French facility goes operational in Bordeaux
Approval of a facility in Alabecte (Spain) is scheduled for April 2019
Late last week, MTU Turbomeca Rolls-Royce ITP GmbH (known as MTRI), jointly with its partners MTU Aero Engines, Safran Helicopter Engines, Rolls-Royce and ITP Aero, approved AIA Bordeaux (Atelier Industriel de L'Aéronautique de Bordeaux) as the first MTR390-Enhanced MRO shop. At the facility in France, all variants of the MTR390 family of engines, which power the Tiger combat helicopter, will be maintained in the future, especially so the propulsion systems operated by the French Armed Forces. As of now, the first helicopters powered by MTR390-E engines, too, can be repaired and overhauled on site. Back in January this year, MTRI already awarded AIA Bordeaux the certificate as an approved shop for Line Replaceable Units (LRUs). The facility overhauls these LRUs on site for all participating nations. Approval of yet another MTR390 MRO shop, based in Spain's Albacete, is scheduled for April 2019. In both instances, MTU takes care of the project management.
Following a four-year project phase for setting up the two service centers in Bordeaux and Albacete, the first, French facility obtained approval even four months ahead of schedule last week, thanks to a dedicated team effort of all MTRI partners involved in the procurement of the infrastructure and of the materials, to the ambitious schedule planning for employee training, and a fast closure of audit findings and of the qualification and validation of the standard processes. From now on, the shop has the capability to provide the whole range of services for the entire engine.
"Trust, proximity, reliability and expertise are the essential ingredients for a partnership with our customers in any military engine program," underlines MTRI Managing Director Werner Burger. "With the opening of two MRO shops specializing in the repair of MTR390-E engines, we aim to drive the development of customized and flexible service concepts, which will be implemented in close consultation with the customers. Efficiency and operational readiness are the first priorities," Burger continues.
The MTR390 is a turboshaft engine featuring a free power turbine; it is the leading technology engine family in the 1,000-kW to 1,350-kW class. The MTR390 is the exclusive propulsion system for Airbus's Tiger helicopter. The production engines of the 2C version (basic version) were delivered from 2002 to mid-2010, including 242 engines for the German-French-Spanish Tiger program and 52 for Australia's ARH program. In collaboration with Spain's ITP Aero, the development of an enhanced engine version providing 14 percent more power (dubbed the MTR390-E) was concluded in 2011. Firm orders have been received for a total of 492 MTR390 engines, of which 475 have already been delivered. The MTR390 has accumulated 200,000 flight hours without a hiccup, thus impressively demonstrating its reliability.