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Safran Helicopter Engines celebrates 80th Anniversary


28 September 2018

Safran Helicopter Engines marked its 80th birthday on 20th September with celebrations around the world. Teams of employees gathered together to celebrate the foundation of the original company, Turbomeca, in 1938.





Sporting activities, games and historic tributes were organized at all 16 company sites. Its Bordes headquarters welcomed visits by a Tiger attack helicopter and EC145 operated by French Sécurité Civile. During a speech to employees, CEO Franck Saudo emphasized that Turbomeca’s history is part of their roots and a source of pride for each of its employees “It’s a fascinating story involving entrepreneurship, technological skill, industrial excellence and service”, he commented. “Our history is also about responsibility. It’s about doing as well as those who were here before us. Those who, decade after decade, helped our firm to become the world’s No. 1 manufacturer of helicopter engines.“




A key aspect of the celebrations is that they took place on the day at every Safran Helicopter Engines location. They started in Singapore, Japan and Australia and ended in Grand Prairie, Texas. Franck Saudo took the opportunity to speak to each of the teams outside France via video link. The anniversary ended in all the sites with a group picture and the sharing of a birthday cake.



Founded in September 1938 by Polish engineer Joseph Szydlowski, the original Turbomeca company opened for business in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris. In October that year its first aeronautical component, a centrifugal compressor for a Hispano-Suiza engine, took off aboard a Dewotine D520.

From the very beginning, the company’s fortunes were closely aligned to those of the helicopter. In 1951, Turbomeca powered the world’s first turbine helicopter, the SNCASO SO.1120 Ariel III, with an Artouste I turbine driven by a centrifugal compressor. In 1955, its Artouste II enabled the maiden flight of the SNCASE SE.3130 Alouette II; the first serially-produced turbine-engine helicopter in the world. Since then, the company has stayed at the forefront of rotorcraft innovation and names such as Turmo, Artouste, Astazou, Makila and Arriel are renowned throughout the industry.

With more than 100 million flight hours between them, the global Safran Helicopter Engines fleet adds to this 80-year legacy every day. Based in Bordes, Tarnos and Mantes-Buchelay in France, and at 13 sites worldwide, its engines have been selected to power almost all new helicopter models, including the Airbus Helicopters H160 and Racer, Bell 505, AW189K, Indian LUH, Chinese AC352 and South-Korean LAH.