BANGALORE: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) said on Tuesday it will set up a support centre jointly with French aerospace major Safran to service aero-engines of military and civil helicopters worldwide.
“An agreement to form a joint venture for the support centre was signed with Safran Helicopter Engines at the Farnborough international airshow at Hampshire in Britain on Monday,” HAL said in a statement here.
The agreement was signed by D.K. Venkatesh, Director of HAL, and Bruno Even, Chief Executive of Turbomeca, a Safran subsidiary.
Present on the occasion were HAL Chairman T. Suvarna Raju and Safran Chief Executive Philippe Petitcolin.
“The centre will provide maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for Safran TM333 and our Shakti engines which power our helicopters,” the HAL statement said.
With about 1,000 engines, including 250 TM333 and 250 Shakti, Indian armed forces are one of the largest operators of Safran-designed helicopter engines.
“The joint venture puts the partners on an ambitious path to offer best customer support in engine MRO and provide impetus to the Make in India initiative of the government, as about 1,000 Shakti engines are set to fly copters in future,” the statement said, citing Raju.
Shakti is the Indian designation for the Safran’s Ardiden 1, co-developed with HAL and produced under licence.
“The joint venture marks a new step in our long partnership as we are committed to deliver support to our customers in India and the region,” the HAL statement said, citing Safran Helicopter Engines’ Vice President (strategy and development) Serve Maille.
Shakti engines are fitted into the HAL-built Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) Dhruv and will also be powering HAL-designed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH).
The new Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), a three-tonne single-engine chopper under development, is also fitted with a Turbomeca engine.