Safran Begins Arriel 2E Helicopter Engine Assembly In Texas
LONDON—Safran has begun producing Arriel 2E helicopter engines in Texas to support the U.S. Army’s purchase of the B-model UH-72 Lakota helicopter.
The turboshaft manufacturer said Oct. 19 it had opened a second assembly line at its Grand Prairie plant in Texas to build the engine, which had been produced solely at its facility in France. Safran said it already has assembled, tested and delivered Arriel 2E engines to Airbus.
With the Army planning to purchase only 18 UH-72Bs, Safran is hoping the the Arriel 2E assembly line also will be used to supply U.S. sales of Airbus’ commercial H145 platform on which the UH-72B is based.
The H145 already has a sizable order backlog for use in the emergency medical service and law enforcement missions.
“Assembling this variant [of the Arriel engine] in Texas reflects our commitment to the helicopter industry to invest and grow our U.S. presence, bringing us closer to our customers, and allows us to provide increased capability and proximity support,” said Thierry Derrien, president and CEO of Safran Helicopter Engines USA. As well as the Arriel 2E, Safran produces the 2D model of the engine for the Airbus H125 and the 1E2 model for the UH-72A.
Safran said it has 3,000 Arriel engines operational in the U.S. with 900 of those in the Army’s Lakota fleet.