Salt ingestion occurs during maritime operation of helicopters, especially during hover at low levels above sea-waters. During Naval Operation, where helicopters hover for long times at low levels (e.g. for anti-submarine warfare or rescue operations), large quantities of salt spray could be ingested into the engine air intakes.
The long term effect of salt ingestion on the engine is corrosion. In addition, the salt can accumulate on the engine rotating parts which can significantly degrade engine efficiency and performance. This can lead to loss of power, compressor damage and engine imbalance and ultimately result in an engine flame out and an aborted mission.
The PUREair system separates a significant amount of salt ingestion, up to 80 % in weight, depending on the design, therefore reducing by a factor of five the quantity of salt spray impacting critical engine parts. However, despite the high salt spray separation efficiency, engines still have to be flushed daily after operation in a marine environment, to avoid corrosion.