Safran Helicopter Engines and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have launched a joint venture aimed at developing new helicopter engines. Via a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on Friday, the companies have agreed to establish an aero-engine company in India “dedicated to the development, production, sales and support of helicopter engines.” According to Safran, one of the venture’s main objectives is to meet the requirements for HAL and India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) future helicopters such as the 13-ton Indian Multi Role Helicopter (IMRH).
“The creation of this new joint venture marks a turning point in our relationship with HAL and the Indian MoD with the development and production of a new generation of helicopter engine,” said Safran Helicopter Engines CEO Franck Saudo. “We are proud to further expand our structuring partnership with HAL, which began more than 50 years ago, and which was recently illustrated with the development and production of the Shakti engine and the inauguration of our joint venture Helicopter Engines MRO Pvt Limited (HE-MRO).”
The Shakti engine, more than 500 of which have been produced to date, powers HAL-produced helicopters including the Dhruv, Rudra and Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). The HE-MRO joint venture, which is expected to be operational by the end of 2023, will provide MRO services for TM333 and Shakti engines in service with Indian Armed Forces. Saudo noted that India’s Armed Forces are one of the largest operators of Safran-designed helicopter engines with a fleet of over 1,000 engines.