Safran mobilizing for the Rafale
Building on the export success of the Rafale, Safran is mobilizing to provide engines and equipment to Dassault Aviation. Olivier Horaist, Safran Industrial and Purchasing Director, sheds some light on the process.
How is the Group preparing for this ramp-up in production?
Our production program has already been adapted to recent Rafale contracts won by Dassault Aviation in 2015 (24 aircraft for Egypt, 24 for Qatar). The aircraft manufacturer, to whom we provide engines and various equipment (see infographic) is contracted to ensure the construction of three Rafale per month by 2020.
We must therefore increase our production rate and, given the extensive lead time for supply of some components (such as titanium, for example), we are preparing for that deadline as of this year. To give you some idea, Safran Aircraft Engines will need to triple production of M88 engines in order to deliver 80 units per year!
The Group companies involved in the Rafale program - that is to say, almost all - are adapting or investing in their manufacturing base and verifying the capacity of those of our suppliers. Furthermore, given that Dassault Aviation may win more export contracts, Safran is fully operational and ready to meet any additional orders...
Safran will therefore be moving into a manufacturing "ramp-up" stage. What challenges lie ahead?
One of the major challenges is to effect this increase in production at the same time as the ramp-up of our civil programs, and particularly that of the LEAP engine. However, the equipment we provide for the Rafale benefits from dedicated production facilities, whether our own or those of our supply chain. We also have the benefit of methods for analysis and assessment of industrial maturity. Finally, we will take advantage of synergies with other Group companies, such as Safran Helicopter Engines, for example, whose Mantes-Buchelay plant will provide the hydromechanical components of the control system.
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- © Cyril Abad / CAPA Pictures / Safran