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Everything's bigger in Texas, even Safran's footprint


February 10, 2016

The Group's contribution to local economy was highlighted during recent site tours

Because of its leading role in oil, defense and aerospace, people tend to say "everything is bigger in Texas.” Safran is no exception in Texas, with its large footprint and outstanding role in the area’s economic growth. The Group employs approximately 1,700 people in locations at Grand Prairie, Denton and San Marcos. 

On February 4, representatives from the offices of U.S. Senator Cruz (R-TX), U.S, Senator Cornyn (R-TX), and Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) witnessed this first-hand during a tour of two Safran facilities in Grand Prairie, Texas. 

On this occasion, the representatives met with senior management, explored Turbomeca and Sagem facilities, and received briefings on Safran capabilities. They also were given an exclusive look at high-tech equipment built by Safran for key U.S. platforms. 

Safran's long history in Grand Prairie dates back to when the Turbomeca helicopter engine assembly facility first opened its doors in 1980. With nearly 400 employees, Turbomeca USA currently supports more than 2,300 engines operated by approximately 400 customers across a wide range of missions.

During the tour, Turbomeca executives provided an overview of the company's major U.S. programs, including the following activity on rotorcraft platforms:

  • The re-engineering of the U.S. Coast Guard H-65 Dolphin helicopter fleet
  • The Turbomeca-powered UH-72A Lakota built by Airbus Helicopters for the U.S. Army
  • The production of the Arrius 2R engine for Bell Helicopter's 505 Jet Ranger X 

These programs not only illustrated Safran’s commitment in the U.S., but also put a perspective on the company plans for the next few decades. 

After wrapping up at Turbomeca, the officials were taken next door to Sagem Avionics, which specializes in avionics for civil and military aircraft. Like Turbomeca, Sagem Avionics works with helicopter platforms, including the Airbus Helicopters’ product series, the Bell 407 and 206, and the Bell 429 – for which Sagem Avionics provides flight controls. Sagem Avionics also delivers the complete autopilot system for the UH-72A Lakota helicopter.  

The culmination of the visits took place at one of Safran’s customers, Airbus Helicopters, where the attendees saw a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter in the repair shop, and a new helicopter for the San Antonio Police Department being readied for delivery.