The ground-breaking ceremony for a new facility of Helicopter Engines MRO Pvt Limited (HE-MRO), a Joint Venture of HAL and Safran was held at Sattari, 40 km from Panaji in Goa. Mr. R. Madhavan, CMD, HAL, Mr. Franck Saudo, CEO, Safran Helicopter Engines, and senior officers from the Indian Armed Forces and HAL were present on the occasion. During the ceremony, both partners signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” 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 defense technologies and MRO.
Mr. Florent Chauvancy, EVP, OEM Sales & Marketing, Safran Helicopter Engines, and Mr. Amitabh Bhatt, CEO, HAL’s Bangalore Complex signed the MoU.
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. India’s Armed Forces are among the largest operators of Safran-designed helicopter engines with a fleet having over 1,000 engines, including 250 TM333 and over 500 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.
“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 Mr. Madhavan.
Mr. 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 of India’s vision for aerospace MRO in India. With a fleet of over 1000 engines, including 250 TM333 and over 500 Shakti, India’s Armed Forces are one of the largest operators of Safran-designed helicopter engines, and our company powers 100% of HAL-produced helicopters. We support all HAL helicopter programs and will offer the level of commitment to their future projects”.
HE-MRO is a Joint Venture company of HAL and Safran which will provide maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services for Safran TM333 and HAL Shakti engines installed on HAL-built helicopters. The aim is to constantly improve serviceability and reduce cycle time to help the operational preparedness of the Indian Armed Forces.
Earlier planned construction of this project had to be postponed due to a major crisis impacting the international helicopter market, closely followed by the worldwide COVID-pandemic. Despite these events, both companies have continued their partnership, based on a shared vision: the HE-MRO JV as a key factor for enhanced customer satisfaction and to support the government of India’s vision on Aerospace MRO in India. Through this groundbreaking, both companies commit to a multi-year investment plan, with construction starting very soon. The restart of the technical infrastructure construction reiterates the commitment of both partners to the Indian Government’s vision of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” towards achieving self-reliance in defense technologies and MRO.