Slovakian engine manufacturer Povazske Strojarne LM(PSLM)is pinning hopes of resurrecting its DV-2 turbofan programme on major co-operation with whichever manufacturer is selected to supply the country with light attack aircraft.
Privately owned PSLM is holding talks with Rolls-Royce under an exclusive agreement that expires this month. British Aerospace plans to offer a mix of R-R Adour-powered two-seat Hawk 100s and Hawk 200 single-seat fighters to meet Slovakia's requirement for up to 60 aircraft (Flight International, 26 May-1 June).
The future role of PSLM is a vital factor in the Slovakian fighter competition because the government expects the company, which has not manufactured an engine since 1995, to win substantial work as part of the order.
PSLM parent HTC Holding's marketing manager, Igor Teleky, says "complex" discussions with R-R are "going ahead very quickly. Now we have to meet in Paris and speak about the last aspects of our agreement".
R-R military advisor Sir William Wratten confirms that the UK company has a team of auditors examining PSLM's aero engine business "to see if these discussions can be expanded". Teleky says that, if a deal is not reached with R-R, talks are likely to be re-opened with Pratt & Whitney Canada, which he claims is interested in the DV-2 because it does not have an engine in its thrust class.
Aermacchi is seen as a front runner in the fighter competition because it has selected the Slovakian engine for the Yak/ AEM-130 programme.
PSLM acknowledges, however, that at least $30 million is needed to complete development of the more advanced DV-2S, planned to power the production version of the Russian/Italian aircraft. The engine maker hopes to get the money from the Slovakian Government through direct payments and loan guarantees.
Yakovlev is putting pressure on PSLM to solve its funding problems by threatening to take up offers from Russian and Ukrainian manufacturers, which it says have offered to build the engine instead.
Aero Vodochody, meanwhile, is proposing a DV-2-powered version of its L-159 light combat aircraft to Slovakia as an alternative to the standard aircraft selected by the Czech air force, which uses the AlliedSignal F124.
The Czech manufacturer says that it is technically feasible to fit a planned variant of the Slovakian engine, called the DV-2A, to the L-159 and that the resulting aircraft could also be attractive to export customers barred from buying US-powered aircraft.
Aero marketing director Martin Paloda says: "To integrate the DV-2 is not so expensive." He adds: "The main problem is the development of the engine itself."
AlliedSignal has so far not held talks with PSLM on industrial participation, with the latter thought to be reluctant to co-operate with a manufacturer it sees as offering a product that competes directly with the DV-2.
Source: Flight International