Safran is highlighting at the Zhuhai Airshow that this year marks the 40th anniversary since the French aerospace group started working with state-owned AVIC.

It also says: “About forty years ago, Safran’s Turbomeca embarked on cooperation with AVIC on providing engines to the Aerospatiale SA321 Super Frelon helicopters in service in China.”

“Soon after, the relationship with AVIC was extended to licensing production and outsourcing of parts and components, further to co-development and co-production, and to a stage of joint technology development at the moment.”

The SA321 Super Frelon has been used by the Chinese military for search and rescue, as well as anti-submarine warfare. The Chinese-manufactured Z-8 is based on the Super Frelon.

Safran also points out that Turbomeca’s Ardiden 3C engine has been chosen to power the Avicopter AC352. This occurred after Pratt & Whitney Canada withdrew from the program.

The French engine-maker says the relationship between it and Chinese industry extends into the highest echelons of government.

“During the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to France this March, he spoke highly of the partnership between AVIC and Safran and recognized it as of exemplary significance to the Sino-French cooperation,” says Safran.

“In fact, the leaders of the two groups [Safran and AVIC] meet annually, alternatively in China and France. These are annual strategic cooperation sessions aimed at advancing practical issues of cooperation and giving directions and priorities that guide the work of the respective teams. There are many projects in progress,” it adds.

Jean-Paul Herteman, chairman and CEO of Safran is quoted in the press statement as saying: “The partnership between Safran and AVIC stands on an equal and solid footing, and will last forever.”