Safran Aircraft Engines joins Russian partner NPO Saturn for 100th anniversary celebration
NPO Saturn has been Safran Aircraft Engines’ industrial partner for nearly 20 years, starting with the CFM56 and now also on the LEAP. Above all, this Russian engine-maker is our equal partner in PowerJet, the joint company that developed and now produces the SaM146 turbofan engine for the SSJ100 regional jet.
A delegation from Safran Aircraft Engines, led by Olivier Andriès, was among the honored guests at this centennial ceremony, along with representatives of the Russian aviation industry, the governor of the Yaroslavl region, and the Vice-Minister of Defense for Russia. “I would like to welcome NPO Saturn to the very select club of 100-year-old engine manufacturers,” said Olivier Andriès. “I would also like to honor the pioneers who enabled us to form this partnership. We have developed some beautiful friendships, and this relationship will become even stronger as we go forward. We have made a full-fledged joint commitment for the long haul.”
NPO Saturn’s 100th anniversary celebration took place in Rybinsk, one of the hubs of the Russian aviation industry. When the company was created by a decree of Czar Nicolas II in 1916, it first made engines under license from Renault, and then quickly specialized in the development and production of its own aircraft engines. To continue operating during the Second World War, NPO moved production to Ufa, before returning to Rybinsk in 1947. The company was growing quickly at the time in both the civil and military markets, as it provided engines for prestigious aircraft such as the Tupolev Tu-144 supersonic transport.
NPO Saturn was a leading-edge technology company in the 1980s, but was then impacted by the financial crisis in Russia during the following decade. It subsequently found its second wind by teaming up with Safran Aircraft Engines on various projects: creation of the VolgAero plant, an open-air test cell in Poluevo, the Smartec design firm and of course PowerJet, the showcase for this industrial alliance. “We are the only case of a successful partnership between Russian and Western engine-makers,” added Olivier Andriès. “And we’re very proud of all we have accomplished.”