The Defence Minister, Mr. Manohar Parrikar inaugurated Helicopter Engines MRO Pvt. Limited (HE-MRO), a Joint Venture of HAL and Safran Helicopter Engines (SafranHE), France at Sattari District, North Goa today. The JV will provide maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for Safran TM333 2B2 and HAL Shakti engines installed on HAL-built helicopters operated by the Defence Services.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Parrikar said this is a step towards creating employment opportunities with corresponding boost to the economic activities in Goa. “This is the right place for MRO activities related to helicopter engines. We have a local talent to meet the skill requirement for the project. There will be more expectations from all of us and we will progress”, he added.
Mr. Laxmikant Parsekar, Chief Minister of Goa, Mr. T. Suvarna Raju, CMD, HAL, Mr. Bruno Even, CEO Safran Helicopter Engines and other senior officials were present on the occasion.
Mr Raju said the JV reflects the longstanding relationship between HAL and Safran Helicopter Engines. “Goa is a natural choice for this. With demand for helicopters engines on rise, sky is the only limit in this business”, he said and thanked the state Government for providing all the support in making this JV a reality. The JVC brings about synergy of the expertise from HAL and SafranHE in the field of ROH of Safran family of engines. This partnership will improve customer satisfaction through improved serviceability, reduced cycle time for ROH, availability of spares, trouble shooting, field support and modifications to overcome design deficiencies. The MRO Centre plans to progressively support engines of International Operators and other engines as mutually agreed between the partners. In addition to carrying out overhaul activities at Goa, the JV will also provide support through Certified Maintenance Centers located centrally at customer bases.
“Given the skill-sets on both sides we will have shortest turnaround period for engine MRO activities in the coming months”, added Mr. Raju. The centre will support helicopter engines operated by national and international operators from a 1,000 sqm office and a 3,800 sqm facility. It will have capability of repairing 50 engines in the initial period and subsequently the number could reach 100. The centre’s capabilities may be enlarged to include other engines as mutually agreed. Safran Helicopter Engines and HAL will provide their customers with world-class service including optimized engine availability.
Mr. Bruno Even, commented “HE-MRO marks a new step in the long-lasting and fruitful partnership between Safran and HAL. We are extremely proud of the continued confidence placed in us by HAL. Together we are committed to delivering world-class support to our customers, both in India and throughout the region”.
With a fleet of over 1,000 engines, including 250 TM333 and 250 Shakti, India’s armed forces are one of the largest operators of Safran-designed helicopter engines. Shakti is the Indian designation for the Safran Ardiden 1H1, co-developed with HAL and produced under license.
Shakti is fitted to HAL’s ALH/Dhruv and has been selected to power the HAL-designed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). The Ardiden 1U variant powers the new Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), a three-ton single-engine aircraft that made its maiden flight in September 2016.
Safran has maintained a presence in India for over 60 years in its three core markets – aerospace, defense and security. With a workforce of 2,500 domestic employees, its activities range from R&D to design, production and maintenance. Safran now powers and/or equips 65% of Indian airplanes and helicopters, and is the chief supplier of key systems and equipment for the Rafale.
Besides helicopter engines, Safran has partnered with HAL over decades through local businesses such as Aircraft Engines (180-employee JV in Bangalore) and Electronics & Defense equipment (Inertial Navigation Systems & Automated Flight Control Systems).