Airbus picks Turbomeca as sole engine supplier for X4 helicopter

Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:23am EST
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PARIS Feb 18 (Reuters) - Airbus Helicopters said on Wednesday it had decided to focus on one engine type for its X4 programme, choosing Safran subsidiary Turbomeca as the sole engine supplier and dropping a Canadian unit of Pratt & Whitney.

Airbus Helicopters said it came to the decision after market research suggested the need for a "significant" increase in engine power compared with previous scenarios for the future replacement to its best-selling EC155/Dauphin.

The Airbus Group subsidiary had originally designed the medium-lift, twin-engined helicopter around two engine choices - Turbomeca's Arrano and the PW210E engine from Pratt & Whitney Canada, a unit of United Technologies.

The programme will now go ahead with an uprated version of the Turbomeca engine, Airbus Helicopters said in a statement.

The X4 prototype, with angular blades and a shrouded tail rotor set off at a slight angle to increase stability, is expected to be unveiled at an exhibition next month, providing a successor to the distinctive bottle-nosed Dauphin helicopter.

It is expected to compete for VIP, corporate and other customers with the AgustaWestland AW139, produced by a unit of Italy's Finmeccanica. (Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Liisa Tuhkanen)