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At Heli-Expo 2019, Safran underscores its broad range of solutions for the rotorcraft sector



March 11, 2019

Safran showcased its comprehensive range of products and services for the global rotorcraft sector at this month's HAI Heli-Expo exhibition, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia.

In addition to presenting these advanced solutions, the Group also made several key announcements at the rotorcraft community's premier annual event.

A highlight of the Group’s presence was the innovative turbo-generator developed by Safran Helicopter Engines, which is an important component of the Safran Hybrid-Electric Propulsion System (HEPS). The turbo-generator is composed of a gas turbine that drives an electrical generator.

Hybrid-electric propulsion solutions being developed by Safran teams, including HEPS, are the most efficient way to enable multi-rotor vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft to meet future safety, emission and affordability standards.

Powering up with HEPS

HEPS works by distributing thermal and/or electrical energy (depending on the phase of flight) to multiple rotors. It comprises three sub-systems: electric generation that relies on the turbo-generator and batteries, electric power management, and the electric motors that generate lift and propulsion. The first application of HEPS is the Bell Nexus urban mobility system, which was displayed at Heli-Expo, as well.

Safran Helicopter Engines also showcased its range of helicopter engines – including the Arrius, Arriel 2, Aneto and Ardiden 3 powerplants – at the annual Heli-Expo gathering, held March 4-7 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Safran Helicopter Engines was just as busy from a commercial aspect, with several key announcements during the event. Among them were by-the-hour support contracts signed with the Icelandic Coast Guard (covering Makila engines) and Aero Asahi Corporation (covering Arriel engines); DRF Luftrettung becoming the first customer to use Safran Health Monitoring services with Airbus data collection systems; and the Belgian Air Force’s selection of Safran Expert link services.

A complete digital chain for helicopters

Marking another major agreement confirmed at Heli-Expo, the trio of HeliDax, AMS (Aircraft Maintenance Systems) and Safran Electronics & Defense signed a letter of intent to collaborate on the world’s first complete digital chain for helicopters. It will be based on Safran’s Cassiopée range of flight data analysis services, which fully automates the management and collection of all data captured before, during and after flight.

The partnership between Safran, HeliDax and AMS focuses on the implementation of a complete, automated digital flight data processing chain that will connect Cassiopée to each operator's Maintenance Information System (MIS). In parallel with this planned collaboration, Safran is in discussions with HeliDax to connect its HeliSafe flight data recorder to the MIS from AMS.

Interior, avionics and electrical innovations

For the first time at a Heli-Expo event, the Safran booth included aircraft interior solutions from Zodiac Aerospace, which was acquired by the Group in 2018 – with its activities becoming the focus of three companies within the Group: Safran Aerosystems, Safran Cabin, and Safran Seats.

Among the related offerings was Safran Aerosystems’ lightweight Helicopter Emergency Flotation System (EFS), which enables reduced maintenance costs through better reliability. Also on the Safran booth was Safran Seats’ Hydros, the ideal versatile seating solution for light VTOL aircraft. Its mission of ensuring the safety of the all occupants is completed by an entire set of options for the pilot – including longitudinal adjustment, side handles, customized upholstery, literature pocket, amenity stowage and ultralight foam cushions.

Safran's Heli-Expo exhibit also featured a range of avionics products from Safran Electronics & Defense, including pilot and cockpit controls, navigation systems and flight data management systems. Additionally, the company highlighted its Artis™ 410 airborne electro-optical gyrostabilized system that delivers unrivaled observation performance to support the most demanding armed forces’ missions: intelligence, surveillance, targeting, protection, intervention, as well as search and rescue.

Further underscoring Safran’s wide range of rotorcraft solutions, Safran Electrical & Power displayed its range of electric power management systems: AC generation systems and starter generator system, permanent magnet generators, electric power distribution systems, plug-in circuit breaker panels, and an electric motor designed for drone or VTOL electric propulsion.