HAL-Safran Helicopter Engine JV: India’s state owned aircraft and helicopter manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Friday signed an agreement with France’s Safran Helicopter Engines to form a new joint venture to develop helicopter engines for India’s future needs.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by HAL Chairman R Madhavan and Safran Helicopter Engines CEO Franck Saudo in the presence of Safran Group CEO Olivier Andriès.
“The new aero-engine company in India will be dedicated to the development, production, sales and support of helicopter engines, and one of its main objectives will be to meet the requirements of HAL and defence ministry’s future helicopters, including the 13-tonne IMRH (Indian multi-role helicopter),” HAL said in its statement.
Officials said India’s multi-role helicopter is expected to compete with Russian Mi-17 choppers in both Indian and foreign markets. The platform could have a huge market as nearly 40 air forces across the world operate Mi-17 type helicopters. IMRH will be capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions, including transporting troops, conducting assault operations, air maintenance and anti-submarine warfare.
“Safran Helicopter Engines has been our valued partner for several decades. We now look forward to utilise this opportunity to leverage HAL’s experience in manufacturing of more than 15 types of aircraft and helicopter engines to jointly co-develop and manufacture engines with immediate focus on IMRH and its naval variant, the deck-based MRH,” said HAL Chairman Madhavan.
HAL and Safran Helicopter Engines already have multiple partnerships, including the Shakti engine that powers HAL-produced helicopters such as Dhruv, Rudra and the light combat helicopter.
Safran Helicopter Engines CEO Saudo said that with a fleet of over 1,000 engines, India’s armed forces are one of the largest operators of Safran-designed helicopter engines in the world. Reflecting on the five decade old partnership of Safran with India’s HAL, he said the development and production of the Shakti engine and the inauguration of our joint venture Helicopter Engines MRO Pvt Ltd (HE-MRO) illustrates well our partnership.
HAL and Safran Helicopter Engines through HE-MRO joint venture in Goa will also provide MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul) services for TM333 and Shakti engines already in service with India’s military. It will be operational by the end of 2023.