Microturbo powers business jets

In July 2014, Microturbo (Safran) took responsibility for two APU programs intended for business jets within the framework of its partnership with Pratt & Whitney AeroPower. We caught up with Pierre-Yves Morvan, General Manager at Microturbo, to find out more.

What prompted the partnership between Microturbo and Pratt & Whitney AeroPower?

The two companies, both specialized in APU* but with complementary resources and needs, met before joining forces. In 2011, we were mainly operating in the military sector, but we wanted to expand our operations to encompass the civil market. As for Pratt & Whitney AeroPower, it was looking for a partner to share the risks and costs of its new APU programs for business jets, or 'bizjets' as they are known. We therefore decided to collaborate. The partnership focused on two systems: the APS2[800], intended for Bombardier's Global 7000 and 8000, and the APS500[D], for Dassault Aviation's Falcon 5X. We were responsible for 40% of operations for the former and 30% for the later.

What does the partnership look like today?

Our position was always clear: we wanted to step up our development in these markets. Following several months of discussions, we decided that Microturbo would become entirely responsible for these two programs. Once the operation has been finalized, we shall assume sole responsibility for the design, development, certification, production, support and service aspects of the two systems.
Our agreement enables us to jointly submit bids for all subsequent APU calls for tender aimed at business and regional jets. Microturbo will lead on those related to business jets and Pratt & Whitney AeroPower on those concerning regional jets.

How will Microturbo deal with this rise in activity?

The workload will be transferred progressively over an 18-month period. We shall open a site in San Diego (CA), located opposite our partner's site. It will be home to the development, assembly, testing and support of the new APUs. A total of 65 people will eventually be working at the center. Of course, our decision to set up operations in the United States is a purely strategic choice insofar as the US dominates the business jet market. Our presence there will be a valuable asset when it comes to submitting future bids.

*See box

APU: An Auxiliary Power Unit

An Auxiliary Power Unit is a system that provides energy for functions other than propulsion. They are used for powering the main engines of aircraft, airplanes and helicopters on the ground, producing on-board power and powering the various on-board systems (voltage, pneumatic and hydraulic pressure, air conditioning, etc.), amongst other things. The APU deliver electrical energy (e-APU), pneumatic and mechanical power, depending on the specific program requirements.

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