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Safran and Aero Engine Corporation of China (AECC) have signed a memorandum of agreement to strengthen their industrial cooperation on the WZ16 French-Chinese helicopter engine. This agreement was signed in Beijing by Alexandre Ziegler, Safran senior executive vice president, international and public affairs, and AECC chairman Cao Jianguo, during French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to China.
The WZ16 is jointly developed and built by Safran Helicopter Engines and AECC. Certification by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) was announced on Oct. 10, 2019. The engine is installed in the AVIC AC352 helicopter.
Through this memorandum of agreement, Safran Helicopter Engines and AECC agree to:
- Study the opportunity for a joint venture in China to support and maintain in-service WZ16s.
- Prepare and launch a production ramp-up of the WZ16 to deliver a first order of 120 engines and discuss the opportunity for 100 additional units.
- Discuss new applications for the WZ16, including a turboprop variant for fixed-wing aircraft.
Alexandre Ziegler says that “the WZ16 partnership between Safran and AECC is already a success as the first jointly-developed aero-engine to be entirely certified by Chinese authorities. This new agreement is an opportunity to enlarge our partnership, especially as we prepare for certification and entry-into-service”.
Also known as the Ardiden 3C, the WZ16 is a new-generation turboshaft in the 1,700 to 2,000 shp range. The Ardiden 3C was certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency in April 2018.
The AC352’s maiden flight took place on December 2016 and certification is planned for 2021.