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Poland opts for efficiency over power in AW149 engine selection

In Polish service, the AW149 will be powered by the GE CT7-2E1 engine in preference to the Safran Aneto-1K engine. (Leonardo)

Poland has chosen a more efficient General Electric (GE) engine to equip its fleet of Leonardo AW149 helicopters, selecting the powerplant over a more powerful one offered by Safran.

US-based GE Aerospace announced the decision on 17 October, saying that its CT7-2E1 turboshaft powerplant will equip the 32 AW149 twin-engined helicopters ordered by the Polish Ministry of National Defence (MND) in June.

“As part of the recent contract announcement between the government of Poland and PZL-Świdnik, the Polish company fully owned by Leonardo, Poland will receive 64 CT7-2E1 engines along with spare engines for its 32 AW149 helicopters on order. Aircraft deliveries will start in 2023,” the company said.

The CT7-2E1 (a member of the T700 engine family) is one of two powerplants offered for the AW149, with the other being the Aneto-1K from Safran in France. The CT7-2E1 puts out 2,000 shp (4,000 shp per helicopter), while the Aneto-1K puts out 2,500 shp. As such, the CT7-2E1 offers lower fuel consumption, while the more powerful Aneto-1K has a greater ‘hot and high' performance. For Poland, the CT7-2E1 also offers commonality with existing helicopter types, reducing support costs.

“After evaluating engine alternatives for the AW149 helicopter, we concluded that the CT7-2E1 engines best meet our needs from all aspects, such as performance, maintenance cost, reliability, and commonality with our existing [Sikorsky] Black Hawk and [Leonardo] AW101 helicopters as well as the future [Boeing] Apache helicopters,” Brigadier General Artur Kuptel, head of Poland's Armament Agency, was quoted as saying.

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