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In China, Safran is celebrating a major achievement for its Arrius engine range — 10 million flight hours flown since its introduction in 1996. With more than 3,800 units delivered to 430 customers in 60 countries, the Arrius family covers a power range of 450 to 750 shaft horsepower and flies in both single- and twin-engine light helicopters.
Over the years, the Arrius range has maintained its status as the most competitive and robust engine solution for the light helicopter market, and it continues to be selected for new models, the company said.
First installed in the Airbus EC135 in 1996, the latest Arrius 2B2Plus variant entered service on the H135 in 2014. This combination has become increasingly popular amongst operators, especially those conducting emergency medical services (EMS) and military training missions.
In 2016, the Arrius 2R became operational on the single-engine Bell 505. Featuring a dual channel FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control), and assembled at Safran’s Grand Prairie Plant in Texas, more than 200 units are now in service.
Another variant, the Arrius 2G1, powers the Russian Helicopters Ka-226T. It is in service in Russia, and part of a major military contract currently under negotiation between Russia and India. These latest models make the Arrius range as competitive as ever, and it will remain at the forefront of Safran propulsion offer for the next 20 years.
Fabrice Condamine, Safran Helicopter Engines vice president, light and medium helicopter engine programs, said, “Featuring a simple and robust design, the Arrius has a reputation for low operating costs and simple maintenance. For operators conducting demanding missions like EMS, search-and-rescue or military training, or flying in challenging environments like mountains or ‘hot and high,’ the Arrius performance and reliability enhances crew confidence. For more than 20 years, our engine has evolved with the light helicopter market, and we are committed to capitalizing on its strengths to develop new, even better variants.”
Today, Add+, an engine technological demonstrator based on the Arrius, is undergoing ground-tests. A full 30 percent of its components are manufactured using additive manufacturing (3D printing) techniques. Future Arrius models will incorporate such additive manufacturing components, allowing reductions in production cycles and weight and performances increase as well as new functionality.
Earlier Arrius variants have a hydro-mechanical control system while more recent ones are equipped with FADEC and dual channel FADEC for the Arrius 2R and future model, to improve engine operation and reduce pilot workload.