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Endoscopy and inventory of Makila engine parts
This MCO contract covers most of Safran's helicopter engines.

25 April 2022, Tarnos

Safran Helicopter Engines and the French Aerospace Maintenance Agency (DMAé, Direction de la Maintenance Aéronautique) have renewed for 10 years their contract to maintain the French government's helicopter engines in operational condition. Designated Saturne (Soutien Avancé des Turbines de l’Etat), the contract ensures the availability and MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) of all 1,600 engines powering the helicopters of the French Army's Light Aviation (ALAT), the French Air and Space Force, the French Navy, the Sécurité Civile, Gendarmerie, Customs and the DGA Essais en vol.

The contract covers most of Safran's helicopter engines, including the Arrano 1A powering the new H160M Guépard being developed for the HIL (Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger)  program, as well as the H160 operated by the French Gendarmerie Nationale and DGA Essais en vol.

Franck Saudo, President of Safran Helicopter Engines, said: "With the signing of the Saturne contract, the French government has renewed its confidence in Safran Helicopter Engines to ensure the availability of its fleet of 1,600 helicopter engines. The renewal of this operational condition contract is a source of pride for the men and women of Safran Helicopter Engines. It motivates us to strive for excellence, in line with our ambition to continue to deliver the "best of the best" in terms of service quality to our clients. We are committed to ensuring 100% engine availability on the French government fleet be it in France, overseas and on external operations, as we have continuously done for over 14 years.

Saturne is consistent with the DMAé's strategy to verticalize support contracts, particularly in terms of Safran's increased responsibility and availability management.

Safran Helicopter Engines' MCO contract with the French government was signed in 2001 and renewed in 2011. It ensures a high level of performance and availability within a controlled budget. With Saturn, the scope of services will be expanded to include the use of engine operating data and the provision of digital services to simplify day-to-day maintenance management.

Saturne contract is managed from the Safran Helicopter Engines site in Tarnos, France.

Emblematic of the relationship between the French government and Safran Helicopter Engines, MCO represents a model in terms of performance and cost. The OEM is applying it to other government customers including the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Portugal.


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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 76,800 employees and sales of 15.3 billion euros in 2021, 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.


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