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Safran and MTU Aero Engines team up to pave the way for a European engine anticipating the next-generation military helicopter

Safran Helicopter Engines and MTU Aero Engines have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create a 50/50 joint venture as an agile and lean structure intended to develop a new engine for the European Next Generation Rotorcraft Technologies (ENGRT) project. 

Both partners are convinced that European armed forces need a new 100% European engine with advanced design maturity and affordable operating and maintenance costs, to power a military helicopter to enter service by 2040. Developing this next-generation engine demands efficient project management and quick and flexible decisionmaking. MTU Aero Engines and Safran Helicopter Engines have therefore forged a strong alliance that will form the core of an extended European partnership involving industrial partners from several other European nations.

“This alliance project led by Safran Helicopter Engines and MTU Aero Engines is set to ensure European sovereignty for the ENGRT project”, said Cédric Goubet, CEO of Safran Helicopter Engines. “the engine design will be perfectly adaptable to the future helicopter requirements, while incorporating breakthrough technologies such as hybrid-electric propulsion. It will be one of the most important collaborative programs in the history of European defense. Safran Helicopter Engines and MTU have long-standing experiences in leading joint industrial ventures, thereby conducive to the success of this new alliance.”

Michael Schreyögg, Chief Program Officer of MTU Aero Engines commented: “This future-oriented program is key to genuinely reinforcing European sovereignty, strengthening the European supply chain and fostering collaboration between MTU and our long-standing partner Safran. It marks another milestone in Europe’s defense history. The ambition to power the next-generation military helicopter complements our companies’ already established joint initiative to power the next-generation fighter within the FCAS program. Both strategic partners shape the future by maintaining strong relationships and involving partners across Europe.”

One of the main goals of this collaboration is to favor a future specific call for military helicopter engines in the European Defense Fund (EDF). Safran Helicopter Engines and MTU Aero Engines would then respond together with a capable consortium of partners.

The ENGRT project will explore technology options in anticipation of the next generation of military rotorcraft slated to enter service by 2040. The project will analyze future military requirements in this area in cooperation with European armed forces. Concepts of potential operations will be defined and tested using simulation tools. Different configurations of rotary wings will be studied: conventional, convertible or hybrid helicopters. Operational simulations will be set up to evaluate these options and the different mission scenarios. The project will also lead to the establishment of a roadmap and strategy regarding the modularity of future platforms, the maturation of required technologies, production methods, life-cycle costs and maintenance concepts.


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Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aviation (propulsion, equipment and interiors), defense and space markets. Its core purpose is to contribute to a safer, more sustainable world, where air transport is more environmentally friendly, comfortable and accessible. Safran has a global presence, with 83 000 employees and sales of 19.0 billion euros in 2022, and holds, alone or in partnership, world or regional leadership positions in its core markets. Safran is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange and is part of the CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50 indices. 

Safran Helicopter Engines is the world’s leading manufacturer of helicopter engines, with more than 75,000 produced since being founded. It offers the widest range of helicopter turboshafts in the world and has more than 2,500 customers in 155 countries.

MTU Aero Engines AG is Germany's leading engine manufacturer. The company is a technological leader in low-pressure turbines, high-pressure compressors and turbine center frames, as well as manufacturing processes and repair techniques. In the commercial OEM business, the company plays a key role in the development, manufacturing and marketing of high-tech components together with international partners. Some 30 percent of today’s aircraft in active service worldwide have MTU components. In the commercial maintenance sector the company ranks among the top three service providers for commercial aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines, both under the MTU Maintenance brand. MTU Aero Engines is also Germany's industrial lead company for practically all engines operated by the country's military. MTU operates a network of locations around the globe, with corporate headquarters in Munich. In fiscal 2022, the company had more than 11,000 employees and posted consolidated sales of 5.3 billion euros.

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