New Delhi: The ground-breaking ceremony for a new facility of Helicopter Engines MRO Pvt Limited (HE-MRO), a joint venture of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Safran Helicopter Engines was held on Monday at Sattari in Goa. HAL's CMD R Madhavan, Safran Helicopter Engines' CEO Franck Saudo and senior officers from the Indian Armed Forces and HAL were present on occasion. During the ceremony, both partners signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to extend their cooperation and explore opportunities for new helicopter engines in civil and military markets, reflecting their commitment to the Indian Government's vision of "Atmanirbhar Bharat" towards achieving self-reliance in defence technologies and MRO.
Safran Helicopter Engines' Executive Vice President (OEM Sales & Marketing) Florent Chauvancy and HAL's Bangalore Complex CEO Amitabh Bhatt signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organisations.
"The 1,000 sqm training and office facility and a 3,800 sqm international class shop facility will provide Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services for Safran TM333 and HAL Shakti engines installed on HAL-built helicopters to increase the operational readiness of the Indian Armed Forces," said Madhavan.
Franck Saudo commented, "I am very proud to celebrate the launch of this world-class MRO Centre for the TM333 and Shakti gas turbines aboard India Armed Forces helicopters. This complex will be a key factor for building customer satisfaction and supporting the Government's vision for aerospace MRO in India. With a fleet of over 1,000 engines, including 250 TM333 and over 500 Shakti, India's Armed Forces are one of the largest operators of Safran-designed helicopter engines". He further said that the company powers 100 percent of HAL produced helicopters. We support all HAL helicopter programs and will offer the level of commitment to their future projects.
The facility will be operational by the end of 2023 with a capacity to repair 50 engines a year and a full-capacity goal of 150 engines in the coming years. The JV will also bring employment opportunities to over 60 qualified engineers and technicians of the region. The employment number will increase with growing activities over the years. The facility has an expansion capacity for other programs and could include civil or other engines in the future.
About Shakti engines
Shakti is the Indian variant of the Safran Ardiden 1H1, co-developed with HAL. HAL has produced over 500 plus Shakti engines to date successfully.
Shakti is installed on HAL's ALH/Dhruv variants including Rudra and has also 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. The engine was certified by DGCA (India) on July 26, 2021, for civil applications.