HAL SHAKTI Turboshaft: Copter MRO unit at Honda set for takeoff after 14 months

PANAJI: The project to overhaul helicopter engines at Honda, Satteri, through a joint venture between French aerospace firm Safran Helicopter Engines and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd's (HAL) will finally take-off with the Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) giving the green signal to transfer the land to the aerospace firm. 

"The land at Honda industrial estate has been transferred to HAL from Goa Auto Accessories Limited through EDC," GIDC managing director Narayan Gad said. "The application for transfer of a plot has to go to the screening committee and there was no screening committee and board formed that is why the transfer application could get the approval only somewhere in late November and early December."

The project was languishing for more than a year since the delay in the lease transfer process had prevented operations from commencing at Helicopter Engines MRO Pvt Ltd (HE-MRO), a joint venture between Safran Helicopter Engines and HAL.

According to sources, all the approvals and payments to transfer the industrial plot to HE-MRO were done on December 17, last year, on chief minister Manohar Parrikar's intervention.

Despite being inaugurated on October 23, 2016 and paying Rs 7 crore to EDC limited, HE-MRO was denied possession of the land. EDC had sold the plant and existing machinery of Goa Auto Accessories Limited (GAAL) to HE-MRO in 2016. Parrikar as then defence minister had inaugurated the facility.

"The transfer order for the plot was approved recently because for a long time the board was not functioning and prior to that there were elections," an official who was part of the transfer process said.

According to the source, EDC on behalf of GAAL and HE-MRO had to file a tripartite application before GIDC asking for the land at the Honda industrial estate to be transferred to HAL, which has a stake in HE-MRO.

"The joint application before GIDC says that GAAL wants to extinguish its rights. After that a fresh lease deed is executed to transfer the land with GAAL as the confirming party," the source explained.

The joint venture will provide maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for Safran TM333 2B2 and HAL Shakti engines installed on HAL-built helicopters operated by India's armed forces. HAL and Safran had projected an initial investment of Rs 50 crores to get the facility operational.

Safran is a leading international high-technology group with three core businesses: Aerospace (propulsion and equipment), Defence and Security. Operating worldwide, the Group has 70,000 employees and generated sales of 17.4 billion euros in 2015. Safran is listed on Euronext Paris and is part of the CAC40 index, as well as the Euro Stoxx 50 European index.

Safran Helicopter Engines is the world’s leading manufacturer of helicopter engines, with more than 72,000 produced since being founded. It offers the widest range of helicopter turboshafts in the world and has more than 2,500 customers in 155 countries.

For more information : www.safran-group.com and www.safran-helicopter-engines.com