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Turbomeca proposes new Arriel variant to power Korean LAH

French engine manufacturer Turbomeca is proposing a new, locally produced variant of its Arriel turboshaft to power South Korea’s developmental light armed helicopter (LAH).

Representing an evolution of the 4.9t Airbus Helicopters H155, Korea Aerospace Industries intends from 2020 to produce two models based on the same platform – the LAH and a civil utility version (LCH).

Cyrille Poetsch, executive vice-president of programmes at Turbomeca, says discussions with all parties are progressing over the “requirements and performance” of a new Arriel variant for the LAH. He describes an agreement as “close”.

Local production would take place in partnership with South Korean firm Hanwha Techwin.

The H155 is powered by twin 950shp (710kW) Arriel 2C2 engines, and Poetsch says French-built examples will be utilised on the LCH.

Meanwhile, Turbomeca is negotiating with India over the local production requirements for the Arrius 2G1 engines that will equip New Delhi’s future fleet of 197 Kamov Ka-226Ts.

Although the demands of the country’s “Make in India” industrial development policy are “not completely crystal clear”, Poetsch says: “we are discussing with all partners to find the best solution.”

At this stage it is not clear what that will entail, but Poetsch adds: “there will definitely be a footprint in India for assembly of these engines.” This may focus on local assembly, maintenance and overhaul capabilities and test facilities, but could also encompass component production, if required.

However, Poetsch cautions that this needs “to have consistency” with Turbomeca’s wider procurement strategy. It would seek “local partners and suppliers that are able to fulfil the Make in India requirement, but also that can be a long-term supplier” of a particular part or assembly across its entire range, he says.

New Delhi in May 2015 selected the Ka-226T light twin to replace the Hindustan Aeronautics-built Chetak and Cheetah helicopters operated by its air force and army.

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