Safran Helicopter Engines has secured a contract extension to continue supporting the British Royal Navy Merlin and British Army Apache AH Mk1 helicopters.

Under the three-year contract extension, Safran will continue to provide an end-to-end availability service for the RTM322 engines fitted to these helicopters.

Awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Defence Equipment and Support agency (DE&S), the contract involves support for a fleet of more than 400 engines.

The company has been providing support for the RTM322 engines since 2013 when it completed the acquisition of the remaining 50% shareholding in the RTM322 helicopter engine programme from Rolls-Royce.

Since the acquisition, Safran has focused its efforts on improving engine reliability and ensuring availability of engines, accessories and spare parts.

DE&S Helicopters director air vice-marshal Graham Russell said: “Safran Helicopter Engines has provided highly capable, reliable and responsive support to our fleet of RTM322 engines during the previous contract, consistently delivering high levels of engine availability.

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“Consequently, we are very pleased to have signed this extension to the contract, which will ensure continued effective support to the front line.”

Work under the contract is performed by Safran Helicopter Engines’ team of more than 40 members at its UK facility in Fareham, Hampshire.

The company provides engines, modules, accessories and spares, including maintenance, repair and overhaul, logistics, technical support and technical publications.

With the contract extension, Safran will provide support until 31 March 2022. The contract also holds an option to enable a further extension to 2024.

Safran Helicopter Engines CEO Franck Saudo said: “It shows a high level of confidence from the UK MoD in our engine solutions and in our teams. We are committed to earn that trust by providing them with a high level of service, as they prepare to deploy these helicopters aboard the UK’s new aircraft carriers.”