HAL's "SHAKTI" turboshaft engine and Turbomeca's TM333 engine

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's proposed project of helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) in Goa would become functional soon as all the hurdles have been cleared now, Union minister Shripad Naik said on December 8.

The HAL and French company, Safran Helicopter Engines, had entered into a joint venture - Helicopter Engine MRO Private Limited - to set up this helicopter maintenance plant at Honda village in North Goa.

"As far as the plant is concerned, it was conceived during the tenure of Manohar Parrikar as Defence Minister. There were some negotiations which were pending. They have been completed now," the Union Minister of State for Defence told reporters at Vasco on the sidelines of a function.

"Now the project will start as soon as possible. All the hurdles that were encountered for starting the plant have been cleared now," he said.

Parrikar had announced this project in October 2016. As per the plan, the facility was expected to have a total investment of Rs 170 crore, to be invested by both the parties in a phased manner.

The project is meant for maintenance, repair and overhaul of engines that are fitted on HAL-designed and manufactured helicopters.

The engines of advanced light helicopters of various versions, light combat helicopters and future light utility helicopters that are common between HAL and Safran would be maintained at this facility.

With a fleet of over 1,000 engines, including 250 TM333 and 250 Shakti, India's armed forces are one of the largest operators of Safran-designed helicopter engines.