NEW DELHI — India's sole military aviation giant, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and Safran of France will form a dedicated joint venture (JV) company in Goa in southern India to create a helicopter engine support center aimed at domestic and worldwide needs.
The announcement was made Monday at the Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, England.
"This new center will provide Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services for Safran TM 333 and HAL Shakti engines that powers HAL-built helicopters. Safran Helicopter Engines and HAL will provide their customers with a first-class service including optimized engine availability," HAL said in a statement.
Indian defense forces currently operate more than 1,000 French-design helicopters with engines such as the TM 333 and Ardiden 1 (renamed Shakti), which is produced by HAL under license.
"The JV reflects the close relationship established over many years between HAL and Safran Helicopter Engines. It places both partners on an ambitious path towards world-beating customer support in the field of engine MRO. The joint venture will provide the impetus for the Make in India initiative since around 1,000 Shakti engines are likely to fly in the coming years," said HAL Chairman and Managing Director T. Suvarna Raju.
Safran Helicopter Engines' executive vice president, Serge Maillé, said: "This joint venture marks a new step in the long-lasting and fruitful partnership between Safran Helicopter Engines and HAL. We are extremely proud of the continued confidence placed on us by HAL. Together we are committed to delivering world-class support to our customers, both in India and throughout the region."
HAL currently uses Shakti engines in the homegrown advanced light helicopter (ALH), the Dhruv, and the engine has been selected for India's locally designed light combat helicopter (LCH).
The TM 333 by Turbomeca is used in the light utility helicopter (LUH), a 3-ton, single-engine helicopter currently under development.
"The two companies will finalize equity sharing and [an] investment plan within the next three months," a senior HAL official said. He anticipates the helicopter engine service support hub will be Asia's largest, providing uninterrupted supply of spares and timely overhaul of engines aimed to cater domestic and worldwide demands.