Safran to support Portuguese Merlin engines

Safran Helicopter Engines has signed a ten-year contract with the Força Aérea Portuguesa (Portuguese Air Force) to support the engines of its AW101 helicopters.

The contract was announced at the HAI Heli-Expo in Anaheim, California, and will cover more than 38 Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322 turboshaft engines in the Portuguese Air Force’s inventory. It will fall under Safran’s Global Support Package (GSP) – a part of the company’s EngineLife Services solution. The deal will ensure the air arm will have an optimal availability for its domestic and international military operations.

Portuguese AW101 [Leonardo]
AW101 Merlin Mk.514 - registration 19601 (c/n 50088), belonging to the Portuguese Air Force's Esquadra 751 - in flight. Leonardo Helicopters

The Portuguese Air Force's Lt Gen Cartaxo Alves, said: “We look forward to this agreement ensuring sufficient engines to support operational tasks during the period. The contract reaffirms the excellent working relationship that exists between us and Safran.” 

Frederic Fourciangue, vice president of Safran Helicopter Engines Support France, said: “This contract marks a major milestone in our partnership with [the] Portuguese Air Force. We are extremely proud of this new commitment for a GSP contract to support [Portugal’s] RTM322-powered rotorcraft. We are committed to offer world-class support to the Portuguese Air Force.”

The Portuguese Air Force operates 11 of its 12 Leonardo Helicopters AW101 Merlin fleet, with one being stored after it was damaged in 2015. It operates three variants in different roles – the Mk514 as a search and rescue (SAR) platform, the Mk515 in a fisheries protection role and the Mk516 configured to provide a combat search and rescue (CSAR) mission.