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Paris Air Show 2023: Safran, MTU team on future European helicopter engine

Safran and MTU are to team to develop a new engine to power a future rotorcraft for the EU's ENGRT effort that could leverage the Airbus Helicopters RACER concept for high-speed helicopter flight (pictured) and the Leonardo AW609 tiltrotor. (Airbus Helicopters via Janes/Gareth Jennings)

France's Safran Helicopter Engines and Germany's MTU Aero Engines have agreed on a joint venture (JV) to develop a powerplant for the European Union's (EU's) European Next-Generation Rotorcraft Technologies (ENGRT) programme.

Announced at the Paris Air Show on 20 June, the memorandum of understanding (MOU) covers the creation of a 50:50 JV to develop a wholly European engine to power a military helicopter that is anticipated to enter service by 2040.

“This alliance project … is set to ensure European sovereignty for the ENGRT project,” Cédric Goubet, CEO of Safran Helicopter Engines, was quoted as saying. “The engine design will be perfectly adaptable to the future helicopter requirements, while incorporating breakthrough technologies such as hybrid-electric propulsion.”

“This future-oriented programme … complements our companies' already established joint initiative to power the next-generation fighter within the [Future Combat Air System/Système de Combat Aérien du Futur] FCAS[/SCAF] programme,” Michael Schreyögg, Chief Program Officer of MTU Aero Engines, said.

As noted in the announcement, one of the main goals of this collaboration is to favour a future specific call for military helicopter engines in the European Defense Fund (EDF). Safran Helicopter Engines and MTU Aero Engines would then respond together with a capable consortium of partners.

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