Aerial Warfare

Airbus Partners with Tata Group to Set Up India’s First Helicopter Final Assembly Line

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Airbus Partners with Tata Group to Set Up India’s First Helicopter Final Assembly Line

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Airbus H125M Single-Engine Armed Scout Helicopters
Airbus H125M Single-Engine Armed Scout Helicopter

In a major boost to ‘Make in India’, Airbus Helicopters has announced that it is partnering with the Tata Group to establish a Final Assembly Line (FAL) for helicopters in the country. The FAL will produce Airbus’ best-selling H125 helicopter for India and export to some of the neighbouring countries. The FAL will be the first instance of the private sector setting up a helicopter manufacturing facility in India, providing a major boost to the Government of India’s ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) programme. Under this partnership, Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), a subsidiary of Tata Group, will set up the facility along with Airbus Helicopters. The announcement was made during the two-day visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to India as Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations on January 26. The FAL in India will undertake the integration of the major component assemblies, avionics and mission systems, installation of electrical harnesses, hydraulic circuits, flight controls, dynamic components, fuel system and the engine. It will also do testing, qualification, and delivery of the H125 to customers in India and the region. The FAL will take 24 months to set up and deliveries of the first ‘Made in India’ H125s are expected to commence in 2026. The location of the FAL will be jointly decided by Airbus and the Tata Group.

N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, said, “The Tata Group is delighted to set up India’s first helicopter assembly facility in the private sector. This facility will have the final assembly line in partnership with Airbus for the world’s bestselling Airbus H125 single engine helicopter for the Indian as well as export markets.”

“Helicopters are crucial for nation building. A ‘Made-in-India’ civil helicopter will not only be a symbol of the confident New India but will also unlock the true potential of the helicopter market in the country. This helicopter final assembly line, which we will build together with our trusted partner Tata, is a reaffirmation of Airbus’ commitment to developing the full spectrum of the aerospace ecosystem in India. This will be the second final assembly line Airbus is building in India after the ‘Make in India’ C295 military aircraft manufacturing facility in Vadodara, Gujarat,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO.

Airbus partners with Tata Group to set up India’s first helicopter Final Assembly Line
Airbus partners with Tata Group to set up India’s first helicopter Final Assembly Line. (Photoby Airbus)

Undisputed in its class, the H125 produced in India will catalyse the use of helicopters in the country. This multi-mission workhorse will revolutionise passenger and goods transportation and will also be used for segments such as emergency medical services (HEMS), disaster management, law enforcement, tourism and aerial work missions. Providing last mile connectivity to remote areas, the H125 will significantly contribute to the Government of India’s regional connectivity scheme – Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) that will further promote the tourism sector in the country. The H125 is the world’s best-selling single-engine helicopter that outclasses other helicopters in its category. This high-performing versatile helicopter is a member of Airbus’ Ecureuil family, which has accumulated more than 38 million flight hours worldwide. It can operate in high-and-hot and extreme environments and can be easily reconfigured for various missions, including aerial work, firefighting, law enforcement, rescue, air ambulance, passenger transport, and many others. The H125 is the only helicopter to have landed on Mount Everest, demonstrating its agility in operating in high altitude, extreme environments. The proposed helicopter manufacturing facility will be the second FAL to be established in India by Airbus, leveraging TASL’s capabilities in aerospace and defence. The two companies are building the C295 military transport aircraft FAL in Vadodara, Gujarat. The latest announcement is part of Airbus’ efforts to develop a holistic aerospace ecosystem in India, where the company is expanding its industrial footprint with aircraft assembly, component manufacturing, engineering and digital design and development, MRO support, pilot and maintenance training as well as academic collaboration to foster human capital.

The Airbus Helicopters H125, is a single-engine light utility helicopter originally designed and manufactured in France by Aérospatiale and Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters). In North America, the H125 is marketed as the AStar. The Eurocopter EC130 (now Airbus Helicopters H130) is a derivative of the AS350 airframe and is considered by the manufacturer to be part of the Écureuil single-engine family. TheH125 is a single engine helicopter, powered either by a Lycoming LTS101 or Turbomeca Arriel powerplant, that drives a three-blade main rotor, which is furnished with a Starflex rotor head. The type is known for its high-altitude performance and has seen use by operators in such environments. Both the main and tail rotors make use of composite material and are designed to minimize corrosion and maintenance requirements. The H125 was also developed to comply with the noise requirements in place in locations such as national parks; the in-cabin noise levels are such that passengers may also readily converse during flight. The H125 is in service around the world operated by military units, private individuals, airline and charter operators, emergency medical teams, governments and law enforcement agencies.

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