– Leonardo and Safran Helicopter Engines today announced their collaboration to further enhance the capabilities and competitiveness of the next generation AW09 single-engine helicopter. In its production configuration, the AW09 will be powered by an Arriel 2K engine, the latest generation version in the Arriel engine family and belonging to a power class of 1000 shp.
The choice of the new engine ensures the highest level of efficiency for industrialization and global customer support. The combination of Leonardo and Safran's worldwide support networks will deliver innovative, streamlined and competitive maintenance solutions and operational cost benefits, underpinned by customized service contracts and programs as well as a broad range of digital services.
Leonardo and Safran Helicopter Engines already boast a long-term partnership for the supply of engines for light and 'super-medium' twin-engine helicopters. This partnership now extends to single-engine aircraft, taking into account the growing and shared interest and commitment of the two companies for this specific commercial market and its future evolution.
Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, said: “Since the integration of Kopter into our company and the introduction of the AW09 into our product range we have strongly maintained our commitment to deliver exactly what the market expects from a single-engine helicopter with the most modern standards, supported by a network efficient and responsive global support system. The decision to choose this engine is fully in line with this strategy and we are ready to work with our partner to bring the most modern single engine helicopter to the commercial market.”.
Franck Saudo, Chief Executive Officer of Safran Helicopter Engines, commented: “We are proud that Leonardo has placed its trust in us again, choosing our solution for the propulsion of the most recent single-engine helicopter. We will bring our solid experience in this particular sector to AW09, together with the specific characteristics of our engine. The Arriel 2K is the latest version of the well-known Arriel engine family and will certainly provide high capacity and reliability, facilitating the operational activities of the AW09”.
The new engine is already installed on the PS4 prototype (Pre Series 4) of the AW09, close to the start of flight tests at the Kopter factory in Mollis. This prototype features all the developments implemented and tested on the P3 prototype, thus allowing the program AW09 to arrive at its final configuration. The next and final prototype, dubbed the PS5, will follow in 2023.
The AW09 program has taken important steps forward in 2022, in parallel with the integration of the production engine, including the start of flight activities with the new main rotor blades and the definition of the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) certification basis .
The AW09 will continue to be developed by Kopter in Switzerland with the contribution of a team also made up of Leonardo personnel. Kopter will become the Center of Expertise for new light helicopters and an incubator of vertical flight technologies. In this way, Kopter will contribute to the development of new hybrid and electric propulsion systems and will play an important role in Leonardo's Be Tomorrow 2030 Strategic Plan which aims at a leadership position in the market of civil helicopters and modern air mobility.
The AW09 single-engine helicopter features extensive modularity, modern electronics, high digitization, the largest cabin and the largest payload capacity in its category. Its extraordinary characteristics – including cruising speed and capacity at high altitudes and at high temperatures – are combined with a reduced acoustic impact deriving from the dynamic system and the particular tail rotor.
Safran Helicopter Engines is the market leader in single-engine helicopter propulsion systems. The Arriel is one of Safran's best-sellers with over 15.000 engines in service. This engine model increases its reputation every day in terms of safety and reliability, especially for operators carrying out complex missions of helicopter rescue, search and rescue, public order, maritime surveillance and aerial work.