Production of parts for new generation turbofan engines for airliners could double the manufacturing output of South African aeroengine company Turbomeca Africa (TMA) over the next few years. This was revealed on Friday by Turbomeca group chairperson and CEO Olivier Andriès.
The local company, 51%-owned by Turbomeca (itself part of the French group Safran) and 49% by South African State-owned defence industrial group Denel, is busy industrialising parts for the CFM International Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion (better known as Leap) engine. The Leap is one of the powerplant options for the latest version of Airbus’ best-selling A320 single-aisle airliner family, the A320Neo (Neo standing for New Engine Option). CFM International is a 50:50 joint venture between Snecma of France (also a part of the Safran group) and General Electric Aviation of the US.
“The parts for the Leap are gears for the gearbox,” explained Andriès to Engineering News Online. “The main competence for TMA is in relation to gearboxes and gears, which is a competence you don’t find in many places. They are very complex parts. TMA is part of our [global] gearbox industrial strategy.”
Nor is this all. “Rolls-Royce is also considering adding new parts for [production by] Turbomeca Africa,” he reported.
Andriès was in South Africa to help celebrate the tenth anniversary of the creation of Turbomeca Africa. “I have visited many Turbomeca sites around the world and I can confirm, with pleasure, that Turbomeca Africa is a benchmark,” he said in his speech at the Friday anniversary function.
TMA both manufactures parts for, and undertakes the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aeroengines. The company produces parts for the Turbomeca Arriel, Arrius and Makila helicopter engines and for Rolls-Royce Tay engines for Gulfstream business jets. Indeed, Rolls-Royce is TMA’s biggest single customer.
The local company undertakes MRO of Turbomeca Arrius, Makila and Tumo engines. The Tumo powers the Eurocopter Puma helicopter, while the Makila powers the Eurocopter Super Puma/Cougar helicopter family, the Denel Oryx and Denel Rooivalk helicopters of the South African Air Force (SAAF) and will power upgraded Pumas of the UK Royal Air Force.
Various versions of the Arrius power Eurocopter EC 120 and EC 135 helicopters, the Russian Kamov Ka-226T helicopter and provide one of the powerplant options for the AgustaWestland A109 helicopter. SAAF A109s are powered by the Arrius.