December 3, 2019, Istres (France)
Safran Aircraft Engines today inaugurated a maintenance training center for the Rafale’s M88 engine at Air Base 125 in Istres, southern France. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Didier Desnoyer, Executive Vice President, Military Engines at Safran Aircraft Engines, Jean-Marc Sénateur, sub-prefect of Istres, François Bernardini, Mayor of Istres, Pierre Gaudillière, Commander of the Air Base, and Arvind Badrinath, Director of Flight Testing at the French defense procurement agency DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement).
This state-of-the-art training center includes the latest educational tools, such as virtual and augmented reality. To carry out this project, Safran Aircraft Engines benefited from the support of the French air force, the DGA’s flight testing department, the Istres Air Base, the Istres defense
infrastructure department and Dassault Aviation, which also has a facility at the base.
“I am delighted to inaugurate this new training center, which further strengthens the long-standing partnerships we have established with our customers at Air Base 125,” noted Didier Desnoyer, Executive Vice President, Military Engines at Safran Aircraft Engines. “In line with the dynamic export performance of the Rafale fighter, this project allows us to continue offering our customers real world-class support.”
“Both the French air force and navy expect the M88-powered Rafale to stay in service beyond 2060,” pointed out Arvind Badrinath, from the DGA. “We therefore need to develop our support capabilities for the next 40 years, and we are counting on the synergies that will be developed between Safran Aircraft Engines’ new training center in Istres and EPNER1 to support all Rafale users, both in France and abroad.”
Since late October 2019, Safran Aircraft Engines has welcomed 12 mechanics from the Indian Air Force, which took delivery of its first Rafales several weeks ago.
The Istres base has specialized since 1962 in the ground and flight testing of commercial and military engines developed by Safran Aircraft Engines, whether alone or in partnership. Another key asset for Rafale and M88 tests is the fact that Safran Aircraft Engines, the French air force, the DGA and Dassault Aviation are all present at Air Base 125. In 2017, Safran Aircraft Engines inaugurated a new open-air test cell in Istres for tests of the Open Rotor demonstrator and future engines to be developed by the company.
This new facility reflects a dynamic regional cluster organized around the Istres test center, which enjoys strong support from public authorities and partnerships formed with local industry and academia in the area.