Ardiden 3 ready for takeoff
"The development of the Ardiden 3 engine for heavy helicopters draws on our experience with the Ardiden 1," notes program manager Cyril Volte. "The general layout is the same, with a dual centrifugal compressor and a free turbine." The only major difference is that the engine will not have a reduction gearbox. Analysis of the weight budget showed that, in this power class, it's better to manage speed reduction (from 21,000 rpm at the turbine shaft to 300 or 400 rpm for the rotor) via the main transmission unit. According to Cyril Volte, "We're targeting a 10 to 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared with current engines in this thrust class. And the Ardiden 3 will also offer a significant reduction in emissions, as well as very high dispatch reliability."
China and Russia
While the Ardiden 3 has an impeccable technical pedigree, its market career is also off to an excellent start, with its selection for two major programs in collaboration with Chinese and Russian partners.
"At the end of 2007, Chinese helicopter-maker Avic 2 asked us to provide an engine for the Z-15, the Chinese version of the EC175," recalls Cyril Volte. "So we offered an equal partnership on the Ardiden 3C, which is designated WZ-16 in China. Our Chinese partners are providing the cold section, while Turbomeca retains responsibility for the hot section." (editor's note: the combustor and high-pressure turbine). Engine certification by Chinese aviation authorities is expected in 2013.
The Ardiden 3 scored another major business win this year, with its selection by Russian Helicopters to power the latest version of its Ka-62, a new-generation, twin-engine multirole helicopter. Contracts signed on April 27 concern the delivery of at least 308 Ardiden 3G engines. The development of this engine is proceeding on schedule, with EASA certification planned for 2013.