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Safran powering ahead with helicopter engine programmes

Safran Helicopter Engines is closing in on approval for its two newest powerplants, the Arrano and Aneto, with both programmes due to gain European Aviation Safety Agency certification in the first half of 2019.

Leading the charge is the Arrano, which will power the Airbus Helicopters H160. The 1,100-1,300shp (820-970kW) engine is "close to the end of certification testing", says Bruno Bellanger, executive vice-president programmes at the French propulsion specialist.

"We are working on the paperwork for EASA and most of the certification notes will be submitted by the end of this year," said Bellanger at the Helitech exhibition in Amsterdam on 16 October.

So far, the programme has accumulated 7,500h, including 1,500h of flight time. Certification should be achieved during the first quarter, says Bellanger.

Civil service entry for the H160 is expected in 2020, with a military variant likely to follow in around 2025.

Initial studies are under way involving Airbus Helicopters, the French DGA procurement agency and Safran Helicopter Engines to solidify the requirements for the platform, including the likely need for a power increase, says Bellanger.

Airbus Helicopters lists the Arrano powerplants on the H160 as each producing 1,200shp at take-off. While Bellanger declines to specify by how much power output will need to increase, a rise of around 10% would hit the Arrano's upper limit.

Meanwhile, development work on the Aneto continues, ahead of likely certification in the second quarter of 2019. Its initial application – as the 2,500shp -1K – is on the Leonardo Helicopters AW189K.

So far, test engines have amassed 4,000h of run time, with 105h of flight time. "The performance of the engines during flight testing has been very, very positive," says Bellanger.

Airbus Helicopters' high-speed Racer will use a pair of another Aneto variant, the -1X, which will have a similar power rating to the -1K.

Safran Helicopter Engines is seeking additional applications for the powerplant family, which is designed to produce up to 3,000shp, "including with a manufacturer in the USA", says Bellanger.

He declines to name the airframer, but Sikorsky has been considering a re-engining programme for its GE Aviation CT7-powered S-92, although it had been thought to favour another variant of the existing GE turboshaft.

In addition, Safran Helicopter Engines is waiting for a decision from Airbus Helicopters on its strategy for the heavy segment, says Bellanger.

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