Changes coming for Turbomeca Africa


Turbomeca Africa (TMA), which is being acquired by Denel, will shut down its manufacturing side, but will continue is special processes and maintenance divisions.

This is according to Theo Kleynhans, in charge of Denel Group strategy. In May this year Denel received approval to acquire Turbomeca Africa, and this is going ahead subject to it meeting certain conditions from the Competition Commission, National Treasury and the Department of Public Enterprises.

TMA manufactures engine components – including gears, gearbox casings, shafts and couplings – for Safran Helicopter Engines. The company supports 40 customers in 20 countries, including the SA Air Force, the SA Police Services and a number of civilian operators.

Two of TMA’s main divisions will be kept: special processes and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) while the manufacturing side will fall away. Special processes includes heat and surface treatments for steel components. The manufacturing side includes making engine components for Safran Helicopter Engines, as well as Rolls Royce and Denel. TMA supplies complete Tay gearboxes to Rolls-Royce Tay as single-source supplier.

Kleynhans noted that the international Super Puma fleet has been experiencing technical problems and the global helicopter market has been substantially reduced, putting the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) market under pressure. The drop in the oil price in particular has hit the helicopter market hard. As a result of this, there will be some changes at Turbomeca Africa once it falls in the Denel stable. This includes the end of Rolls Royce accessory gearbox production.

Denel will retain its Makila and Arrius engine capabilities as this is very important in supporting the South African Air Force’s Rooivalk and Oryx fleets. Going forward the company hopes to do engine work for Safran and other companies.

TMA was established in 2002 and was 51% owned by the Turbomeca group (part of Safran) and 49% owned by Denel. Over the years it has claimed 75% of the military turbine market in southern Africa and 35% of the civilian market with some 700 flying engines in service in the region.

Turbomeca Africa was set up in 2002 following the September 1999 order for 30 AgustaWestland A109 Light Utility Helicopters for the South African Air Force. These are powered by Arrius 2K2 engines.

According to Safran Helicopter Engines, TMA employs more than 270 people, although the 2016 Denel annual report lists the employee numbers as 238 for the 2015/16 financial year.

Safran Helicopter Engines noted that TMA supports over 40 customers in 20 different countries, including the South African Air Force, South African Police Services, Starlite Aviation, Wild Dog and Savannah Helicopter Maintenance. Turbomeca Africa performs around 200 repairs and overhauls each year for three engine types: Turmo IVC, Makila 1 and Arrius 2.