MTU Turbomeca Rolls-Royce (MTR) is developing an uprated version of the MTR390 turbine ahead of an expected order from Spain for around 20 Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopters.

The consortium has produced the first 20 standard engines for launch customers France and Germany and is close to launching trials on a more powerful version.

Turbomeca vice-president of aero engines François Courtot says there is potential for power growth of around 24%, which is required by the Spanish ministry of defence. MTR expects to receive an order "within weeks" and start development of the growth version, which will require a new compressor with higher airflow and pressure ratio.

Eurocopter is offering to Spain the Tiger HAP combat support helicopter export version that is based largely on the Australian variant, says chief executive Fabrice Bregier.

The Spanish ministry of defence requested improved performance in hot temperatures and at high altitudes, and the uprated engine addresses these requirements, says Bregier. Maximum take-off weight will increase from 6,100kg (13,420lb) to 6,600kg.

"The work is now complete, we've made the best offer we can, the operational requirements have been confirmed and there are no budgetary constraints, so we expect a decision very soon," says Bregier.

The 24-helicopter deal will lead to Eurocopter España becoming a full "third pillar" of the Franco-German company, responsible for final assembly and completion of Spanish, and around 43 French, helicopters in Madrid. EADS Casa owns 40% of Eurocopter Spain.

Source: Flight International