Since the 1970s, Safran has supplied turbine engines for the Ecureuil, Panther and Super Puma helicopters deployed by the Brazilian armed forces. Safran also supplies engines for civilian helicopter operators, including over 60% of the fleet operated by Helisul Taxi Aéreos, the leading air taxi company in Brazil. The Group grew its national presence in 2002 with the opening of a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) center in Xerém, providing technical support for helicopter operators throughout Latin America. It was expanded in 2012 to house a new assembly line and test rig for the Makila 2 engine powering the EC725 helicopters deployed by the country. Back in 2011, Safran had signed a through-life support contract with the Brazilian ministry of defense for the Makila 2A engines used by all three service arms and the Presidential transport group.
Today, one out of every two helicopters in Brazil is powered by a Safran turbine engine.
Safran is also a leading supplier to Embraer, the well-known Brazilian manufacturer of civil and military aircraft, for thrust reversers, flight recorders, ventilation systems and wiring. For the largest aircraft ever built by Embraer, the KC-390 transport/tanker, Safran was awarded six work packages, mainly for electrical equipment. In February 2015 the partners celebrated the successful first flight of this aircraft from Gaviao Peixoto, near Sao Paulo.
CFM56® engines, designed and built by CFM International (the 50/50 joint company between Safran Aircraft Engines and GE), power Airbus A320 twinjets for LATAM and Avianca Brasil, as well as the Boeing 737 twinjets operated by GOL. The LEAP®, successor to the CFM56, will power 60 Boeing 737 MAX twinjets ordered by GOL.
Safran also provides engineering services to Embraer and Hélibras (a subsidiary of Airbus Helicopters).
Through its local subsidiary Optovac, a specialist in advanced optronics and avionics systems, Safran supplies this equipment to Brazilian armed and police forces. In particular, Safran provides flight controls and navigation systems for the army's Caracal and Fennec helicopters, along with optronic masts for the navy's four Scorpène class submarines. Safran also makes the flight controls for all rotorcraft from Airbus Helicopters operating in Brazil. In April 2015, Safran signed an ITP (Intention to proceed) agreement with Helibras, concerning the production of 30 autopilot systems for the Brazilian EC725 helicopter program.
Long-term commitment to education and innovation
Safran actively supports the Brazilian government's education and innovation initiatives, including the "Science Without Borders" program launched in 2012. This program aims to promote excellence and international mobility among young engineers and scientists, by providing scholarships at UNB University in Brasilia. Along with Airbus Defence and Space and the Brazilian space agency AEB, Safran is also developing a program for students studying space-related disciplines. Several Safran companies have already signed joint research agreements with Brazilian universities (UNB, USP, Unitau, UNIVAP, UFPE, CESAR, etc.).