Ardiden: a joint Franco-Indian success story
The Aero India 2009 air show that ran from February 11-15 in Bangalore (India) offered another reminder of the strong presence of Turbomeca (SAFRAN Group) on the Indian subcontinent. The company has very close historical links with HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd), a major player in the Indian aerospace sector.
Toward the end of 1990s, a cooperation agreement led to the installation of the TM333 turboshaft engine on the Indian Dhruv helicopter. Once this stage was successfully completed, HAL looked to sharpen the specs of its Dhruv by requesting 25% additional power in order to handle "hot and high" applications (i.e.: the ability to land and take off in high temperatures and at high-altitudes). The development of a new engine, the Ardiden 1H, was therefore integrated in the cooperation agreement with HAL. Although the same size as the TM333, the architecture of the Ardiden's gas generator assembly allows it to achieve optimized performance for missions at high altitude. The first flight for a Dhruv equipped with twin Ardiden 1H engines took place on August 13, 2007. The engine that is certified and produced in India under the name of "Shakti*" was certified in December of the same year by the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency).
Five 1H1 prototypes delivered since December 2008
Further developments then gave rise to the Ardiden 1H1, which has a power output of 1 032 kW. "The first test flight of a Dhruv equipped with twin Ardiden 1H1 engines successfully took place on January 12 of this year," says Thierry Mantel, TM333 and Ardiden programs manager at Turbomeca: "This 1H1 version is due to be certified by the EASA by March next." Five Ardiden 1H1 prototypes, all with components specified by HAL, have been delivered to India since December. These engines are now engaged in "cold weather" testing in the north of the country.
As well as these prototypes, the contract comprises in all the production of 320 engines. Five phases of collaboration are planned, with progressive transfer of the manufacturing from France to India. HAL's share of the work in India will ultimately account for over 70% of the engine's production.
* Shakti means “power” in Hindi.