fighting to get the T800 into production for several attack helicopters over the past few years. The engine has been selected for the Boeing/Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche attack helicopter and, in a related move, is due to enter production in 2000 in support of a programme to re-engine US Army UH-1Hs. The Eurocopter version will be the T800-801 variant which is 17% more powerful than the baseline engine.
Source: Flight International