Inauguration of a dedicated maintenance centre for the Rafale M88 engine

On Tuesday December 3 2019, Safran Aircraft Engines inaugurated its very first training and maintenance center in Provence. Located at the Istres air base, it will be home to trainers and engineers specializing in the M88 engine which powers Dassault Aviation’s French Rafale fighter jet. For a number of years, Provence Promotion has been assisting the group’s expansion in the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolitan area.

After initial support aimed at securing the siting of the world-class open-air engine test rig in Istres, Provence Promotion continues to monitor and support Safran Aircraft Engines’ new development projects.

French engine manufacturer Safran has experienced strong success in 2019. Its turnover has been growing at an increasing rate: Up 15% in the third quarter compared to the previous year. These positive results are largely due to the success of its new-generation engines.

Safran is currently putting its engines of the future through their paces at Istres. The tests are being run at a world-beating European facility. In 2017, investment via its Safran Aircraft Engines subsidiary amounted to more than 20 million euros.

For Provence’s aeronautical industry, this open-air test stand work is a genuine asset in terms of R&D and jobs. A number of test programs have been started, leading to the creation of 45 jobs – most of them highly skilled.

Provence Promotion, having previously lent its support in obtaining public financing, is now working alongside the group to generate new business in the area.

Creation Of A Training And Maintenance Center

The agency, whose role is to facilitate the economic development of Provence’s aero industry, presented Safran with a variety of possible locations and real estate proposals.

The purpose of the Istres maintenance and training center is to offer both theoretical and practical training to export customers of the Rafale M88 engine. Its workshops are equipped with some of the most innovative cutting-edge educational tools created by Safran (digital mock-ups, augmented-reality glasses, etc.).

This additional resource underlines the region’s excellence in aeronautical training, boasting close neighbors such as Epner, the DGA flight test center, the Istres CFAI training center and the VSM helicopter training center, as well as Airbus Helicopter’s Helisim.

The recently-inaugurated 9,700 sq. ft building represents an investment of 2.5 million euros. It is currently hosting a twelve-strong team from the Indian Air Force. This project further strengthens the group’s local presence. With its 15 jobs, it is generating sustainable business.


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