Intended for nine-to-twelve ton heavyweight helicopters, the Makila engine spans a power range of between 1,800 and 2,100 shp. To date, over 2,200 Makila engines are in service worldwide, 500 of which are the Makila 2 variant. This fleet has logged in excess of 10 million operating hours.

In 1973, Safran Helicopter Engines launched the first 1,800-shp Makila 1A. It was first used to power the AS332 Super Puma, an enlarged version of the military Puma. In 1977, a prototype underwent its first bench testing before the engine was certified in 1980. Production of a more powerful 1,820 shp version, christened the Makila 1A1, began in 1984.

Intended for the Super Puma Mk-2, the Makila 1A2 went into production in 1991. The Makila 1A2 was the first turboshaft engine in the world to be certified with single-crystal vanes, and to feature an emergency 30 second power rating.

A derivative of this engine, Makila 1K2, was selected to power South Africa's Denel Aviation Rooivalk attack helicopter.

At the end of the 90s, Safran Helicopter Engines launched the 2,000-shp Makila 2. This variant incorporates a new axial/centrifugal compressor and a two-stage power turbine with reinforced blades. A specific feature of the power turbine is its "blade shedding" capability which, in case of internal failure, confines any damage to within the engine's shroud. These revisions make the Makila 2 one of the highest-performing and most reliable engines in its category. It is particularly effective for transport missions to offshore oil and gas production areas. Certified in 2004, the Makila 2A powers the EC225 and H225M helicopters manufactured by Airbus Helicopters.

In 2014, Safran Helicopter Engines launched the development of the Makila 2B, which is in progress. It is intended to power the H225 helicopter manufactured by Airbus Helicopters.

The Makila family has a modular architecture: an air intake, a compressor with three axial stages, a gas generator (including a centrifugal compressor stage, an annular combustion chamber and a two-stage turbine) and a two-stage power turbine.

Latest versions incorporate Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) to lighten pilot workload and improve mission safety.

The Makila has earned a reputation as a safe and reliable partner for operators flying in difficult conditions, such as over the North Sea or in extreme military environments.